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Alabama Compulsory School Attendance Age

Alabama’s compulsory school attendance age was changed May 2009, raising the age limit for all students in Alabama from 16 to 17 years old. This was done via Senate Bill 334.

Public school students who wish to leave school at age 17 (prior to graduation) must have (1) Written consent from parent or legal guardian and (2) undergo an exit interview where the student and the parent or legal guardian is advised about the detriments of leaving school early (16-28-3.1). Church schooled (homeschooled) students are exempt from these enacted policies.

The wording of some sections of the code is confusing. Section 16-28-3 mentions an exemption for church schooled children; some areas still seem to indicate age 16 for church schoolers.

Here is HSLDA’s take on the changes: Home Schooling in the United States: A Legal Analysis – Alabama (2009-2010 Edition).

You may still find some church school administrators who are not aware of the change, as it was done very quietly, with only a minimum of attention on several of the statewide Alabama homeschooling lists. Also, many websites that include generalized homeschooling information for all fifty states have not made the necessary changes to reflect this new attendance age for Alabama.

It is always best to read the Code of Alabama 1975 for yourself and review it occasionally for changes or just to refresh your knowledge. To find the proper section of the code, visit ALISON (Alabama Legislative Information System Online). On the left side of the page, click on the “Code of Ala” tab. From there, click on the “view” option at the top of that left side tab. Scroll down to Title 16: Education. The Section most pertinent is Chapter 28, but some of the rest is pretty interesting reading also!

For more information about homeschooling in Alabama, check out LeapingFromTheBox’s Alabama FAQs and Alabama Homeschooling pages.

Disclaimer: In no way should any information on this blog be considered legal advice. I urge everyone to familiarize themselves with the homeschool (education) laws of their individual state (read the State of Alabama Education Code) and to seek out other web sites pertaining to homeschooling in their individual state. Do not rely solely upon what you find at any one site!

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