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Back to School: Top 5 Questions About School Enrollment

School girl holding food tray in school cafeteria
By Christopher Coble, Esq. on August 14, 2019

Summer is, sadly, coming to an end. If your children aren't back in school yet, they soon will be. You might've already taken care of everything from enrollment to school supplies to new outfits. But if your child is just starting school, you've moved or changed schools, or you're a procrastinator like us and Fall has snuck up on you, you might have some unanswered questions when it comes to school enrollment.

Here are five of the most common questions when it comes to school enrollment, and where you can find the answers:

1. When Is It Too Late to Enroll My Child in School?

The bad news is that you may have already missed the standard enrollment period, which is in early spring for most public schools. The good news, however, is that many schools offer late enrollment periods for newcomers or those who missed the early enrollment deadline. Check with your local school district for specifics.

Maybe your child wants to remain in a school with their friends. Or maybe you think a different school is better than the one for which you're zoned. Either way, unless your child truly lives at that other address, you are likely committing school enrollment fraud if you intentionally mislead the school district as to your child's place of residence.

3. Can Undocumented Immigrants Attend Public School?

Yes. Per the Supreme Court in 1982, all children in the country are guaranteed a right to an elementary and secondary education, regardless of their immigration status. The Court recognized public education's pivotal role in maintaining the fabric of society and depriving children that opportunity would take an enormous toll on their social, economic, intellectual, and psychological well-being.

4. Is It a Crime Not to Send Your Children to School?

School attendance is compulsory in every state. While the specifics of those laws can vary --and most include exceptions for homeschooling -- there remains a general requirement that students attend school from the ages of 6 to 16. And in some cases, parents can face criminal charges if their children are out of school too often.

Almost 2 million children are educated at home each year, but regulations on home schooling are different in almost every state. Some states, for instance, require parents to establish themselves as a private school. And the number of hours per day, and days per year, required to meet minimum requirements will also vary. Check your state's home school laws before you begin.

You can also consult with a local education attorney if you have any more questions about enrolling your child in school.

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