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CONNECTICUT

Summary of Connecticut Statutes   Text of Connecticut Statutes

Occasionally,  public school "authorities" tell parents that "state law requires" that they "file a Notice of Intent" or "obtain permission" or "follow local policy" in order to homeschool. These same "authorities" may produce a portion of a state statute and claim that it is the source of the "requirement". Most often, it is not the correct source and the "authorities" have either misunderstood or misinterpreted that statute.

To clarify for all concerned exactly what the "statutes" are that apply to parents who want to educate their own children, we have listed the following information.


 
Summary of Connecticut's Home Education Statutes

Connecticut General Statute §10-184. The duty of parents.  This statute imposes an obligation on all parents to instruct their own children or to cause them to be instructed in certain subjects.  If parents do not undertake their obligation, the statute then requires children between certain ages to attend public school or private school.  Because it is the obligation of all parents to instruct their own children, they are not required to seek the approval of public school administrators before doing so.

 
Connecticut General Statute §10-184a.  This statute grants parents of children taught at home or in private school the right to refuse to accept special education services provided by the public school if the parents do not believe that those services are appropriate for their children.

 
Connecticut General Statute §10-184b.  This statute ensures that the Commissioner of Education will not waive the authority of parents to instruct their children under Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-184.

 
Connecticut General Statute §10-220.  This statute specifies the jurisdictional authority of the local public school board of education. Among other duties directly related to the public schools, the board of education is required to implement “the educational interests of the state”; to “give all the children of the school district as nearly equal advantages as may be practicable”; to “make such provisions as will enable each child of school age, residing in the district to attend some public day school for the period required by law”; and to “cause each child five years of age and over and under eighteen years of age who is not a high school graduate and is living in the school district to attend school in accordance with the provisions of section 10-184.”  The duty of the board of education regarding attendance of children is only applicable if parents of these children are not undertaking their obligation to instruct their children at home or to cause their children to be instructed in a private school.

 
Connecticut General Statute §10-249
.  This statute imposes an obligation on local boards of education to enumerate all the children in the public school district.

 
Connecticut General Statute §10-250.  This statute requires that, when asked by the local boards of education, parents provide the names, ages, and location where the child is being educated to the local boards of education.

 
Connecticut General Statute §10-251.  This statute imposes a penalty for those who fail to provide the name, age, and information about attendance of a child when asked.


Connecticut General Statute §10-198a.  This statute specifies that children who are not enrolled in a public or private school but who are being instructed by their parents in accordance with Conn. Gen. Statute §10-184 shall not be considered truant.

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THE STATUTES

 

Sec. 10-184. Duties of parents. School attendance age requirements.

      All parents and those who have the care of children shall bring them up in some lawful and honest employment and instruct them or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state and federal governments. Subject to the provisions of this section and section 10-15c, each parent or other person having control of a child five years of age and over and under eighteen years of age shall cause such child to attend a public school regularly during the hours and terms the public school in the district in which such child resides is in session, unless such child is a high school graduate or the parent or person having control of such child is able to show that the child is elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools. The parent or person having control of a child sixteen or seventeen years of age may consent, as provided in this section, to such child's withdrawal from school. Such parent or person shall personally appear at the school district office and sign a withdrawal form. The school district shall provide such parent or person with information on the educational options available in the school system and in the community. The parent or person having control of a child five years of age shall have the option of not sending the child to school until the child is six years of age and the parent or person having control of a child six years of age shall have the option of not sending the child to school until the child is seven years of age. The parent or person shall exercise such option by personally appearing at the school district office and signing an option form. The school district shall provide the parent or person with information on the educational opportunities available in the school system.

COMMENT: This statute comprises both the state's "compulsory education law" and the state's "compulsory attendance law". The first sentence of the statute codifies the "compulsory education law". It simply means that all children must be educated, and that it is the duty of all parents in the state to educate their own children. Parents are required to instruct their own children or cause them to be instructed in the subjects listed. However, under the second sentence of this statute, should the parents fail to undertake their obligation to instruct their own children, and should their children be between certain ages, then and only then do the parents become obligated to send those children to public school, unless the parents are able to show that the children are receiving an equivalent instruction elsewhere such as in a private school. This is the "compulsory attendance" portion of the statute. In other words, children of certain ages, whose parents are not undertaking their obligation to instruct them, are required to "attend" a public school unless they are already attending a private school. The remainder of the statute also refers to compulsory “attendance”.  That is, parents of children age five or six, who are not going to undertake their obligation to instruct their children, but, instead, who are going to send them to a school in a year or two, are obligated under the final portion of the statute to personally appear at the public school to sign an "opt out" form. However, parents of a five or six year old child who are going to undertake their obligation to instruct their own child, are NOT obligated to appear or sign any "opt out" form.

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Sec. 10-184a. Refusal of certain parents to consent to use of special education programs or services.

      The provisions of sections 10-76a to 10-76h, inclusive, shall not be construed to require any local, regional or state board of education to provide special education programs or services for any child whose parent or guardian has chosen to educate such child in a home or private school in accordance with the provisions of section 10-184 and who refuses to consent to such programs or services.

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Sec. 10-184b. Waiver provisions not applicable to equivalent instruction authority of parents.

      Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes or public or special act granting the Commissioner of Education the authority to waive provisions of the general statutes, the Commissioner of Education shall not limit the authority of parents or guardians to provide for equivalent instruction pursuant to section 10-184.

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Sec. 10-220. Duties of boards of education.

      (a) Each local or regional board of education shall maintain good public elementary and secondary schools, implement the educational interests of the state as defined in section 10-4a and provide such other educational activities as in its judgment will best serve the interests of the school district; provided any board of education may secure such opportunities in another school district in accordance with provisions of the general statutes and shall give all the children of the school district as nearly equal advantages as may be practicable; shall provide an appropriate learning environment for its students which includes (1) adequate instructional books, supplies, materials, equipment, staffing, facilities and technology, (2) equitable allocation of resources among its schools, and (3) a safe school setting; shall have charge of the schools of its respective school district; shall make a continuing study of the need for school facilities and of a long-term school building program and from time to time make recommendations based on such study to the town; shall report annually to the Commissioner of Education on the condition of its facilities and the action taken to implement its long-term school building program, which report the commissioner shall use to prepare an annual report that said commissioner shall submit in accordance with section 11-4a to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education; shall advise the Commissioner of Education of the relationship between any individual school building project pursuant to chapter 173 and such long-term school building program; shall have the care, maintenance and operation of buildings, lands, apparatus and other property used for school purposes and at all times shall insure all such buildings and all capital equipment contained therein against loss in an amount not less than eighty per cent of replacement cost; shall determine the number, age and qualifications of the pupils to be admitted into each school; shall develop and implement a written plan for minority staff recruitment for purposes of subdivision (3) of section 10-4a; shall employ and dismiss the teachers of the schools of such district subject to the provisions of sections 10-151 and 10-158a; shall designate the schools which shall be attended by the various children within the school district; shall make such provisions as will enable each child of school age, residing in the district to attend some public day school for the period required by law and provide for the transportation of children wherever transportation is reasonable and desirable, and for such purpose may make contracts covering periods of not more than five years; may place in an alternative school program or other suitable educational program a pupil enrolling in school who is nineteen years of age or older and cannot acquire a sufficient number of credits for graduation by age twenty-one; may arrange with the board of education of an adjacent town for the instruction therein of such children as can attend school in such adjacent town more conveniently; shall cause each child five years of age and over and under eighteen years of age who is not a high school graduate and is living in the school district to attend school in accordance with the provisions of section 10-184, and shall perform all acts required of it by the town or necessary to carry into effect the powers and duties imposed by law.

      (b) The board of education of each local or regional school district shall, with the participation of parents, students, school administrators, teachers, citizens, local elected officials and any other individuals or groups such board shall deem appropriate, prepare a statement of educational goals for such local or regional school district. The statement of goals shall be consistent with state-wide goals pursuant to subsection (c) of section 10-4. Each local or regional board of education shall develop student objectives which relate directly to the statement of educational goals prepared pursuant to this subsection and which identify specific expectations for students in terms of skills, knowledge and competence.

      (c) Annually, each local and regional board of education shall submit to the Commissioner of Education a strategic school profile report for each school under its jurisdiction and for the school district as a whole. The superintendent of each local and regional school district shall present the profile report at the next regularly scheduled public meeting of the board of education after each November first. The profile report shall provide information on measures of (1) student needs, (2) school resources, including technological resources and utilization of such resources and infrastructure, (3) student and school performance, (4) equitable allocation of resources among its schools, (5) reduction of racial, ethnic and economic isolation, and (6) special education. For purposes of this subsection, measures of special education include (A) special education identification rates by disability, (B) rates at which special education students are exempted from mastery testing pursuant to section 10-14q, (C) expenditures for special education, including such expenditures as a percentage of total expenditures, (D) achievement data for special education students, (E) rates at which students identified as requiring special education are no longer identified as requiring special education, (F) the availability of supplemental educational services for students lacking basic educational skills, (G) the amount of special education student instructional time with nondisabled peers, (H) the number of students placed out-of-district, and (I) the actions taken by the school district to improve special education programs, as indicated by analyses of the local data provided in subparagraphs (A) to (H), inclusive, of this subdivision.

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Sec. 10-249. Enumeration of children of compulsory school age in school districts and by state departments having jurisdiction over such children.

      (a) The board of education of each local and regional school district shall annually determine by age the number of children of compulsory school age who reside within the jurisdiction of such school district as of January first of each year. Such determination shall be made by (1) enumeration of each such child individually or (2) any reasonable means of accounting approved by the Commissioner of Education.

      (b) If any child of compulsory school age is not attending school within the jurisdiction of the board of education of a local or regional school district, the superintendent of schools of the district shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain the reason for such nonattendance. If such child is employed at labor, the superintendent of schools shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain the name and address of such child's employer or of the establishment where such child is employed. Returns shall be made to the board of education on or before the fifteenth day of May. Any state, local or other public agency shall, upon request by the superintendent of schools, provide such information as may be reasonably required for the purposes of this section.

      (c) Each state department shall report periodically to the Commissioner of Education at such time and in such manner as he shall prescribe, the name and address of the most recent residence within the state for each child of compulsory school age under the jurisdiction of such department. The commissioner shall provide such information to the superintendent of schools of the local or regional school district wherein such child is indicated to have most recently resided.

COMMENT:  In other words, it is an affirmative obligation on the part of the local board of education each year to “enumerate” the children “of compulsory school age” who reside in their district.  Parents do not need to offer the information to the board, if the board does not request it.  However, under Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-251, parents are obligated to provide the name and age of the child and information about the school attendance of the child, if the board does request that information.

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Sec. 10-250. Report showing number of children.

      Annually, not later than June fifteenth, the superintendent of schools for each local or regional school district shall file with the Commissioner of Education a report, on a form prescribed by said commissioner, showing the number of children of compulsory school age residing within the jurisdiction of such school district determined in accordance with the provisions of section 10-249 and such other information as said commissioner requires.

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Sec. 10-251. Penalty for refusing to give age of child.

      Any person having control of a child under twenty-one years of age who willfully refuses to give the name and age of such child, and such information concerning the school attendance of such child as this chapter requires, shall be fined not more than twenty-five dollars.

Sec. 10-198a. Policies and procedures concerning truants.

      (a) For purposes of this section, "truant" means a child age five to eighteen, inclusive, who is enrolled in a public or private school and has four unexcused absences from school in any one month or ten unexcused absences from school in any school year.

      (b) Each local and regional board of education shall adopt and implement policies and procedures concerning truants who are enrolled in schools under the jurisdiction of such board of education. Such policies and procedures shall include, but need not be limited to, the following: (1) The holding of a meeting with the parent of each child who is a truant, or other person having control of such child, and appropriate school personnel to review and evaluate the reasons for the child being a truant, provided such meeting shall be held not later than ten school days after the child's fourth unexcused absence in a month or tenth unexcused absence in a school year, (2) coordinating services with and referrals of children to community agencies providing child and family services, (3) annually at the beginning of the school year and upon any enrollment during the school year, notifying the parent or other person having control of each child enrolled in a grade from kindergarten to eight, inclusive, in the public schools in writing of the obligations of the parent or such other person pursuant to section 10-184, (4) annually at the beginning of the school year and upon any enrollment during the school year, obtaining from the parent or other person having control of each child in a grade from kindergarten to eight, inclusive, a telephone number or other means of contacting such parent or such other person during the school day and (5) a system of monitoring individual unexcused absences of children in grades kindergarten to eight, inclusive, which shall provide that whenever a child enrolled in school in any such grade fails to report to school on a regularly scheduled school day and no indication has been received by school personnel that the child's parent or other person having control of the child is aware of the pupil's absence, a reasonable effort to notify, by telephone, the parent or such other person shall be made by school personnel or volunteers under the direction of school personnel. Any person who, in good faith, gives or fails to give notice pursuant to subdivision (5) of this subsection shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, which might otherwise be incurred or imposed and shall have the same immunity with respect to any judicial proceeding which results from such notice or failure to give such notice.

      (c) If the parent or other person having control of a child who is a truant fails to attend the meeting held pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section or if such parent or other person otherwise fails to cooperate with the school in attempting to solve the truancy problem, such policies and procedures shall require the superintendent of schools to file for each such truant enrolled in the schools under his jurisdiction a written complaint with the Superior Court pursuant to section 46b-149 alleging the belief that the acts or omissions of the child are such that his family is a family with service needs.

      (d) Nothing in subsections (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section shall preclude a local or regional board of education from adopting policies and procedures pursuant to this section which exceed the requirements of said subsections.

      (e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any child receiving equivalent instruction pursuant to section 10-184.

COMMENT:  This statute clearly specifies that only children who are ENROLLED in a public or in a private school and who have the specified number of absences may be considered truant.  Children who are being instructed at home by their parent may not be considered truant.

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Sec. 10-198. False statement as to age.

      Any parent or other person having control of a child, who makes any false statement concerning the age of such child with intent to deceive any registrar of vital statistics or the teacher of any school, or instructs a child to make any such false statement, shall be fined not more than twenty dollars.

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In the future, NHELD, LLC hopes to provide a complete listing for all states. Please have patience with us while we develop a more complete listing.  If you would like to assist us in compiling this listing, please contact us.
 

 

 

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