Title 17. Education
Chapter 1. General School Law
Part III. Public Schools and School Children
Subpart C. School Attendance
17:221 School attendance; compulsory ages; duty of parents; excessive absences; condition for driving privileges
A. (1) Every parent, tutor, or other person residing within the state of Louisiana having control or charge of any child from that child’s seventh birthday until his eighteenth birthday shall send such child to a public or private day school, unless the child graduates from high school prior to his eighteenth birthday. Any child below the age of seven who legally enrolls in school shall also be subject to the provisions of this Subpart. Every parent, tutor, or other person responsible for sending a child to a public or private day school under provisions of this Subpart shall also assure the attendance of such child in regularly assigned classes during regular school hours established by the school board and shall assure that such child is not habitually tardy from school pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 17:233.
(2) Whoever violates the provisions of this Subsection shall be fined not more than two hundred and fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both. The court shall impose a minimum condition of probation which may include that the parent, tutor, or other person having control or charge of the child participate in forty hours of school or community service activities, or a combination of forty hours of school or community service and attendance in parenting classes or family counseling sessions or programs approved by the court having jurisdiction, as applicable, or the suspension of any state-issued recreational license.
(3) Whoever violates any other provision of this Subpart or any other provision of law which provides for the penalty provided for in this Section shall be fined not more than fifteen dollars, and, for such violations, each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(4) Visiting teachers or supervisors of child welfare and attendance, with the approval of the parish or city superintendents of schools, shall file proceedings in court to enforce the provisions of this Subpart.
B. (1) A city, parish, or other local public school board shall grant admission or readmission to school to any person who meets all of the following criteria:
(a) Resides within the geographic boundaries of the school system.
(b) Meets the eligibility requirements for school entrance pursuant to R.S. 17:222(A).
(c) Is nineteen years of age or younger on September thirtieth of the calendar year in which the school year begins or is twenty years of age on September thirtieth of the calendar year in which the school year begins and has sufficient course credits that he will be able to graduate within one school year of admission or readmission.
(d) Has not received a high school diploma or its equivalent.
(e) Is otherwise eligible for enrollment in a public school pursuant to state law and the policies of the local school board and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
(2) If a person meets all of the criteria in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, no city, parish, or other local public school board may deny him admission or readmission based on any of the following characteristics:
(a) The person voluntarily withdrew from school.
(b) The person is pregnant.
(c) The person is a parent.
(d) The person is married.
(3) The admission or readmission of a person who will be twenty years of age on September thirtieth of the calendar year in which the school year begins shall be limited to grade twelve.
(4) The admission or readmission of any person who has been suspended or expelled from a Louisiana public school is subject to all laws and policies applicable to such disciplinary actions.
(5) The admission or readmission of a person with an exceptionality is subject to federal and state law governing the age of eligibility for services for students with exceptionalities.
C. Each of the school boards shall:
(1) Develop and submit to the state superintendent of education a detailed written program plan designed to improve school attendance, based on local needs and resources.
(2) Give priority in selecting pilot schools within the local school districts to those with the highest percentage of nonattendance.
(3) Focus the program in a manner designed to remedy the underlying problems causing poor school attendance.
D. Each school shall develop and implement a system whereby the school shall attempt to provide verbal notification and, if such verbal notification cannot be provided, then shall provide written notification to a child’s parent, tutor, or legal guardian when that child has been absent from school for five school days in schools operating on a semester basis, and for ten days in schools not operating on a semester basis.
E. Repealed by Acts 2010, No. 927, § 1.
F. The parent, tutor, or other person responsible for the school attendance of a child who is under age eighteen and who is enrolled in school beyond his sixteenth birthday may request that the student be allowed to attend an alternative education program or a vocational-technical education program. In the case of a child who has no parent, tutor, or other person responsible for his school attendance, the superintendent of the city, parish, or other local public school system may act on behalf of the student in making such a request. Upon such request, the superintendent of the city, parish, or other local school system in which the student is enrolled shall be responsible for determining whether the student remains in the regular school setting or attends an alternative education program or a vocational-technical education program and for developing and implementing an individualized plan of education for such student.
G. The provisions of Paragraph (A)(1) of this Section shall not be applicable to any child who is under the age of seventeen and is attending or is seeking admission to a National Guard Youth Challenge Program in this state, and the parent, tutor, or legal guardian of any such child shall not be considered in violation of the provisions of Paragraph (A)(1) of this Section.
H. Nothing in this Section shall prohibit any child from attending or seeking admission to a National Guard Youth Challenge Program in this state.
I. Nothing in this Section shall prohibit a child who is at least sixteen years of age, who meets criteria established by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for enrolling in an effective adult education program, from enrolling in and attending such a program. A parent, tutor, or other person responsible for the school attendance of a child who is at least sixteen years of age but under age eighteen and who is enrolled in and is fulfilling the attendance requirements of an adult education program shall be considered to be in compliance with the school attendance provisions of Paragraph (A)(1) of this Section. As used in this Subsection, an “effective adult education program” means an approved program that has demonstrated a proven record of student progress in the attainment of basic skills and essential competencies as determined by quality indicators and performance-based criteria developed and adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges in accordance with R.S. 17:3217.1(D)(2).
J. Pursuant to a policy adopted by a school board as defined by and in compliance with R.S. 32:431.1, the driving privileges of a child under eighteen years of age may be denied or suspended if the child withdraws from school prior to graduation or has been determined to be habitually absent or tardy as provided in R.S. 17:233.
K. A child who is at least seventeen years of age and who, after successfully completing a program established by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, has been issued a Louisiana high school equivalency diploma in accordance with criteria established by the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges shall be considered exited from high school and shall not be subject to the provisions of this Subpart.
Acts 1964, No. 109, § 1. Amended by Acts 1966, No. 521, § 1; Acts 1976, No. 425, § 1; Acts 1979, No. 383, § 1; Acts 1981, No. 873, § 2, eff. Sept. 11, 1981; Acts 1986, No. 126, § 1; Acts 1987, No. 504, § 1, eff. July 9, 1987; Acts 1991, No. 757, § 1; Acts 1995, No. 79, § 1, eff. June 12, 1995; Acts 2001, No. 1151, § 1, eff. July 1, 2001; Acts 2002, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 59, § 1, eff. July 1, 2002, for subsec. F and eff. April 18, 2002 for subsec. I; Acts 2008, No. 688, § 1, eff. June 1, 2009; Acts 2008, No. 742, § 1; Acts 2009, No. 305, § 2; Acts 2010, No. 132, § 1, eff. July 1, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 699, § 1, eff. June 29, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 732, § 1, eff. July 1, 2010; Acts 2011, No. 166, § 1; Acts 2014, No. 411, § 1; Acts 2019, No. 21, § 1.