Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Parents First" Legislation - 2010 House Bill 1580

Changes are marked in yellow.

Explanations are marked in green, but are not part of the bill.






AN ACT relative to home schooling.

SPONSORS: Rep. Ingbretson, Graf 5; Rep. Vita, Straf 3; Rep. Willette, Hills 6; Rep. Hogan, Hills 25

COMMITTEE: Education


This bill establishes that parents have a natural, fundamental right to determine and direct the education of their children. The bill also exempts children who are receiving educational instruction from a parent from the compulsory attendance requirements.

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten

AN ACT relative to home schooling.

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

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

The term “duty of parent” dates back to the first compulsory attendance law of New Hampshire in 1871, G.L. 91: 14, confirming that the "duty of the parent" to instruct his child goes back to the earliest laws of our state.

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

Explicitly recognizes "right of parent":

I. It is the natural, fundamental right of parents to determine and direct the education of their children. A parent of any child at least 6 years of age and under 18 years of age:

Reiterates and enumerates the "duty of parent" to instruct his child; modeled on General Statutes of Connecticut, Sec. 10-184 which originated from the earliest law of Connecticut in the Code of 1650: Ludlow’s Law:

(a) Shall raise such child in a lawful and honest field of employment and instruct such child or cause such child to be instructed in science, mathematics, language, government, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the history of the constitutions of New Hampshire and the United States, and shall cause the child to be exposed to art and music; or

(b) Shall cause such child to attend the public school to which the child is assigned in the child’s resident district. Such child shall attend the public school to which the child is assigned full time when such school is in session unless:

[(a)] (1) 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)] (2) The child is receiving home education pursuant to RSA 193-A and is therefore exempt from this requirement;

[(c)] (3) 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)] (4) 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)] (5) The pupil has been exempted from attendance pursuant to RSA 193:5;

[(f)] (6) 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)] (A) Obtaining a GED certificate; or

[(2)] (B) 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)] (7) The pupil has been accepted into an accredited postsecondary education program; [or]

[(h)] (8) 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)] (A) 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)] (B) 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)] (C) 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

Exempts children instructed by parents from compulsory attendance:

(9) The child is otherwise instructed by the parent and is therefore exempt from this requirement.

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

189:36 Duties. Truant officers shall, when directed by the school board, enforce the laws and regulations relating to truants and children between the ages of 8 and 18 years not attending school or who are not participating in an alternative learning plan under RSA 193:1, I[(h)](b)(8); and the laws relating to the attendance at school of children between the ages of 8 and 18 years; and shall have authority without a warrant to take and place in 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 school of children under the age of 18 years, and the laws relating to child labor. No home school pupil nor any person between the ages of 6 and 18 who meets any of the requirements of RSA 193:1, I[(c)-(h)](b)(3)-(8) shall be deemed a truant.

3 School Attendance; Bylaws as to Nonattendance. Amend RSA 193:16 to read as follows:

193:16 Bylaws as to Nonattendance. Districts may make bylaws, not repugnant to law, concerning habitual truants and children between the ages of 6 and 18 years not attending school or who are not participating in an alternative learning plan under RSA 193:1, I[(h)] (b)(8), and to compel the attendance of such children at school; failure to comply with such bylaws shall constitute a violation for each offense.

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