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Ohio Compulsory Education Laws

Generally, the issue of determining a child’s schooling falls on the parents. However, children of a certain age range are required to receive some type of formal education, whether it be through public, private, or home schooling. Each state regulates these age ranges according to specific compulsory education laws.  

In Ohio, compulsory education laws require children between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend school. The laws make some exceptions, including if the child:

  • Received a high school diploma before the age of 18;
  • Is over the age of 14 years old, lawfully employed, and it is necessary that he or she work;
  • Has a physical or mental condition that does not allow for school attendance; or
  • Is homeschooled.

The specifics of Ohio compulsory education laws are highlighted below. See FindLaw's Compulsory Education section to learn more.

Code Section

3321.01, et seq.

Age at Which School Attendance is Required

Between 6 and 18

Exceptions to Attendance Requirements

Child received high school diploma; lawfully employed (if over 14 for necessary work); physical/mental condition does not permit attendance; child being instructed at home

Home School Provisions

Instructed by person qualified to teach in required branches; approval necessary by district superintendent; if challenged, a religious-based exemption must pass 3-pronged test: (1) Are religious beliefs sincere? (2) Will application of compulsory education law infringe on right to free exercise of religion? (3) Does the state have an overriding interest? Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) (adopted in Ohio in State v. Whisner 470 S.2d 181 (1976))

Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance

File complaint; required to give $500 bond conditioned that child will attend school; violation: up to $500 or 70 hrs. community service; upon refusal to pay fine, imprisonment 10 to 30 days

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Ohio education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

If you’d like to find additional information relating to Ohio’s compulsory education laws, feel free to click on the links provided below. Or, for more general information on the topic, browse FindLaw’s section devoted to compulsory education. Lastly, if you have more specific questions or need individualized assistance, consider retaining a local education attorney.

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