Chapter 394

Chapter 394

2003 -- S 0594

Enacted 07/31/03






     Introduced By: Senator Hanna M. Gallo


     Date Introduced: February 13, 2003




It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Section 16-19-1 of the General Laws in Chapter 16-19 entitled

"Compulsory Attendance" is hereby amended to read as follows:

     16-19-1. Attendance required. -- (a) Every child who has completed or will have

completed six (6) years of life on or before December 31 September 1 of any school year and has

not completed sixteen (16) years of life shall regularly attend some public day school during all

the days and hours that the public schools are in session in the city or town in which the child

resides. Every person having under his or her control a child as described in this section shall

cause the child to attend school as required by this section, and for every neglect of this duty the

person having control of the child shall be fined not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for each day

or part of a day that the child fails to attend school, and if the total of these days is more than

thirty (30) school days during any school year, then the person shall, upon conviction, be

imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months or shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars

($500), or both; provided, that if the person so charged shall prove that the child has attended for

the required period of time a private day school approved by the commissioner of elementary and

secondary education pursuant to section 16-60-6(10), or a course of at-home instruction approved

by the school committee of the town where the child resides, or that the physical or mental

condition of the child was such as to render his or her attendance at school inexpedient or

impracticable, or that the child was excluded from school by virtue of some general law or

regulation, then attendance shall not be obligatory nor shall the penalty be incurred.

      (b) Every child enrolled in school who completes or has completed sixteen (16) years of

life and who has not yet attained eighteen (18) years of age shall regularly attend school during

all the days and hours that the public schools are in session in the city or town in which the child

resides unless the person having control of the child provides written permission to the school

department of the city or town to terminate the child's enrollment. Provided, however, that

nothing in this subsection or in subsection (a) of this section shall prohibit or limit cities or towns

from enacting programs of early intervention and/or mediation in an effort to address the

problems of students who are habitually late or absent from school.

      (c) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or otherwise interfere with the rights

of teachers and other school employees to collectively bargain pursuant to chapters 9.3 and 9.4 of

title 28 or to allow any school committee to abrogate any agreement reached by collective


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.