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Danielle Stephen, 20, participates in a Christian service May 8 in Houston's Montrose neighborhood. Stephen, who was kicked off campus and into the streets as a high school student, attended the outdoor service to support people struggling with homelessness.

Texas schools illegally suspended thousands of homeless students

A 2019 law banned schools from suspending homeless students from school grounds but didn’t include money for enforcement.

By Asher Lehrer-Small, Houston Landing

Danielle Stephen, 20, found herself homeless during her teenage years. Stephen now serves in organizations supporting homeless youth and is working to get her psychology degree from Houston Christian University.
Danielle Stephen, 20, rides her scooter by the trail behind her apartment in the East End, Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Houston.

A well-intentioned law

Danielle Stephen, 20, has a beverage she received at Montrose Street Reach on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, in Houston. Montrose Street Reach is an organization dedicated to transitioning at-risk people off the streets.
Stephen holds a few dollars before offering the cash to Montrose Street Reach.
Danielle Stephen attends a Montrose Street Reach service, which she calls “street church.”
Danielle Stephen closes her eyes while Mike MacLaughlin prays for her at a Montrose Street Reach service.

Incomplete implementation

Prince Hayward, a traditional support specialist at University of Houston’s Charge Up program, at center, says hello to a friend while grabbing lunch with “Spider,” at left, a young adult he is mentoring, on April 26 at Chipotle Mexican Grill in Houston.
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Prince Hayward, a traditional support specialist at the University of Houston’s Charge Up program, takes a meeting while getting a haircut by Walter White III on April 18 in Houston.

No excuse

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No state sanctions

Brandon Williams looks at a positive affirmation card during a Youth Voices Empowered event at Montrose Grace Place on May 1 in Houston. Williams was suspended multiple times from Houston ISD's Yates High School while he was homeless.
Williams plays a group game during a Youth Voices Empowered gathering.
Kenny Easley leads a discussion during a Youth Voices Empowered event.
Alicia Bain, at left, and Brandon Williams has and laugh during a Youth Voices Empowered at Montrose Grace Place, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Houston.

"It’s just words"

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Looking ahead

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