June 14, 2024

Compulsory School Age Increases

School Age

Posted for Lexington Park Business and Community Association

Maryland lawmakers have passed changes in the compulsory school attendance age and beginning this year, every St. Mary’s County child between 5 and 16 years old must attend school during the entire year. The age will increase again in two years.

The changes were passed by the Maryland General Assembly and Governor through Senate Bill 362 in 2012. This applies to students who turn 16 on or after July 1, 2015.

This change in the law raises the dropout age to 17. The purpose of the law was to reduce the number of students dropping out of high school and increase the number of high school graduates.

According to a press release from St. Mary’s County Public Schools, many states have already increase their age of compulsory attendance to age 17 or 18. Maryland will increase the age to 18 beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. The law does not apply to students who receive regular, thorough instruction in private or home school.

The changes were noted in a press release distributed by St. Mary’s County Public Schools earlier this month. According to the SMCPS website, the county’s school system currently has a graduation rate of 93.5 percent. The system has 27 schools and a total enrollment of 17,454 during the 2012-2013 school year, the latest data available on the website. The system employed 1,420 teachers that year in 17 elementary schools, one public charter, four middle schools, three high schools, the Career & Technology Center, and Fairlead Academy.

According to the Maryland State Board of Education, anyone who does not comply with the compulsory school age is committing a misdemeanor. If convicted, they could be fined $500 or jailed for 30 days, or both. Also, the parents of the child could be fined $50 per missed day for a first conviction; $100 per day for a second conviction. The law can be seen here.


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