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CHAPTER 13-27

COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

13-27-1      Responsibility of person controlling child for school attendance--High school equivalency test preparation program--Kindergarten--Transfer from another state.
13-27-1.2      Promulgation of rules on high school equivalency testing.
13-27-1.1      Religious exemption after eighth grade.
13-27-2      Child excused from school.
13-27-3      Child excused if provided alternative instruction--Notification--Investigation--Revocation--Restrictions--Testing.
13-27-3.1      Birth certificate or affidavit to be submitted--Violation as misdemeanor.
13-27-3.2      Maintenance of birth certificate by school as permanent record.
13-27-3.3      Report to district school board of children for whom birth certificate not furnished--Board to notify state's attorney.
13-27-3.4      Certified copy of birth certificate to be provided to certain persons at no cost.
13-27-4, 13-27-5.      Repealed.
13-27-6      Child excused because of illness in family.
13-27-6.1      Student excused from attendance--Events of state, youth programs, and work as precinct election official.
13-27-7      Notification for excuse from attendance--Certificate of excuse--Revocation.
13-27-8      Appeal on attendance matters to state board--Burden of proof--Finality of decision.
13-27-9      Record of certificates of excuse from attendance--Copies to secretary and place of instruction.
13-27-10      Repealed.
13-27-11      Failure to send child to school as misdemeanor.
13-27-12      Repealed.
13-27-13      Repealed.
13-27-14      Truancy officer employed by district--Duties--President of board acting where no officer employed.
13-27-15      Attendance records maintained by superintendent or president of board--Reports required.
13-27-16      Warnings by school boards to send children to school--Report to truancy officer.
13-27-17      Investigations and records of truancy officer.
13-27-18      Neglect of duty by superintendent, president of board, school board, or truancy officer--Harboring or employment of truant child--Hindering attendance by child--Misdemeanor.
13-27-19      Power of truancy officers to apprehend truant children--Supervisory control by secretary.
13-27-20      Complaints against persons responsible for truancy--Contents of complaint--Verification.
13-27-21      Warrant for arrest of parent, guardian, or responsible person--Summons of witnesses.
13-27-22      Repealed.
13-27-23      Penalties invoked on finding of guilty.
13-27-24 to 13-27-27.      Repealed.
13-27-28      Disobedience of circuit court order as contempt.


13-27-29      Placement of child who has attended unaccredited school or alternative program--Appeal.


     13-27-1.   Responsibility of person controlling child for school attendance--High school equivalency test preparation program--Kindergarten--Transfer from another state. Any person having control of a child, who is not younger than five or older than six years old by the first day of September, or any child who, by the first day of September, is at least six years old, but who has not exceeded the age of eighteen, shall cause the child to regularly attend some public or nonpublic school for the entire term during which the public school in the district in which the person resides, or the school to which the child is assigned to attend, is in session, until the child reaches the age of eighteen years, unless the child has graduated or is excused as provided in this chapter. However, the requirements of this section are met if a child who is at least sixteen years of age enrolls in a high school equivalency test preparation program that is school-based or for which a school contracts and the child successfully completes the test or reaches the age of eighteen years.
     A child is eligible to enroll in a school-based or school-contracted high school equivalency test preparation program or take the high school equivalency test if the child is sixteen or seventeen years of age, and the child presents written permission from the child's parent or guardian and one of the following:
             (1)      Verification from a school administrator that the child will not graduate with the child's cohort class because of credit deficiency;
             (2)      Authorization from a court services officer;
             (3)      A court order requiring the child to enter the program;
             (4)      Verification that the child is under the direction of the Department of Corrections; or
             (5)      Verification that the child is enrolled in Job Corps as authorized by Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, as amended to January 1, 2009.
     Any child who is sixteen or seventeen years of age and who completes the high school equivalency test preparation program may take a high school equivalency test immediately following release from the school program or when ordered to take the test by a court. Any such child who fails to successfully complete the test shall re-enroll in the school district and may continue the high school equivalency preparation program or other suitable program as determined by the school district.
     All children shall attend kindergarten prior to age seven. Any child who transfers from another state may proceed in a continuous educational program without interruption if the child has not previously attended kindergarten.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3201; SL 1941, ch 65; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 1; SL 1975, ch 128, § 169; SL 1978, ch 111; SL 1985, ch 129, § 7; SL 1986, ch 122, §§ 1, 9; SL 1990, ch 126, § 1; SL 1991, ch 142, § 2; SL 1996, ch 114, §3; SL 2006, ch 80, § 1; SL 2007, ch 98, § 1; SL 2009, ch 83, § 1; SL 2009, ch 83, § 3, eff. July 1, 2010; SL 2017, ch 77, § 1.


     13-27-1.1.   Religious exemption after eighth grade. A child of compulsory school age who has successfully completed the first eight grades is excused from compulsory school attendance under § 13-27-1 if:
             (1)      The child or the parents of the child are members of a recognized church or religious denomination that objects to the regular public high school education; and
             (2)      The recognized church or religious denomination either individually or in cooperation with another recognized church or religious denomination provides a regularly supervised program of instruction in which each child participates in learning activities appropriate to the adult occupation that the child is likely to assume in later years.

Source: SL 1990, ch 126, § 2.


     13-27-1.2.   Promulgation of rules on high school equivalency testing. The Department of Education may promulgate rules, pursuant to chapter 1-26, to establish high school equivalency testing procedures for children who take the test pursuant to § 13-27-1.

Source: SL 2009, ch 83, § 5; SL 2017, ch 77, § 2.


     13-27-2.   Child excused from school. Upon filing of a notification with a school official from the parent or guardian of the child for the reasons set forth in § 13-27-3, the child shall be excused, without the necessity of school board action, subject to revocation thereafter as provided in this chapter. A school board of any school district may excuse a child from public school attendance for the reasons set forth in §§ 13-27-6 and 13-27-6.1.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3202; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 2; SL 1971, ch 116, § 1; SL 1981, ch 141, § 1; SL 1995, ch 97, § 1; SL 2011, ch 94, § 1; SL 2017, ch 78, § 1.


     13-27-3.   Child excused if provided alternative instruction--Notification--Investigation--Revocation--Restrictions--Testing. A child shall be excused from school attendance, pursuant to § 13-27-2, because the child is otherwise provided with alternative instruction for an equivalent period of time, as in the public schools, in the basic skills of language arts and mathematics. The parent or guardian of the child shall identify in the notification the place where the child will be instructed and any person who will instruct the child. The person is not required to be certified. The secretary of the Department of Education may investigate and determine whether the instruction is being provided. Failure to provide instruction is grounds for the school board, upon thirty days' notice, to revoke the excuse from school attendance. The secretary of the Department of Education may inspect the records of an alternative education program with fourteen days' written notice if the secretary has probable cause to believe the program is not in compliance with this section. The records to be inspected are limited to attendance and evidence showing academic progress.
     No person may instruct more than twenty-two children. All instructions shall be given so as to lead to a mastery of the English language. Each child receiving alternative instruction who is in grades four, eight, or eleven shall take a nationally standardized achievement test of the basic skills. The test may be the test provided by the state and used in the public school district where the child is instructed or another nationally standardized achievement test chosen by and provided at the expense of the child's parent, guardian, or school giving alternative instruction. The test may be monitored by the local school district where the child is instructed.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3202 (2): SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 2; SL 1971, ch 116, § 2; SL 1975, ch 128, § 170; SL 1977, ch 130; SL 1981, ch 141, § 2; SL 1983, ch 131, § 2; SL 1992, ch 128, § 1; SL 1993, ch 136; SL 1996, ch 115; SL 2003, ch 91, § 2; SL 2003, ch 272 (Ex. Ord. 03-1), § 63; SL 2016, ch 89, § 1; SL 2017, ch 78, § 2.


     13-27-3.1.   Birth certificate or affidavit to be submitted--Violation as misdemeanor. Any person who is required pursuant to § 13-27-1 to cause any child to attend any public or nonpublic school or alternative instruction program pursuant to § 13-27-3 in this state shall, either at the time of enrollment in any school in this state or upon being excused from school attendance pursuant to § 13-27-3 or within thirty days of initial enrollment or excuse, provide the public or nonpublic school or the alternative instruction program with a certified copy of the child's birth certificate or affidavit in lieu of birth certificate as issued by the Department of Health in such cases where the original birth certificate is deemed unattainable. Any parent or guardian who requests an excuse for his or her child pursuant to § 13-27-3, shall with the initial request for excuse, provide a certified copy of the child's birth certificate or an affidavit notarized or witnessed by two or more witnesses, swearing or affirming that the child identified on the request for excuse is the same person appearing on the child's certified birth certificate. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1988, ch 142, § 1; SL 2000, ch 81, § 1.


     13-27-3.2.   Maintenance of birth certificate by school as permanent record. Any copy of any certified birth certificate provided pursuant to § 13-27-3.1 shall be maintained by the public or nonpublic school or alternative instruction program and shall be a part of the child's permanent cumulative school record.

Source: SL 1988, ch 142, § 2; SL 2000, ch 81, § 2.


     13-27-3.3.   Report to district school board of children for whom birth certificate not furnished--Board to notify state's attorney. The superintendent of any public or nonpublic school or any person who provides alternative instruction in this state who maintains a child's permanent cumulative school record shall within thirty days of enrollment report to the school board of the district the name and address of any child whose permanent cumulative record does not have a copy of a certified birth certificate in violation of § 13-27-3.1 or 13-27-3.2. If the violation is not corrected within thirty days after the report, the school board of the district shall notify the state's attorney.

Source: SL 1988, ch 142, § 3; SL 2000, ch 81, § 3.


     13-27-3.4.   Certified copy of birth certificate to be provided to certain persons at no cost. Notwithstanding § 34-25-52, the department of health or the local registrar of vital records shall provide a certified copy of any child's birth certificate at no cost if the person requesting the certificate pursuant to § 13-27-3.1 is eligible to receive temporary assistance for needy families under chapter 28-7, food stamps under chapter 28-12, or county poor relief under chapter 28-13.

Source: SL 1988, ch 142, § 4.


     13-27-4, 13-27-5.   Repealed by SL 1979, ch 118, §§ 1, 2


     13-27-6.   Child excused because of illness in family. A school board may excuse a child from school attendance, pursuant to § 13-27-2, because of serious illness in his immediate family, making his presence at home an actual necessity, or his presence in school a menace to the health of other pupils. The school board may require the submission of medical evidence as a condition of granting an excuse pursuant to this section.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3202 (1); SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 2; SL 1982, ch 142, § 1.


     13-27-6.1.   Student excused from attendance--Events of state, youth programs, and work as precinct election official. An elementary and secondary student is eligible to be counted for school attendance up to five days in a school term if an excuse from actual school attendance is requested by a parent or guardian for the purpose of attending events of state or nationally recognized youth programs of educational value or for the purpose of working as a precinct election official if the student is at least eighteen years old.

Source: SL 1977, ch 129, § 1; SL 2004, ch 129, § 1.


     13-27-7.   Notification for excuse from attendance--Certificate of excuse--Revocation. Each notification for excuse from school attendance for the reasons provided in § 13-27-3 shall be on a standard form acknowledged before a notary or two witnesses. The form shall be provided by the secretary of the Department of Education. A certificate of excuse shall be included as part of the notification and is effective upon the filing of the notification with a school official, without the necessity of school board action, subject to revocation thereafter as provided in this chapter. The certificate of excuse shall be for a period not to exceed one year and shall state the reason for the excuse is that the child will receive alternative instruction. Upon a showing by the secretary of the Department of Education that a child excused from school attendance pursuant to § 13-27-3 is not being instructed in compliance with § 13-27-3, the school board may immediately revoke the child's certificate of excuse.
     Any test score required by § 13-27-3 shall be kept on file in the public school of the district where the child has school residence as defined in § 13-28-9. If subsequent achievement test results reveal less than satisfactory academic progress in the child's level of achievement, the school board may refuse to renew the child's certificate of excuse.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3202; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 2; SL 1971, ch 116, § 3; SL 1981, ch 141, § 3; SL 1983, ch 131, § 1; SL 1991, ch 20, §§ 17, 18; SL 1992, ch 128, § 2; SL 2003, ch 272 (Ex. Ord. 03-1), § 63; SL 2012, ch 98, § 1; SL 2017, ch 78, § 3.


     13-27-8.   Appeal on attendance matters to state board--Burden of proof--Finality of decision. Any parent or guardian of a student denied a certificate pursuant to §§ 13-27-6 and 13-27-6.1 or who has had a certificate revoked pursuant to § 13-27-7 who is dissatisfied with the decision of the school board may appeal the matter to the South Dakota Board of Education Standards who shall conduct a hearing pursuant to chapter 1-26. In the hearing the burden of proving noncompliance with § 13-27-3 shall be upon the secretary of the Department of Education. The state board's decision shall be final as to the secretary's right of appeal.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3202; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 2; SL 1971, ch 116, § 4; SL 1981, ch 141, § 4; SL 1985, ch 401 (Ex. Ord. 85-3); SL 2003, ch 272 (Ex. Ord. 03-1), § 63; SL 2017, ch 81, § 57.


     13-27-9.   Record of certificates of excuse from attendance--Copies to secretary and place of instruction. A permanent record of all certificates of excuse shall be kept in some safe place as determined by the school board. Any certificate of excuse of a pupil receiving alternative instruction pursuant to § 13-27-3 is confidential. Copies of any certificate of excuse shall be forwarded to the secretary of the Department of Education. Copies of any certificates of excuse shall also be forwarded to the place where the child is instructed. The copies shall be forwarded within thirty days of issuance.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3202; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 2; SL 1971, ch 116, § 5; SL 1975, ch 128, § 173; SL 1983, ch 131, § 4; SL 1991, ch 20, §§ 17, 18; SL 1995, ch 97, § 2; SL 2003, ch 272 (Ex. Ord. 03-1), § 63; SL 2012, ch 98, § 2.


     13-27-10.   Repealed by SL 2007, ch 99, § 1.


     13-27-11.   Failure to send child to school as misdemeanor. Any person having control of a child of compulsory school age who fails to have the child attend school as required by the provisions of this title, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor for the first offense. For each subsequent offense, a violator of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.9915; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 17, § 14; SDC Supp 1960, § 15.9914; SL 1982, ch 86, § 139; SL 1982, ch 142, § 2.


     13-27-12.   Repealed by SL 2015, ch 82, § 18.


     13-27-13.   Repealed by SL 1971, ch 116, § 13


     13-27-14.   Truancy officer employed by district--Duties--President of board acting where no officer employed. The school board of each school district shall annually appoint and provide for the remuneration of one or more truancy officers, to enforce, under the school board's direction, the compulsory attendance laws within the district. In a school district failing to provide a truancy officer, the president of the school board is the truancy officer and is responsible for the enforcement of the compulsory attendance laws within the school district.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3205; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 5; SL 1971, ch 116, § 7; SL 1982, ch 142, § 4.


     13-27-15.   Attendance records maintained by superintendent or president of board--Reports required. Each superintendent, or the president of the school board in districts without a superintendent, is responsible for maintaining an accurate record of the attendance of all persons of compulsory school age. He shall, at regular intervals, report the names of all compulsory school age persons, not excused from school, who do not or who irregularly attend an accredited school to the truancy officer on blanks provided for that purpose. He shall include reasons for the absences in the report.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3203; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 3; SL 1971, ch 116, § 8; SL 1975, ch 128, § 175; SL 1982, ch 142, § 5.


     13-27-16.   Warnings by school boards to send children to school--Report to truancy officer. Each school board shall warn parents or persons in control of children of compulsory school age that the children must enter school and attend regularly, and shall report the parents or persons in control of the children to the truancy officer for the district if the warning is not heeded. All school board members, superintendents, and teachers shall cooperate in the enforcement of the school attendance laws.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3203; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 3; SL 1975, ch 128, § 176; SL 1982, ch 142, § 6.


     13-27-17.   Investigations and records of truancy officer. Each truancy officer shall carefully check the attendance and nonattendance of all persons required by law to attend school in the district or districts within his jurisdiction and shall keep an accurate record of those persons not in attendance or whose attendance is irregular.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3205; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 5; SL 1971, ch 116, § 9.


     13-27-18.   Neglect of duty by superintendent, president of board, school board, or truancy officer--Harboring or employment of truant child--Hindering attendance by child--Misdemeanor. Any superintendent or school board president who fails to make prompt reports on attendance as required by law; any person who harbors or employs a child of compulsory school age not legally excused during the school term; the members of any school board who neglect or refuse to provide school facilities for children of their school district for at least nine months during the school year, or neglect to perform any other duties enumerated under the compulsory school attendance laws of this state; any truancy officer who neglects to perform the duties of his office; or any person who hampers or hinders a child of compulsory school age from attending a school which meets all legal requirements, or who interferes or attempts to interfere with the child's attendance is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.9916; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 17, § 15; SDC Supp 1960, § 15.9915; SL 1971, ch 116, § 10; SL 1975, ch 128, § 177; SL 1982, ch 86, § 140; SL 1982, ch 142, § 7.


     13-27-19.   Power of truancy officers to apprehend truant children--Supervisory control by secretary. Each truancy officer has the powers of a deputy sheriff in the exercise of his duties, and shall apprehend without warrant children of compulsory school age who absent themselves from the place where the children are required to attend without an excuse, and place the children in the custody of the person having charge of the place where the children are by law required to attend. In the administration of his duties, each truancy officer is subject to the general supervisory control of the secretary of the Department of Education.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3205; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 5; SL 1971, ch 116, § 11; SL 1982, ch 142, § 8; SL 2003, ch 272, § 63.


     13-27-20.   Complaints against persons responsible for truancy--Contents of complaint--Verification. Each truancy officer shall make and file truancy complaints, and any teacher, school officer, or any citizen may make and file a truancy complaint, before a circuit court judge, against any person having control of a child of compulsory school age who is not attending school or whose attendance is irregular. The complaint shall state the name of the parent, guardian, or person responsible for the control of the child. The complaint shall be verified by oath upon belief of the complainant.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3206; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 6; SL 1975, ch 128, § 178; SL 1982, ch 142, § 9; SL 1993, ch 213, § 84.


     13-27-21.   Warrant for arrest of parent, guardian, or responsible person--Summons of witnesses. Upon filing of a complaint, the judge of a circuit court shall issue a warrant of arrest to the sheriff of the county directing him to bring the defendant before the court and to summon witnesses required to ascertain the facts in the case.

Source: SDC 1939, § 15.3206; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 6; SL 1975, ch 128, § 179; SL 1982, ch 142, § 10.


     13-27-22.   Repealed by SL 1975, ch 128, § 377


     13-27-23.   Penalties invoked on finding of guilty. If the judge finds the defendant guilty, he shall invoke the penal provisions of § 13-27-11 upon the defendant.

Source: SL 1955, ch 41, ch 15, § 6; SDC Supp 1960, § 15.3206; SL 1982, ch 142, § 11.


     13-27-24 to 13-27-27.   Repealed by SL 1982, ch 142, §§ 13 to 16


     13-27-28.   Disobedience of circuit court order as contempt. Any parent, guardian, or person in charge of a child, who refuses or neglects to obey any order of a circuit judge made as provided in this chapter, is, in addition to the penal provisions of § 13-27-11, guilty of contempt of court.

Source: SDC 1939, § 55.4204; SL 1975, ch 128, § 184; SL 1982, ch 142, § 12.


     13-27-29.   Placement of child who has attended unaccredited school or alternative program--Appeal. If a child of compulsory school age has been attending an unaccredited school in another state or country or has been receiving alternative instruction pursuant to § 13-27-3 enrolls in a public school in this state, the child shall be placed at the child's demonstrated level of proficiency as established by one or more standardized tests. However, a child's placement may not be in a grade level higher than warranted by the child's chronological age assuming entry into the first grade at age six and annual grade advancement thereafter. After initial placement the child may be advanced according to his demonstrated performance. If a child of secondary school age has been attending an unaccredited school in another state or country or has been receiving alternative instruction pursuant to § 13-27-3 enrolls in a public school in this state, the child shall be placed in English and math at the level of achievement demonstrated by one or two standardized tests, and in all other subjects on a review of transcripts according to the policy formally adopted by the school board. The child's placement may not be in a grade level higher than warranted by the child's chronological age assuming entry into the first grade at age six and annual grade advancement thereafter. After initial placement the child may be advanced according to his demonstrated performance. Any parent or guardian who is dissatisfied with the secondary placement of his child may appeal it to the secretary of the Department of Education.

Source: SL 1983, ch 131, § 3; SL 1991, ch 20, §§ 17, 18; SL 2003, ch 272, § 63.


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