Using Bingham High as a Home

There are sinking students among the sea of kids at Bingham High School


Photo by Rebecca Amber

Despite Bingham’s reputation as a highly ranked school, not all of its students are as well off as people think.

There are kids at Bingham who are homeless or have no place to call their own. With all of the pressure they face at school and with a precarious home life, it’s a wonder that these kids can still succeed. But they do and here at Bingham High School, the administration goes above and beyond to be there for these students. There are programs in place to help those who find themselves faltering.

The United States government passed a bill in 1987 called the McKinney-Vento Act that states that every homeless student has the right to attend school with other kids and receive aid for educational purposes. The McKinney-Vento Act ensures that students can secure things like transportation and permanence at a school.

One of the ways Bingham upholds that promise is called The Principal’s Pantry. It is a collection of food, clothing, toiletries, and school supplies for kids who don’t have the means to get these resources on their own. They come in discreet bags and if a student qualifies for them, they can simply go to the Attendance Office and ask an office worker for what they need. This collection is funded by the district and other donations. Sub-For-Santa presents, for example, are often given to these homeless students. When the school participates in True Blue, some of that money that is donated goes toward buying necessities for struggling students.

As Bingham’s principal Christen Richards-Khong said, “Principal’s Pantry makes life a little easier for those in need.”

Jordan School District provides counselors that check up on homeless kids, making sure their grades are stable, providing psychological aid, and supporting the student’s home life. Bingham’s counselor for struggling students is Ms. Elizabeth Hymas. She is a liaison between the students and the district. Hymas has a huge hand in tailoring the school’s programs to meet the needs of the students.

What makes a student able to access this reserve? When kids register for Bingham High School, their address must be recorded. If they do not have one of their own, the school will take this into account and provide easier access to the school. If a student is living in a shelter or a vehicle, on the street, in inadequate accommodations, or doubled up with a relative, they are legally considered ‘homeless’.

Richards-Khong explains that “There are different levels of need here. We try to individualize our help as much as possible so that each student can get the best care that they need.”

The homeless students at Bingham High are victims of circumstances that they can’t control. There is no laziness involved in being homeless. Kids who find themselves forced to be the parents in their own parents’ absence must work twice as hard as anyone else. Kids who have to make do with what they can scrape together must be resourceful. Homeless students accomplish feats that other kids could never dream of. The community of Bingham sees these kids. We support you. There is help for you, no matter where you find yourself.