Every state in the United States has laws regarding the compulsory education of children. The Compulsory Education Act in Oklahoma is the legal instrument for the Sooner State.
Education is mandatory for children. City, state, and federal officials have a vested interest in ensuring that children grow up with skills to live and work as productive members of society. For the most part, that means that children are required to go to public schools from ages 7 to 16.
When your child doesn’t want to go to school, it can be important to understand the reasons why and to address them with the child and the school. Teenagers may want to skip school for varying reasons, but it is important to understand that skipping school without a good reason can result in truancy.
The Basics of the Compulsory Education Act in Oklahoma
It is against the law in Oklahoma for a parent, guardian, or another person having custody of a child who is between the ages of 5 and 18 to neglect or refuse to cause or compel that child to attend and comply with the rules of a public, private, or other school, unless another means of education is provided for the full school term the district is in session or the child is excused.
A half-day of kindergarten is required for a child who is 5 years old or older unless the child is excused. A child who is 5 years of age will be excused from kindergarten until the next school year after the child turns 6 years of age if a parent, guardian, or other custodial adult notifies the district superintendent by certified mail of their decision to not enroll their child until the next school year after the child is 6 years of age. There are some time constraints that must be adhered to when making this decision.
A child who is over 12 and under 18 years of age must complete high school or receive an education by other means for the full term the schools of the district are in session. To refuse to comply with this rule is against the law. Okla. Stat. tit. 70 § 10-105
Exceptions to Compulsory Education
There are some exemptions for children in certain circumstances. Children with certain mental, emotional, or physical difficulties are exempted. When a child or their family experiences an emergency, a child may also be taken out of school. There are also alternatives to public school which include private, parochial, and homeschooling.
A child who has turned 16 years of age may enter into an agreement with their parents and the school to stop coming to school. However, there must be evidence that this is in the best interests of the child or the community. Also, the parents must agree that the child will be under their supervision until the child turns 18.
The law also provided an exception when a child is removed from school to attend religious holidays as long as the parents notify the school of their intent to do so prior to the absence. Likewise, a child is allowed to be removed from school to attend a military funeral honors ceremony upon approval of the school principal.
Penalties for Violating the Compulsory Education Act in Oklahoma
If a parent fails to comply with the compulsory education act in Oklahoma, the parent can be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalty depends on the number of violations involved.
For the first offense, a fine of between $25 and $50 may be imposed, imprisonment for up to five days, or both.
On a second offense, the fine increases to from $50.00 to $100.00, or a jail term up to 10 days, or both. If this is a third or subsequent offense, the possible fine jumps to between $100.00 and $250.00, while the possible jail term jumps to up to 15 days.
For this misdemeanor in Oklahoma City, community service may be ordered in lieu of a fine.
Once a child is truant, the school may issue an oral or a written warning to the parent. Alternatively, the juvenile court may order the child to attend school. Once either of these occurs, each day that the child misses school is considered a separate offense.
In addition, as a condition of a deferred sentence upon the conviction of a parent or another adult in charge, the court may order any condition that it considers necessary to obtain compliance with school attendance requirements.
Such conditions may include verifying school attendance, attending school meetings, taking the child to school or to the bus stop, or attending school with your child. Also, a drug and alcohol evaluation (as well as treatment) may be ordered for a parent or a child.
Truancy can be a thorny issue. Get the help you need today.
Free Consultation: Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Attorney
Our lawyer is well positioned to advise you accordingly, as he has the necessary training and experience. He has the wit and tenacity to match the skill of the Oklahoma City prosecutors.
For a free consultation with an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, call Wirth Law Office – Oklahoma City at 405-888-5400.
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