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Vermont Compulsory Education Laws

Education is deemed a fundamental right and responsibility for each state to legislate and monitor. In Vermont, as in all U.S. states, compulsory education laws mandate some form of education for children from early childhood through their teens. Vermont allows most alternative forms of education as well, including home schooling or private schools. Vermont compulsory education laws require children between the ages of six (6) and sixteen (16) to attend school unless they've graduated or fall under one of the exceptions to compulsory education laws. For example, the superintendent of a public school has the ability to excuse a child for up to ten consecutive school days in cases of an emergency or if the child is out of town.

Consequences of Noncompliance

When a child doesn't attend school, as required by law, he or she is considered "truant." Truancy is any absence (by a student under the age of 18) for part or all of one or more days from school during which the school has NOT been notified of the legal cause of the absence by the parent/guardian of the absent student. Parents or legal guardians who don't comply with compulsory education laws can also face consequences. In Vermont, for example, if a parent or guardian receives notice of the child's absence and fails to send his or her child to school, the person can be fined up to $1,000.

Vermont Compulsory Education Laws at a Glance

When researching the law, it's important to read the actual language of a statute. But, it can also be beneficial to read a summary of the laws in plain English. The chart below provides a brief overview of Vermont compulsory education laws, with links to relevant statutes.

Code Section(s)

Vermont Statutes Title 16 Section 1121, et seq. (Compulsory Attendance)

Age at Which School Attendance is Required Between 6 (six) and 16 years old
Types of Education

A person who has control of the child must ensure that the child attends one of the following:

Exceptions to Attendance Requirements

A child may be exempted from the attendance requirement if he or she:

  • is physically or mentally unable to attend;
  • has completed the 10th grade;
  • is excused by the superintendent or a majority of school directors;
  • is enrolled in and attending a postsecondary school, which is approved or accredited in Vermont or another state.
Select Home Study Program Provisions*

Enrollment Notice. A written enrollment notice must be sent each year to the Secretary of Education (the "Secretary"). The Secretary will send a written acknowledgment of receipt and either (1) a determination that the enrollment notice is complete, or (2) that a hearing is ordered.

Progress Assessments. Progress assessments must be sent each year in each subject area of the minimum course of study. Progress is assessed in one or more of the following methods:

  • A report in a form designated by the Secretary, by a teacher licensed in Vermont.
  • A report prepared by the student's instructor or parents, or a teacher advisory service report from a publisher of a commercial curriculum, along with a portfolio of the student's work.
  • The results of a standardized achievement test that has be approved by the Secretary, which has been administered in a manner approved by the testing company.

*Please note that there are several other provisions that affect home study programs. For a complete list of these provisions, please visit Section 166b.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Vermont Compulsory Education Laws: Related Resources

Have Questions About Vermont Compulsory Education Laws? Ask an Attorney

Receiving an education is an important aspect of growing up, which is why state laws require children to receive a basic education. If you have questions about Vermont compulsory education laws, or other questions related to education law, it's a good idea to talk to an experienced education lawyer near you today.

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