HB542 (2011) – 2011-03-15 revision

(New Title) prohibiting a school district from requiring that a parent send his or her child to any school or program to which the parent may be conscientiously opposed.


Status: VETOED BY GOVERNOR (Details)
Length: 1242 words.

Revisions of this bill in our system:

 HouseSenate
Public hearing:2011-02-24 10:00:00 LOB 2072011-04-05 00:00:00
Executive session:2011-03-09 10:15:00(unscheduled)
Floor vote:2011-03-15 00:00:002011-04-13 00:00:00

HB 542-FN – AS INTRODUCED

2011 SESSION

11-0828

04/05

HOUSE BILL 542-FN

AN ACT amending the school attendance statutes, amending the statute for suspension or expulsion of a pupil for possession of certain weapons, and repealing the rulemaking and reporting provisions of the Parents as Teachers program.

SPONSORS: Rep. Hoell, Merr 13

COMMITTEE: Education

ANALYSIS

This bill:

I. Removes compulsory school attendance for children between 6 and 16 years of age.

II. Repeals statutes relating to school district authority to make bylaws on truancy, nonattendance, exceptions for persons between 16 and 18 years of age who are unable to read and speak English, and the rulemaking and reporting requirements under the Parents as Teachers program.

III. Establishes an additional exception to the compulsory school attendance statute by providing that a child may be educated by a parent, whether or nor such education occurs in the child’s home, and establishes exceptions from prosecution for child in need of services, neglect, and child endangerment charges for a parent who chooses to educate a child.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

11-0828

04/05

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT amending the school attendance statutes, amending the statute for suspension or expulsion of a pupil for possession of certain weapons, and repealing the rulemaking and reporting provisions of the Parents as Teachers program.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 School Attendance; Attendance by Pupil. Amend the section heading in RSA 193:1 and RSA 193:1, I to read as follows:

193:1 Duty of Parent; [Compulsory] Attendance by Pupil.

I. A parent of any child at least 6 years of age and under [18] 16 years of age [shall cause] may allow such child to attend the public school to which the child is assigned in the child’s resident district. Such child shall regularly attend [full time] all classes in which the child is enrolled when such school is in session unless:

(a) The child is attending a New Hampshire public school outside the district to which the child is assigned or an approved New Hampshire private school for the same time;

(b) The child is receiving home education pursuant to RSA 193-A and is therefore exempt from this requirement;

(c) The relevant school district superintendent has excused a child from attendance because the child is physically or mentally unable to attend school, or has been temporarily excused upon the request of the parent for purposes agreed upon by the school authorities and the parent. Such excused absences shall not be permitted if they cause a serious adverse effect upon the student’s educational progress. Students excused for such temporary absences may be claimed as full-time pupils for purposes of calculating state aid under RSA 186-C:18 and adequate education grants under RSA 198:41;

(d) The child is attending a public or private school located in another state which has been approved by the state education agency of the state in which the school is located;

(e) The pupil has been exempted from attendance pursuant to RSA 193:5;

(f) The pupil has successfully completed all requirements for graduation and the school district is prepared to issue a diploma or the pupil has successfully achieved the equivalent of a high school diploma by either:

(1) Obtaining a GED certificate; or

(2) Documenting the completion of a home school program at the high school level by submitting a certificate or letter to the department of education;

(g) The pupil has been accepted into an accredited postsecondary education program; [or]

(h) The pupil obtains a waiver from the superintendent, which shall only be granted upon proof that the pupil is 16 years of age or older and has an alternative learning plan for obtaining either a high school diploma or its equivalent.

(1) Alternative learning plans shall include age-appropriate academic rigor and the flexibility to incorporate the pupil’s interests and manner of learning. These plans may include, but are not limited to, such components or combination of components of extended learning opportunities as independent study, private instruction, performing groups, internships, community service, apprenticeships, and on-line courses.

(2) Alternative learning plans shall be developed, and amended if necessary, in consultation with the pupil, a school guidance counselor, the school principal and at least one parent or guardian of the pupil, and submitted to the school district superintendent for approval.

(3) If the superintendent does not approve the alternative learning plan, the parent or guardian of the pupil may appeal such decision to the local school board. A parent or guardian may appeal the decision of the local school board to the state board of education consistent with the provisions of RSA 21-N:11, III; or

(i) The child is being educated by a parent, whether or not the education occurs in the child’s home, and the child has attained a reasonable level of academic progress comparable to children of a similar age and ability.

2 Truant Officers; Duties. Amend RSA 189:36 to read as follows:

189:36 Duties.

I. Truant officers shall, when directed by the school board, enforce the laws and regulations relating to truants and children between the ages of 6 and [18] 16 years not attending public school or who are not participating in an alternative learning plan under RSA 193:1, I(h); and the laws relating to the attendance at public school of children between the ages of 6 and [18] 16 years; and shall have authority [without] with a warrant to take and place in public school any children found employed contrary to the laws relating to the employment of children, or violating the laws relating to the compulsory attendance at public school of children under the age of [18] 16 years, and the laws relating to child labor. No home school pupil nor any person between the ages of 6 and [18] 16 who meets any of the requirements of RSA 193:1, I(c)-[(h)] (i) shall be deemed a truant.

II. A truant officer or school official shall not file a petition alleging that the child is in need of services pursuant to RSA 169-D:2, II(a) until all steps in the school district’s intervention process under RSA 189:34, II have been followed. A truant officer or school official shall not file a petition alleging that the child is in need of services pursuant to RSA 169-D:2, II(a) solely because a child is being educated by a parent pursuant to RSA 193:1, I(i).

3 Child Protection Act; Definitions. Amend RSA 169-C:2, XIX to read as follows:

XIX. “Neglected child” means a child:

(a) Who has been abandoned by his parents, guardian, or custodian; or

(b) Who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health, when it is established that his health has suffered or is very likely to suffer serious impairment; and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the parents, guardian or custodian; or

(c) Whose parents, guardian or custodian are unable to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization or other physical or mental incapacity; Provided, that no child who is, in good faith, under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, be considered to be a neglected child under this chapter, and provided that no child who is being educated by a parent in accordance with RSA 193:1, I(i) shall, for that reason alone, be considered to be a neglected child under this chapter.

4 New Paragraph; Endangering Welfare of a Child or an Incompetent. Amend RSA 639:3 by inserting after paragraph VI the following new paragraph:

VII. No parent acting in accordance with RSA 193:1, I(i) shall be guilty of an offense under this section.

5 Repeal. The following are repealed:

I. RSA 189:35-a, relative to a school district’s power to adopt bylaws on truancy.

II. RSA 193:7, relative to penalty for noncompliance with school attendance laws.

III. RSA 193:9, relative to persons between 16 and 18 years of age who cannot read and speak English.

IV. RSA 193:10, relative to the exception for illiterates and non-English-speaking persons over 16 years of age employed in cutting, harvesting or driving pulp-wood and timber, or temporarily employed in construction or agricultural work.

V. RSA 193:16, relative to authority of school districts to make bylaws on habitual truancy and nonattendance.

VI. RSA 193:36, relative to department of education’s rulemaking authority for the Parents as Teachers program.

VII. RSA 193:37, relative to department of health and human services reporting requirement for the Parents as Teachers program.

6 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

LBAO

11-0828

Revised 01/31/11

HB 542 FISCAL NOTE

AN ACT amending the school attendance statutes, amending the statute for suspension or expulsion of a pupil for possession of certain weapons, and repealing the rulemaking and reporting provisions of the Parents as Teachers program.

FISCAL IMPACT:

      The Department of Education states this bill may reduce state education trust fund expenditures by an indeterminable amount, and have an indeterminable impact on local expenditures in FY 2012 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on state, county, and local revenues, or county expenditures.

METHODOLOGY:

    This bill removes compulsory school attendance for children between the ages of 6 and 16; repeals statutes relating to school district authority to make bylaws on truancy, nonattendance, exceptions for persons between 16 and 18 years of age who are unable to read and speak English, and the rulemaking and reporting requirements under the parents as teachers program. This bill also establishes an additional exception to the compulsory school attendance statute by providing that a child may be educated by a parent and establishes exceptions from prosecution for child in need of services (CHINS), neglect, and child endangerment charges for a parent who chooses to educate a child.

    The Department of Education states it can not accurately estimate the fiscal impact of the proposed legislation because information is not available to determine the number of students that would be affected. The Department states state and local expenditures would be reduced in proportion to the number of students who would subsequently receive their educations outside of the public school system. The Department also states local expenditures would increase by the costs associated with obtaining warrants to place children who are illegally employed back into a public school.