Summaries and Explanations of D.C. Homeschooling Laws
District of Columbia Home School Laws
D.C. Statutes Pertaining to Home Education
§ 38-205. Report of enrollments and withdrawals.
§ 38-206. Penalty for failure to provide correct information.
§ 38-204. Census of minors.
§ 38-209. Court jurisdiction.
§ 38-203. Enforcement; penalties.
- An accurate daily record of the attendance of all minors covered by § 38-202 and this section shall be kept by the teachers of each public, independent, private, or parochial school and by every teacher who gives instruction privately. These records shall be open for inspection at all times by the Board, the Superintendent of Schools, school attendance officers, or other persons authorized to enforce this subchapter.
- It shall be the duty of each principal, head teacher, or school administrative officer as designated in each public, independent, private, or parochial school, and of each teacher who gives private instruction to report to the Board the school attendance of any minor covered by § 38-202(a) who is enrolled in a school or who is enrolled for private instruction and who is absent from school or instruction for more than 2 full-day sessions or 4 half-day sessions in any school month, along with a statement of the reasons for the absences.
- The absence of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) without valid excuse shall be unlawful.
- The parent, guardian, or other person who has custody or control of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) who is absent from school without a valid excuse shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Any person convicted of failure to keep a minor in regular attendance in a public, independent, private, or parochial school, or failure to provide regular private instruction acceptable to the Board may be fined not less than $100 or imprisoned for not more than 5 days, or both for each offense.
- Each unlawful absence of a minor for 2 full-day sessions or for 4 half-day sessions during a school month shall constitute a separate offense.
- For the 1st offense, upon payment of costs, the sentence may be suspended and the defendant may be placed on probation.
- For any person convicted under this section, the courts shall consider requiring the offender to perform community service as an alternative to fine or imprisonment or both.
Home School Laws from HSLDA
§ 38-202. Establishment of school attendance requirements.
- Every parent, guardian, or other person, who resides permanently or temporarily in the District during any school year and who has custody or control of a minor who has reached the age of 5 years or will become 5 years of age on or before December 31st of the current school year shall place the minor in regular attendance in a public, independent, private, or parochial school, or in private instruction during the period of each year when the public schools of the District are in session. This obligation of the parent, guardian, or other person having custody extends until the minor reaches the age of 18 years. For the purpose of this section placement in summer school is not required.
- Any minor who has satisfactorily completed the senior high school course of study prescribed by the Board and has been granted a diploma that certifies his or her graduation from high school, or who holds a diploma or certificate of graduation from another course of study determined by the Board to be at least equivalent to that required by the Board for graduation from the public senior high schools, shall be excused from further attendance at school.
- Any minor who has reached the age of 17 years may be allowed flexible school hours by the Superintendent of Schools provided he or she is actually, lawfully, gainfully, and regularly employed, but in no case shall he or she be excused entirely from regular attendance or excused to the extent that his or her timely graduation would be jeopardized or prevented.
- The Board shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to establish requirements to govern acceptable credit for studies completed at independent or private schools and private instruction, to govern the validity of applications for permission to be absent from school, to govern the selection and appointment of appropriate staff members to carry out the provisions of this chapter under the direction of the Superintendent of Schools, pursuant to Chapter 6 of Title 1, and in respect to other matters within the scope of authority of the Board that relates to this subchapter.
Case Law and Legal Opinions
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
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