Vermont Compulsory Education Laws

In Vermont, as in all U.S. states, compulsory education laws mandate some form of education for children from early childhood through their teens. Education is deemed a fundamental right and responsibility for each state to legislate and monitor. Vermont allows most alternative forms of education as well, including home schooling or private schools, and other exceptions. Vermont compulsory education laws require children between the ages of six (6) and 16 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.


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.

In Vermont, missing between 15-20 days of school requires the parents and child to attend a mandatory meeting with administrators and counselors, and 20 absences or more could be referred to the state’s attorney and the Vermont Department for Children and Families.

The main provisions of Vermont'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) Tit. 16 §§1121, et seq.; Tit. 16, §166b
Age at Which School Attendance is Required Between 6 (six) and 16 years old
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements
  • Attend an approved independent school
  • Attend an approved home school program
  • Attend another approved education program
  • Are enrolled in and attending an accredited
  • Postsecondary school
  • Are mentally or physically unable to attend
  • Have completed the 10th grade or
  • Are excused by the school superintendent or a majority of the school directors
Home School Provisions Written notice must be given; enrollment reports; progress assessments through standardized tests or licensed teacher
Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance

Truant officer gives notice and upon noncompliance without a legal excuse fine of up to $1000; also complaint entered to town grand juror

Note: Vermont state laws surrounding compulsory education rights are constantly changing. You may wish to contact a Vermont 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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