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Louisiana Compulsory Education Laws

The United States wants its citizens and residents to be educated. In fact, there are compulsory education laws requiring parents and guardians to have their kids attend public or private schools or be adequately homeschooled between certain ages. In Louisiana, parents, by marrying, agree to support, maintain, and educate their children.

Sometimes kids don’t want to go to school. While some of this education resistance is typical child and teen behavior, talk to your student to check if the root cause of his or her hesitancy to go to school is bullying. Bullying is a nationwide problem, but it doesn’t excuse the student from going to school or the school from protecting the student.

The table below outlines more on the compulsory education laws in Louisiana.

Code Section Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 17: Education Code – 17:221 to 238
Ages at Which School Attendance is Required Children in Louisiana at least 6 years old and not yet 18 years old (unless already graduated from high school) must attend school. However, children at least 16 years old can alternatively enroll in an adult education program.
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements Louisiana law provides several compulsory education exemptions for students, including:
  • Children mentally, physically, or emotionally incapacitated from the ability to perform school duties or otherwise unable to profit from further schooling as certified by a psychiatrist or other professional

Children are temporarily excused for:

  • Personal illness that would endanger the health of their classmates
  • Serious family illness that necessities an absence from school, if a doctor, nurse practitioner, child welfare supervisor, or visiting teacher substantiates the need for the absence
  • After the death of an immediate family member, up to one week
  • Observance of religious holidays of the child’s faith that fall on school days
  • To visit with a parent on active duty overseas in a combat zone during the parent’s leave at home, up to five school days per school year
  • Children employed in artistic or creative services (child stars)

Also, children aren’t excused from school at any time to work in any job, including agriculture and domestic labor, even in their own homes.

Home School Provisions Parents or legal guardians must apply to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval of a home study program for their children. Each year, a renewal application is required. The curriculum provided at home must be of at least equal quality to that offered by public schools in Louisiana.

Competency-based education exams can be administered by local school board under similar conditions as students in public schools, upon the parent or guardian’s request. The fees for this service can’t exceed $35.
Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance Parents of children between Kindergarten and 8th grade can be fined for having a habitually absent or tardy student, but not more than $50 for a first offense or not less than 25 hours of community service. Tardy means reporting late to class or leaving school early without an excuse.

If only one parent has custody or the parents share custody of a child, the parent responsible for getting the child to school on the absent/tardy days will be penalized, not the other parent.
Penalties for Students for Noncompliance Any student who’s habitually absent from or tardy to school is reported to the family or juvenile court of the local parish or city. Truant children under 18 years old may be denied a driver’s permit or license or have a driver’s permit or license suspended.

As you can see, staying in school is the best choice. If you or your student are having problems with a school, you may need to speak to an experienced Louisiana education attorney

Note: Because state laws change constantly, it’s important to verify these laws by conducting your own legal research or contacting a local attorney.

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