Important Change in Definition of "Compulsory School Age"
Effective in 2020-2021, all children from the age of six (6) through the age of eighteen (18) must comply with compulsory school attendance requirements. To meet these requirements, parents must ensure that their child between the ages of 6 and 18 is attending or participating in one of the following:
- a public elementary, middle, or high school;
- a public charter or cyber-charter school;
- a private licensed academic or private religious school;
- home tutoring by a certified teacher;
- or an approved program of home schooling.
Children may be excused from compulsory attendance for documented medical or other compelling reasons as outlined in District attendance policy and procedures.
Act 138 of 2016 – School Attendance
In November 2016, the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Governor Wolf enacted a comprehensive overhaul of truancy law in the form of Act 138 of 2016. Pennsylvania school districts will be required to implement changes in their attendance policies, and the methods by which they address student truancy, for the 2017-2018 school year.
Act 138 of 2016 creates opportunities for schools to be emphasize on improving attendance with greater flexibility rather than solely punitive consequences. The new procedures formalize the emphasis on truancy elimination and support for truant students and their parents.
Among the changes included in Act 138 of 2016 are specific definitions for previously ambiguous terms such as “truant” and “habitually truant.” The new law also defines “person or parent relation” to include a person with whom a child lives or who is acting in a parental role of a child.
In addition, Act 138 includes new mandated procedures school district will follow when a child is truant, which includes a requirement to send written notice to the student’s parent as well as requirement to facilitate a School Attendance Improvement Conference (SAIC) within ten days from the third illegal absence.
Contact Dr. Hawley of the Warren County School District at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814.723.6903, ext 1055 to discuss the Act 138 of 2016 further.