Compulsory Attendance Rules

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Throughout a minor’s life, a plethora of evens can occur that may prevent your child from attending school. Perhaps your child has been associating with the wrong peers, causing truancy. Perhaps your child is in the entertainment industry and must miss school days for auditions or rehearsals. No matter the cause, for the betterment and wellbeing of each minor under the law, in New York, each child must attend school for the entire school year.


Under New York’s compulsory education law, minors who turn six-years old on or before December 1st of any school year must receive full-time instruction from the first day that school in the following September. The law goes further to explain that until a minor turns 16 each child must be in attendance until the last day of school the following year.


What is important to note is that the school year, as defined by law, is not September through June, which is the usual period that children are in session. But, under the law, the official school year commences July 1st and ends on June 30th of the following year. And, until a child turns 16, he or she must remain in school full time. (Matter of Kiesha BB).


It is also important to note that when a child turns 16 he or she is not automatically exempt from attending school. Under some districts, the school board may require minors who are between the ages of 16 and 17 and also unemployed to continue to attend school full time to finish the school year in which they became 17 years of age (§3205).


These laws are established to encourage your child to complete high school as many school-aged children complete high school around the age of 17 or 18. These laws are designed to leave little wiggle room since New York wants your child to complete school so that he or she may grow to be a well-educated, productive member of society. As statistics suggest, children who do not complete high school are more likely to earn less, work undesirable jobs, and be inclined to commit crimes since high school dropouts statistically commit more crimes than high school graduates.


Under the law, minors under the age of 16 are required to attend school full time, or face repercussions. Students who miss more than 20 days of school with unexcused absences can be dropped from school, causing them to be set further behind. If your child works in entertainment, where he or she must miss extended periods of school, then home schooling, private schooling, or parochial schooling is an option. As long as the education level is equivalent to a full-time education and is at least substantially equivalent to the instruction given to minors of similar age in the public schools of the city or district in which the minor resides. (§§3204);(Appeal of Pope, 40 Ed Dept Rep 473 (2001)).



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Managing Attorney

Angel A. Castro, III, Esq.

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New York, NY




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Serving in the Federal District Courts, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, New York Supreme Courts in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, Westchester, Broome and Onondaga Counties, as well as the Appellate Division First, Second, Third, & Fourth Departments for Complex Litigation, Appeals, & Negotiation.


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