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Oklahoma Compulsory Education Laws

States want their residents to have at least a basic education. Under state compulsory education laws, children are required to attend school at certain ages.

Sometimes kids, especially teenagers, don’t want to go to school. Skipping school, even if to sleep-in or have a crazy Ferris Bueller-like adventure, is still considered truancy. If this is happening with your student, it’s important to understand why. Your student may be hesitant to go to school because of bullying, a learning disability, or something else. Bullying is a problem across the country, but school districts are required to keep students safe while in their care. Your school district also has to test students, as needed, for learning disabilities.

The chart below describes the main compulsory education laws in Oklahoma.

Code Section Oklahoma Statutes Title 70 Section 10-105 – Neglect or Refusal to Compel Child to Attend School
Age at Which School Attendance is Required Children between the ages of 5 and 18 years old must attend school.
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements There are several reasons that compulsory attendance may not be required, including:
  • Under 18, but completed 4 years of high school or otherwise graduated
  • At least 16 and entered an agreement to leave school with parents and school administrator permission
  • A mental or physical disability prevents the child from attending, although children with disabilities must be provided services to enable them to have access to free, appropriate public education (FAPE)
  • An emergency
  • For the child to observe religious holy days, if the parent or guardian submits a written request for the absence
  • So the child can attend a military funeral honors ceremony
Homeschool Provisions Parents have the option and right to homeschool their children. However, the state does regulate the instruction. The educational instruction must be in good faith and equivalent to that provided by the state, according to an Opinion by the Oklahoma Attorney General, Number 73-129 from February 13, 1973.
Penalties for Non-complying Parents If a parent, guardian, or other custodian fails to enroll or bring their child to school, they will be guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalty depends on the number of offenses:
  • First Offense – A fine of $25 to $50 and not more than 5 days in jail
  • Second Offense – A $50 to $100 fine and up to 10 days in jail
  • Third or Subsequent Offense – A $100 to $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail

Each day the child remains out of school after the verbal documented or written warning was given to the parent is a separate offense.

If a parent is unable to afford the fines, the court can order community service instead, often for the public school district.

A deferred sentence may be offered to the parent or guardian with conditions such as:

  • Verifying the child’s attendance with the school
  • Attending meetings with school officials;
  • Taking the child to school or the bus stop
  • Attending school with the child
  • Undergoing a drug and alcohol abuse evaluation and following the evaluator’s recommendations
  • Taking the child for a drug and alcohol abuse evaluation following the recommendations of the evaluator (unless court excuses)
Penalties for Non-complying Students If an attendance officer or cop finds a truant child during school hours, he or she can temporarily detain the child until delivering the child to his or her parents, guardians, or the school he or she attends.

If you’re having difficulty with your school district related to compulsory education, homeschooling, or attendance, you should consult with an experienced Oklahoma education lawyer.

Note: State laws are revised all the time. It’s important to contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these laws.

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