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South Carolina Compulsory Education Laws

Parents are always worrying about their children’s education, even if most kids are wondering why they have to go to school at all. The response to those parents and children are the Palmetto State’s education statutes, which have certain requirements regarding school attendance. Here are the basics of compulsory education laws in South Carolina.

Compulsory Education

State compulsory education laws require children of a certain age to attend school, with a few exceptions. In South Carolina, children between the ages of five and seventeen are required to attend school.

South Carolina’s Compulsory Education Statutes

The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s compulsory education laws.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 59-65-10, et seq.: Attendance of Pupils

Age at Which School Attendance is Required

Between 5 and 17

Exceptions to Attendance Requirements

Enrolled in private, parochial, or other approved program; child graduated; physical/mental disability; 8th grade completed and gainfully and lawfully employed; child has reached age 16 and determined to be disruptive to educational program and enters into gainful employment until 17

Home School Provisions

Instruction given under auspices of South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools and its requirements exempts home school from further requirements; otherwise, instruction must be approved; parent has at least a high school diploma or GED; include 180 days of instruction per year; curriculum includes reading, writing, math, science, social studies; composition and literature (in grades 7-12)

Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance

Not more than $50 fine or prison up to 30 days; each absence is separate offense; court may suspend any conviction in its discretion

There are some exceptions to compulsory education laws, most of which are based on the child being in a private or parochial school. Some states will grant exemptions to children who attend home school, if the parents can meet the same educational standards that are required of public and state-accredited private schools. Other exceptions are based on work release permits that allow a student to be away from school in order to work a limited amount of hours during a normal school day. For example, public school students in South Carolina who have gainful employment and have either completed 8th grade or are aged 16 may be excused from school attendance.

South Carolina Compulsory Education Laws: Related Resources

State education laws can be convoluted. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's Compulsory Education section. If you would like legal assistance regarding an education matter, you can also contact a South Carolina education attorney.

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