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Mississippi Compulsory Education Laws

In the age-old battle of parents versus kids, the parents are naturally worrying about their children getting the best educational possible, while kids are often wondering why they are required to go to school in the first place. The short answer is, “the law says so.”

The Magnolia State has strict education statutes that require every child to receive a minimum level of education. Here is a basic overview of compulsory education laws in Mississippi.

Compulsory Education

States have compulsory education laws that require children between specified ages to attend a certain amount of days of school. Attendance requirements apply to public and private schools, although some exceptions can be made for home school. Children in Mississippi between the ages of six and seventeen are required to attend school, and there are potential criminal charges and penalties for parents if their children are absent too often.

Mississippi’s Compulsory Education Statutes

Mississippi’s compulsory education statutes are listed in the table below.

Code Section

Mississippi Code 37-13-91

Age at Which School Attendance is Required

Between 6 and 17

Exceptions to Attendance Requirements

Child is physically/mentally/emotionally incapable of attendance; child enrolled in special or remedial type education; educated in legitimate home instruction program

Home School Provisions

Parent must file a "certificate of enrollment" and education must be a "legitimate home instruction program."

Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance

Guilty of "contributing to the neglect of a child:” misdemeanor with fine up to $1000 and/or up to 1 year in jail

Mississippi Code 97-5-39

There are some exceptions to compulsory education laws, as long as the child is receiving the same amount of instruction elsewhere. For example, most states have allowed children to attend home school if parents are able to met the same state-mandated educational standards that public and private schools attain.

Other states also offer work release authorization that allows students with a job to be away from school for a limited amount of hours during a normal school day. Mississippi allows compulsory-school-aged children to be excused from regular school attendance if a parent or guardian agrees in writing that the student will complete an alternative curriculum equal to that being taught in public schools.

Mississippi Compulsory Education Laws: Related Resources

State statutes regarding education can be difficult to understand. You can consult with a Mississippi education attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding an education matter. You can also find more resources and information on this topic by visiting FindLaw's section on Compulsory Education.

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