Public school compulsory attendance
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Public School Compulsory Attendance. What Do You Think?. TPS – Think, Pair, Share Should there be a compulsory attendance age? If so, what should it be? Should there be exceptions? Defend your opinion!. What does Iowa law say?. Iowa Code – Section 299.1a.

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Public School Compulsory Attendance

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Public school compulsory attendance

Public School Compulsory Attendance

What do you think

What Do You Think?

TPS – Think, Pair, Share

  • Should there be a compulsory attendance age?

  • If so, what should it be?

  • Should there be exceptions?

    Defend your opinion!

What does iowa law say

What does Iowa law say?

Iowa code section 299 1a

Iowa Code – Section 299.1a

  • A child who has reached the age of six and is under sixteen years of age on September 15 is of compulsory attendance age and is deemed to remain of compulsory attendance age even if the child reaches the age of sixteen before the end of the regular school calendar.

Iowa code section 299 1a1

Iowa Code – Section 299.1a

  • A child who has reached the age of five by September 15 and who is enrolled in a school district shall be considered to be of compulsory attendance age unless the parent or guardian of the child notifies the school district in writing of the parent’s or guardian’s intent to remove the child from enrollment in the school district.

Iowa code section 299 1a2

Iowa Code – Section 299.1a

Explanation: The child’s parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian is required to cause the child to attend some public school, an accredited nonpublic school, or competent private instruction.

What does this mean

What Does This Mean???

For the vast majority of students, they must attend school from kindergarten through their sophomore year of high school.

The adult in their life is responsible and liable for making this happen.



299.1b: student shall not receive an intermediate of full driver’s license until age eighteen

299.6: adult required to attend mediation

  • 1st violation: up to 10 days imprisonment and/or $100 fine (simple misdemeanor)

  • 2nd violation: up to 20 days imprisonment and/or $500 fine (serious misdemeanor)

  • 3rd violation: up to 30 days imprisonment and/or $1000 fine (serious misdemeanor)

Alternate resolutions

Alternate Resolutions

The court may order a convicted adult to perform unpaid community service instead of any fine or imprisonment

The adult may file an affidavit listing the reasonable efforts made by the adult to cause the child’s attendance and the adult shall not be criminally liable for the child’s nonattendance

Iowa code exceptions

Iowa Code - Exceptions

  • Already graduated

  • Excused by a court or judge

  • Attending religious service/receiving religious instruction

  • Attending post-secondary institution

  • Shown to be physically/mentally unable to attend school

  • Religious exemption

What does federal law say

What does federal law say?

It doesn t

It doesn’t.

There is no federal law regarding compulsory attendance

Many laws regulating what happens in public schools, but not that public schools must exist

All states have some type of compulsory attendance law enacted

What does case law say

What does case law say?

Enforcing attendance for all

Enforcing Attendance for All

Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (US Supreme Court: 1964) – If a state chooses to provide public education, it must be open and available to all children.

Plyer v. Doe (US Supreme Court: 1982) – Undocumented children cannot be denied a public education.

Enforcing attendance for all1

Enforcing Attendance for All

Johnson v. Charles City Community Schools Board of Education (Iowa Supreme Court: 1985) – “Amish Exception” does not apply to all religions

In re Interest of Rebekah T. (Nebraska Court of Appeals: 2002) – Adults home schooling students can be found neglectful if not providing “proper education”.



State v. Priest (Louisiana Supreme Court: 1946) – A married person is exempt from compulsory attendance.

Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) – Amish children are exempt from compulsory attendance laws for high school.

Maack v. School District of Lincoln (Nebraska Supreme Court: 1992) – Excluding unimmunized children from school is OK.

Board policies

Board Policies

Board policy review

Board Policy Review

All that I looked at referenced Iowa Code.

Many had identical language to Iowa Code.

Some variety of if minimal number of days was stated, and if so how many.

Expert opinions

Expert Opinions



Ronda Cedillo – attendance officer for North high school

Arin Renaud – social worker for Harding middle school

I couldn’t find contact info for judge who handles DMPS truancy court…

Their thoughts

Their Thoughts

Support moving compulsory attendance age to eighteen

Establish a way for students to be held responsible as well as parents

Implementation and enforcement would be difficult to execute effectively

Other things to consider

Other things to consider…

Parens patriae


Found in common law doctrine

As a parent to all persons, a state has the inherent prerogative to provide for the commonwealth and individual welfare

A state has the authority to protect those who are not legally competent to act in their own behalf

Economics center for education and research

Economics Center for Education and Research

High school diploma recipients make an average of $8,400 more per year than high school dropouts

High school graduates contribute more to a state's economy and require less state assistance than high school dropouts

Dropouts are more likely to be incarcerated

Additional thoughts

Additional Thoughts???

My recommendations for positive change

My Recommendationsfor Positive Change

Recommended changes

Recommended Changes

  • Increase compulsory attendance age from sixteen to eighteen

  • Increase options/opportunities for students to satisfy compulsory attendance requirements

  • Eliminate marriage exception

Recommended changes1

Recommended Changes

  • Create and operate Fully Encompassing Intensive Support Academies (FEISA’s)

    • Live on-site facility

    • Either court ordered or parent volunteered

    • Minimum enrollment commitment

    • Weekends off campus can be earned with positive behavior and academic progress

    • Can earn way out or graduate from FEISA

Recommended changes2

Recommended Changes

  • Weekday Daily Time Breakdown:

    • 10 hours of schooling

    • 2 hours of labor (combination of difficult manual and vocational/career oriented)

    • 2 hours of recreation

    • 2 hours of eating

    • 8 hours of sleep

  • Adult support of all types provided

  • Post-secondary scholarship available to all who successfully graduate from high school

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