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South Dakota Compulsory Education Laws

A minimum amount of formal education is mandatory in all states, whether it is public, private, religious, or homeschooling. State compulsory education laws define which types of schooling are acceptable and the ages between which school attendance is required. South Dakota compulsory education laws require children between the ages of six (6) and 18 to attend school unless he or she has graduated.

Exceptions to the Compulsory Education Law

There are some exceptions to the compulsory education laws. For example, a child may be homeschooled in certain situations.

What if My Child Doesn't Attend School?

When a child doesn't attend school as required by law he or she is considered "truant." Truancy is any absence (by a student under the age of 18) for part or all of one or more days from school during which the school has NOT been notified of the legal cause of the absence by the parent/guardian of the absent student. Once a student has accumulated a certain number of unexcused absent days, some schools may refer the name of that student to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The main provisions of South Dakota's compulsory education laws, and penalties for noncompliance, are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Compulsory Education and Types of Schools sections to learn more.

Code Section(s) 13-27-1, et seq.
Age at Which School Attendance is Required Between 6 (six) and 18
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements

Child achieved 8th grade and fits into a religious exemption; competent instruction received from another source; illness in the family.

Home School Provisions Parent need not be certified but Department of Education may ensure instruction is being provided and inspect records; may not instruct over 22 children; must take national standardized test provided by school district; must be for equivalent period of time as public school; must include basic skills of language arts and math
Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance

Class 2 misdemeanor; each subsequent offense is Class 1 misdemeanor

Note: State laws surrounding compulsory educations' rights are constantly changing. You may wish to contact a South Dakota education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching. Most attorneys offer free consultations.

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