2006 Code of Virginia § 22.1-254 - Compulsory attendance required; excuses and waivers; alternative education program attendance; exem...

22.1-254. Compulsory attendance required; excuses and waivers; alternativeeducation program attendance; exemptions from article.

A. Except as otherwise provided in this article, every parent, guardian, orother person in the Commonwealth having control or charge of any child whowill have reached the fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any schoolyear and who has not passed the eighteenth birthday shall, during the periodof each year the public schools are in session and for the same number ofdays and hours per day as the public schools, send such child to a publicschool or to a private, denominational, or parochial school or have suchchild taught by a tutor or teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Boardof Education and approved by the division superintendent, or provide for homeinstruction of such child as described in 22.1-254.1.

As prescribed in the regulations of the Board of Education, the requirementsof this section may also be satisfied by sending a child to an alternativeprogram of study or work/study offered by a public, private, denominational,or parochial school or by a public or private degree-granting institution ofhigher education. Further, in the case of any five-year-old child who issubject to the provisions of this subsection, the requirements of thissection may be alternatively satisfied by sending the child to any publiceducational pre-kindergarten program, including a Head Start program, or in aprivate, denominational, or parochial educational pre-kindergarten program.

Instruction in the home of a child or children by the parent, guardian, orother person having control or charge of such child or children shall not beclassified or defined as a private, denominational or parochial school.

The requirements of this section shall apply to (i) any child in the custodyof the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Corrections whohas not passed his eighteenth birthday and (ii) any child whom the divisionsuperintendent has required to take a special program of prevention,intervention, or remediation as provided in subsection C of 22.1-253.13:1and in 22.1-254.01. The requirements of this section shall not apply to (a)any person 16 through 18 years of age who is housed in an adult correctionalfacility when such person is actively pursuing a general educationaldevelopment (GED) certificate but is not enrolled in an individual studentalternative education plan pursuant to subsection D, and (b) any child whohas obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent, a certificate ofcompletion, or a GED certificate, or who has otherwise complied withcompulsory school attendance requirements as set forth in this article.

B. A school board shall excuse from attendance at school:

1. Any pupil who, together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religioustraining or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school. Forpurposes of this subdivision, "bona fide religious training or belief" doesnot include essentially political, sociological or philosophical views or amerely personal moral code; and

2. On the recommendation of the juvenile and domestic relations districtcourt of the county or city in which the pupil resides and for such period oftime as the court deems appropriate, any pupil who, together with hisparents, is opposed to attendance at a school by reason of concern for suchpupil's health, as verified by competent medical evidence, or by reason ofsuch pupil's reasonable apprehension for personal safety when such concern orapprehension in that pupil's specific case is determined by the court, uponconsideration of the recommendation of the principal and divisionsuperintendent, to be justified.

C. A school board may excuse from attendance at school:

1. On recommendation of the principal and the division superintendent andwith the written consent of the parent or guardian, any pupil who the schoolboard determines, in accordance with regulations of the Board of Education,cannot benefit from education at such school; or

2. On recommendation of the juvenile and domestic relations district court ofthe county or city in which the pupil resides, any pupil who, in the judgmentof such court, cannot benefit from education at such school.

D. Local school boards may allow the requirements of subsection A of thissection to be met under the following conditions:

For a student who is at least 16 years of age, there shall be a meeting ofthe student, the student's parents, and the principal or his designee of theschool in which the student is enrolled in which an individual studentalternative education plan shall be developed in conformity with guidelinesprescribed by the Board, which plan must include:

a. Career guidance counseling;

b. Mandatory enrollment and attendance in a general educational developmentpreparatory program or other alternative education program approved by thelocal school board with attendance requirements that provide for reporting ofstudent attendance by the chief administrator of such GED preparatory programor approved alternative education program to such principal or his designee;

c. Counseling on the economic impact of failing to complete high school; and

d. Procedures for reenrollment to comply with the requirements of subsectionA of this section.

A student for whom an individual student alternative education plan has beengranted pursuant to this subsection and who fails to comply with theconditions of such plan shall be in violation of the compulsory schoolattendance law, and the division superintendent or attendance officer of theschool division in which such student was last enrolled shall seek immediatecompliance with the compulsory school attendance law as set forth in thisarticle.

Students enrolled with an individual student alternative education plan shallbe counted in the average daily membership of the school division.

E. A school board may, in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article3 ( 22.1-276.01 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of this title and upon a finding thata school-age child has been (i) charged with an offense relating to theCommonwealth's laws, or with a violation of school board policies, onweapons, alcohol or drugs, or intentional injury to another person; (ii)found guilty or not innocent of a crime that resulted in or could haveresulted in injury to others, or of an offense that is required to bedisclosed to the superintendent of the school division pursuant to subsectionG of 16.1-260; (iii) suspended pursuant to 22.1-277.05; or (iv) expelledfrom school attendance pursuant to 22.1-277.06 or 22.1-277.07 orsubsection B of 22.1-277, require the child to attend an alternativeeducation program as provided in 22.1-209.1:2 or 22.1-277.2:1.

F. Whenever a court orders any pupil into an alternative education program,including a program of general educational development, offered in the publicschools, the local school board of the school division in which the programis offered shall determine the appropriate alternative education placement ofthe pupil, regardless of whether the pupil attends the public schools itsupervises or resides within its school division.

The juvenile and domestic relations district court of the county or city inwhich a pupil resides or in which charges are pending against a pupil, or anycourt in which charges are pending against a pupil, may require the pupil whohas been charged with (i) a crime that resulted in or could have resulted ininjury to others, (ii) a violation of Article 1 ( 18.2-77 et seq.) ofChapter 5 of Title 18.2, or (iii) any offense related to possession ordistribution of any Schedule I, II, or III controlled substances to attend analternative education program, including, but not limited to, night school,adult education, or any other education program designed to offer instructionto students for whom the regular program of instruction may be inappropriate.

This subsection shall not be construed to limit the authority of schoolboards to expel, suspend, or exclude students, as provided in 22.1-277.04,22.1-277.05, 22.1-277.06, 22.1-277.07, and 22.1-277.2. As used in thissubsection, the term "charged" means that a petition or warrant has beenfiled or is pending against a pupil.

G. Within one calendar month of the opening of school, each school boardshall send to the parents or guardian of each student enrolled in thedivision a copy of the compulsory school attendance law and the enforcementprocedures and policies established by the school board.

H. The provisions of this article shall not apply to:

1. Children suffering from contagious or infectious diseases while sufferingfrom such diseases;

2. Children whose immunizations against communicable diseases have not beencompleted as provided in 22.1-271.2;

3. Children under 10 years of age who live more than two miles from a publicschool unless public transportation is provided within one mile of the placewhere such children live;

4. Children between the ages of 10 and 17, inclusive, who live more than 2.5miles from a public school unless public transportation is provided within1.5 miles of the place where such children live; and

5. Children excused pursuant to subsections B and C of this section.

Further, any child who will not have reached his sixth birthday on or beforeSeptember 30 of each school year whose parent or guardian notifies theappropriate school board that he does not wish the child to attend schooluntil the following year because the child, in the opinion of the parent orguardian, is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attendschool, may delay the child's attendance for one year.

The distances specified in subdivisions 3 and 4 of this subsection shall bemeasured or determined from the child's residence to the entrance to theschool grounds or to the school bus stop nearest the entrance to theresidence of such children by the nearest practical routes which are usablefor walking or riding. Disease shall be established by the certificate of areputable practicing physician in accordance with regulations adopted by theBoard of Education.

(Code 1950, 22-275.1; 1952, c. 279; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 72; 1968, c. 178;1974, c. 199; 1976, cc. 681, 713; 1978, c. 518; 1980, c. 559; 1984, c. 436;1989, c. 515; 1990, c. 797; 1991, c. 295; 1993, c. 903; 1996, cc. 163, 916,964; 1997, c. 828; 1999, cc. 488, 552; 2000, c. 184; 2001, cc. 688, 820;2003, c. 119; 2004, c. 251; 2006, c. 335.)

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