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Compulsory Attendance Law

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The Compulsory Attendance Law

Section 167.031, RSMo, states that any parent, guardian or other person having custody or control of a child between the ages of seven (7) and the compulsory attendance age for the district, must ensure that the child is enrolled in and regularly attends public, private, parochial, home school or a combination of schools for the full term of the school year.  

  • The term "compulsory attendance age for the district" shall mean seventeen (17) years of age or having successfully completed sixteen (16) credits towards high school graduation in all other cases.
  • Children between the ages of five (5) and seven (7) are not required to be enrolled in school.  However, if they are enrolled in a public school their parent, guardian or custodian must ensure that they regularly attend.

Exceptions to the Compulsory Attendance Law

  • A child who is determined by the superintendent of schools or the chief school officer of a school to be mentally or physically incapacitated may be excused from attendance at school for the full term required, or any part thereof.
  • A child between the ages of fourteen (14) and seventeen (17) may be excused from attending school full time by the superintendent of the public school or by a court of competent jurisdiction when legal employment has been obtained by the child.
  • A child between the ages of five (5) and seven (7) currently enrolled in a public school shall be excused from attendance if a parent, guardian or other person having custody makes a written request that the child be dropped from the school's roll.

Compulsory Attendance Frequently Asked Questions

  • May students attend a combination of schools during the school day? 
    Yes.  Any student may be enrolled in and attend a public, private, parochial or home school or a combination of schools during the school day. 
  • How many different schools might one student enroll in and attend during a single school day?
    There is no limit specified in statute.
  • Who bears the primary responsibility of ensuring that a child within compulsory attendance age regularly attends one or a combination of schools as required by law?

    Every parent, guardian or other person having custody or control of a child between the ages of seven (7) and the compulsory attendance age for the district has the primary responsibility of ensuring that the child regularly attends school. A parent, guardian or custodian of a child or children who do not regularly attend school may be reported to the Department of Social Services, Children's Division, or to the county prosecutor's office.  A violation of the compulsory attendance law is a class C misdemeanor.

Part-Time Public School Enrollment/Attendance

  • The interests and needs of part-time students may be taken into account, but the law does not require a school or school district to make any scheduling or other adjustments to accommodate students wishing to attend part-time. 
  • Many local boards of education have adopted policies on part-time attendance to provide for the orderly, efficient, and safe conduct in the district's schools; not for the purpose of preventing or restricting part-time enrollment.

  • Public school districts should establish "check in" and "check out" procedures to ensure that all part-time students are accounted for during the school day.

Transportation of Part-Time Students

A parent, guardian or other person having custody or control of a student enrolled part-time must arrange, when necessary, for transportation among the schools in which the student is enrolled with the following exception:

  • A part-time student may be transported on a public school bus from the student's home to a public school if his/her part-time enrollment in the public school begins when the school day begins.  The student may also be transported by public school bus from a public school to the student's home if the student's part-time attendance ends when the school day ends.

Average Daily Attendance for State Foundation Aid

The portion of the day during which a resident, part-time student is enrolled in and attends public school is counted in the same manner for state aid as any other student.  A student is counted only for the period of time that he/she is in actual attendance at school.

Athletics and other Extra-Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities

The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) governs student eligibility for participation in many extra-curricular activities.  To be eligible to participate in MSHSAA sanctioned events, MSHSAA requires students in its member schools to be enrolled for a certain number of hours. Non-MSHSAA extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are governed by local school board policy.

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