Missouri State Law for Homeschoolers:

Missouri Revised Statutes -- Chapter 167 -- Pupils and Special Services

August 28, 2000

School attendance compulsory, who may be excused--nonattendance, penalty--home school, definition, requirements--school year defined --daily log, defense to prosecution.

167.031
1. Every parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control or custody of a child not enrolled in a public, private, parochial, parish school or full-time equivalent attendance in a combination of such schools and between the ages of seven and sixteen years is responsible for enrolling the child in a program of academic instruction which complies with subsection 2 of this section. Any parent, guardian or other person who enrolls a child between the ages of five and seven years in a public school program of academic instruction shall cause such child to attend the academic program on a regular basis, according to this section. Nonattendance by such child shall cause such parent, guardian or other responsible person to be in violation of the provisions of section 167.061, except as provided by this section. A parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control, or custody of a child between the ages of seven and sixteen years of age shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools not less than the entire school term of the school which the child attends; except that

(1) A child who, to the satisfaction of the superintendent of public schools of the district in which he resides, or if there is no superintendent then the chief school officer, is determined to be mentally or physically incapacitated may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof;

(2) A child between fourteen and sixteen years of age may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof, by the superintendent of public schools of the district, or if there is none then by a court of competent jurisdiction, when legal employment has been obtained by the child and found to be desirable, and after the parents or guardian of the child have been advised of the pending action; or

(3) A child between five and seven years of age shall be excused from attendance at school if a parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of the child makes a written request that the child be dropped from the school's rolls.

2. (1) As used in sections 167.031 to 167.071, a "home school" is a school, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that:

(a) Has as its primary purpose the provision of private or religious-based instruction;

(b) Enrolls pupils between the ages of seven and sixteen years, of which no more than four are unrelated by affinity or consanguinity in the third degree; and

(c) Does not charge or receive consideration in the form of tuition, fees, or other remuneration in a genuine and fair exchange for provision of instruction;

(2) As evidence that a child is receiving regular instruction, the parent shall:

(a) Maintain the following records:

a. A plan book, diary, or other written record indicating subjects taught and activities engaged in; and

b. A portfolio of samples of the child's academic work; and

c. A record of evaluations of the child's academic progress; or

d. Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to subparagraphs a., b. and c.; and

(b) Offer at least one thousand hours of instruction, at least six hundred hours of which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science or academic courses that are related to the aforementioned subject areas and consonant with the pupil's age and ability. At least four hundred of the six hundred hours shall occur at the regular home school location.

3. Nothing in this section shall require a private, parochial, parish or home school to include in its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice in conflict with the school's religious doctrines or to exclude from its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice consistent with the school's religious doctrines. Any other provision of the law to the contrary notwithstanding, all departments or agencies of the state of Missouri shall be prohibited from dictating through rule, regulation or other device any statewide curriculum for private, parochial, parish or home schools.

4. A school year begins on the first day of July and ends on the thirtieth day of June following.

5. The production by a parent of a daily log showing that a home school has a course of instruction which satisfies the requirements of this section shall be a defense to any prosecution under this section and to any charge or action for educational neglect brought pursuant to chapter 210, RSMo.

Home school, declaration of enrollment, contents--filing with recorder of deeds or chief school officer--fee.

167.042.
For the purpose of minimizing unnecessary investigations due to reports of truancy, each parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child who causes his child to attend regularly a home school may provide to the recorder of deeds of the county where the child legally resides, or to the chief school officer of the public school district where the child legally resides, a signed, written declaration of enrollment stating their intent for the child to attend a home school within thirty days after the establishment of the home school and by September first annually thereafter. The name and age of each child attending the home school, the address and telephone number of the home school, the name of each person teaching in the home school, and the name, address and signature of each person making the declaration of enrollment shall be included in said notice. A declaration of enrollment to provide a home school shall not be cause to investigate violations of section 167.031. The recorder of deeds may charge a service cost of not more than one dollar for each notice filed.

Penalty for violating compulsory attendance law.

167.061.
Any parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of a child, who violates the provisions of section 167.031 is guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Upon conviction and pending any judicial appeal, the defendant shall be required to enroll the child in a public, private, parochial, parish or home school within three public school days, after which each successive school day shall constitute a separate violation of section 167.031. The fine or imprisonment, or both, may be suspended and finally remitted by the court, with or without the payment of costs, at the discretion of the court, if the child is immediately placed and kept in regular attendance at a public, private, parochial, parish or home school and if the fact of regular attendance is proved subsequently to the satisfaction of the court. A certificate stating that the child is regularly attending a public, private, parochial or parish school and properly attested by the superintendent, principal or person in charge of the school is prima facie evidence of regular attendance by the child.

School attendance officers in seven-director districts, powers and duties--powers of police officers in certain areas.

167.071.
1. In school districts having seven or more directors the school board may appoint and remove at pleasure one or more school attendance officers and shall pay them from the public school funds.

2. Each attendance officer has the powers of a deputy sheriff in the performance of his duties. He shall investigate the claims of children for exemptions under section 167.031, and report his findings to the person authorized by that section to grant the exemption sought. He shall refer all cases involving an alleged violation of section 167.031 involving a public school to the superintendent of the public school of the district where the child legally resides and all cases involving an alleged violation of section 167.031 involving a private, parochial, parish or home school to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides. When reasonable doubt exists as to the age of any such child he may require a properly attested birth certificate or an affidavit stating the child's age, date of birth, physical characteristics and bearing the signature of the child. He may visit and enter any mine, office, factory, workshop, business house, place of amusement, or other place in which children are employed or engaged in any kind of service, or any place or building in which children loiter or idle during school hours; may require a properly attested certificate of the attendance of any child at school; may arrest, without warrant, any truant, or nonattendants or other juvenile disorderly persons, and place them in some school or take them to their homes, or take them to any place of detention provided for neglected children in the county or school district. He shall serve in the cases which he prosecutes without additional fee or compensation. Each attendance officer appointed by a school board shall carry into effect the regulations lawfully prescribed by the board by which he was appointed.

3. In any urban school district, any metropolitan school district and in school districts having seven or more directors and which are located in a first class county having a charter form of government, any duly commissioned city or county police officer shall be ex officio school attendance officers. Any police officer exercising duties of ex officio school attendance officer need not refer any child apprehended pursuant to the provisions of this section to juvenile court or a juvenile officer, but nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the police officer's regular powers and duties as a peace officer.

Report to school district on violations of compulsory school attendance law--referral by school district to prosecutor, when.

210.167.
If an investigation conducted by the division of family services pursuant to section 210.145 reveals that the only basis for action involves a question of an alleged violation of section 167.031, RSMo, then the local office of the division shall send the report to the school district in which the child resides. The school district shall immediately refer all private, parochial, parish or home school matters to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides. The school district may refer public school violations of section 167.031, RSMo, to the prosecuting attorney.

This law was enacted during the 1986 legislative session. The most recent revisions (included) were made 8/28/93.

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