TITLE 14

Education

Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 27. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

Subchapter I. School Attendance Requirements


Subject to other provisions of this title, all the public schools of this State shall be free to all children who are residents of the State and who are of the ages required or authorized for attendance in a public school.

21 Del. Laws, c. 67, § 22; Code 1915, § 2296; 32 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 41; Code 1935, § 2684; 14 Del. C. 1953, § 2701; 59 Del. Laws, c. 87, § 9.;

(a) Except as otherwise provided, the following provisions are applicable to school attendance in this State:

(1) Every person in this State who has legal custody, guardianship of the person, or legal control of a child between 5 and 16 years of age, including any person acting as a caregiver pursuant to the provisions of § 202(f) of this title, shall enroll the child in a public school in the school district of the person's residence.

(2) Every person who has legal custody, guardianship of the person, or legal control of a student, including any person acting as a caregiver pursuant to the provisions of § 202(f) of this title, who is enrolled in a public school of this State shall send the student to the school each day of the minimum school term and to any academic improvement activities required by § 153 of this title.

(3) Every student who is enrolled in a public school of this State shall attend the school each day of the minimum school term and any academic improvement activities required by § 153 of this title. A student who has been absent from school without a valid excuse for more than 3 school days in a school year is a truant. A truant and the parent of a truant are subject to the administrative procedures and court proceedings set out in subchapter II of this chapter.

(b) For the purposes of this section, a child shall be considered 5 years of age if that child celebrates the child's fifth birthday according to the following schedule:

1993-94 school year                  Fifth birthday on or before

                                     November 30, 1993.

1994-95 school year                  Fifth birthday on or before

                                     October 31, 1994.

1995-96 school year                  Fifth birthday on or before

                                     September 30, 1995.

1996-97 school year                  Fifth birthday on or before

                                     August 31, 1996.

Subsequent school years              Fifth birthday on or before

                                     August 31 of the respective

                                     year.

Local school authorities may grant exceptions to the above schedule for entry into school if they determine that such exception is in the best interest of the child.

(c) The following provisions shall be applicable to the administration of subsection (a) of this section in regard to compulsory attendance in the kindergarten for a child age 5 years:

(1) If a child is a resident of the State at the time of that child's eligibility for admission to the kindergarten at age 5, the parents, guardian or legal custodian of that child may request that school authorities evaluate the child's readiness for attendance and may request a delay of 1 year in that attendance. However, admission to first grade will be authorized only after school authorities evaluate the child's readiness for attendance.

(2) If a child was not a resident of the State at the time of that child's eligibility for admission to the kindergarten at age 5, the parents, guardian or legal custodian of that child may request that school authorities evaluate the child's readiness for attendance and on the basis of that evaluation authorize admission to grade 1.

(3) The parent, guardian, legal custodian or relative care giver, as defined in § 202(f)(2) of this title, of a child who is eligible for admission to kindergarten at age 5 may opt for the child to attend kindergarten for a half-day per day, totaling 440 hours in a school year.

(d) The following provisions shall be applicable in regard to statewide minimum mandatory attendance requirements in each school year for children in grades K through 12.

(1) Following the tenth day of unexcused absence by a student, the school shall immediately notify the parent or parents or guardian and a visiting teacher for the district shall visit the student's home;

(2) Following the fifteenth day of unexcused absence by a student, the student's parent or parents or guardian shall be notified by certified mail to appear at the school within 10 days of notification for a conference and counseling;

(3) Following the twentieth day of unexcused absence by a student, the school shall refer the case for prosecution;

(4) Following the completion of prosecution of the case and the subsequent failure of the student to return to school within 5 school days thereof, the school shall immediately notify the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families requesting intervention services by the Department. The Department shall contact the family within 10 business days.

(e) Following the tenth unexcused day of attendance by a student in grades 6 through 12 inclusive, the building principal shall notify a visiting teacher of such unexcused days.

(f) If contacted by the school pursuant to paragraph (d)(2) of this section, each parent or guardian of a student shall sign a contract with the district agreeing they will make every reasonable effort to:

(1) Have their child or children abide by the school code of conduct;

(2) Make certain their child attends school regularly; and

(3) Provide written documentation for the reasons for any absence.

(g) Any day of summer school, any session of after school or Saturday extra instruction, or any session of mentoring which a child is required to attend as an academic improvement activity in conformity with § 153 of this title shall be considered a school day for purposes of this chapter, and for purposes of § 901 of Title 10, § 1100 of Title 11, and § 301 of Title 31 of this Code, or wherever the term school day or its equivalent is used in a provision of this Code designed to minimize or punish truancy.

24 Del. Laws, c. 121, § 1; Code 1915, § 2313; 32 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 41; Code 1935, § 2685; 14 Del. C. 1953, § 2702; 49 Del. Laws, c. 403, §§ 1-3; 57 Del. Laws, c. 112; 60 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 3; 63 Del. Laws, c. 290, § 2; 64 Del. Laws, c. 315, §§ 6, 7; 69 Del. Laws, c. 28, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 517, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 36, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 399, §§ 3, 4; 72 Del. Laws, c. 6, § 3; 72 Del. Laws, c. 346, §§ 3-5; 73 Del. Laws, c. 341, §§ 1, 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 175, §§ 2-5; 75 Del. Laws, c. 440, § 6; 78 Del. Laws, c. 290, § 311; 78 Del. Laws, c. 406, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 26, §§ 1, 2.;

Section 2702 of this title shall not apply to any student enrolled in a private school who is receiving regular and thorough instruction in the subjects prescribed for the public schools of the State in a manner suitable to children of the same age and stage of advancement, provided that such private school is subject to and in compliance with § 2704 of this title. For the purposes of this section, any student who is home-schooled in any manner provided for in § 2703A of this title shall also be exempt from the provisions of § 2702 of this title. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Justice of the Peace Court may retain jurisdiction over any case of truancy filed pursuant to § 2729 (failure to send) of this title or § 2730 (failure to attend) of this title prior to a student withdrawing from the public school bringing the charge and enrolling in a private or nonpublic school of this State.

24 Del. Laws, c. 121, § 1; Code 1915, § 2313; 32 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 41; Code 1935, § 2685; 14 Del. C. 1953, § 2703; 49 Del. Laws, c. 403, § 4; 57 Del. Laws, c. 113; 63 Del. Laws, c. 290, § 3; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, § 131; 74 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 23, § 1.;

For purposes of this chapter, a "homeschool" shall be considered a nonpublic school and there shall be three types of homeschools defined as follows:

(1) "Multi-family homeschool" means the education of children, primarily by the parents(s) or legal guardian(s) of such children mainly in one or several residences, or other facilities, when such children are not all related to each other as brother or sister. A person shall act as a liaison to the Department of Education for reporting enrollment and attendance information for all families involved.

(2) "Single-family homeschool" means the education of one's own child(ren) primarily by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of such child(ren) mainly in their own residence.

(3) "Single-family homeschool coordinated with the local school district" means the education of child(ren) primarily by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of such child(ren) mainly in their own residence using a curriculum approved by the local superintendent or the local superintendent's designee. The local superintendent shall determine in writing that the student is or will be provided with regular and thorough instruction by the student's parent(s) or legal guardian(s) in the subjects prescribed for the public schools of the State and in a manner suitable to children of the same age and stage of advancement.

74 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) All persons conducting nonpublic schools shall report end of the year attendance information to the Department of Education annually, on or before the July 31, on such forms as shall be prescribed by the Department of Education.

(b) Such persons shall also submit annually, no later than October 5, a statement of pupil enrollment as of the last school day in September, on such forms as prescribed by the Department of Education.

24 Del. Laws, c. 121, § 1; Code 1915, § 2313; 32 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 55; Code 1935, § 2748; 14 Del. C. 1953, § 2704; 58 Del. Laws, c. 494; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, § 132; 72 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 3; 80 Del. Laws, c. 27, § 1.;

(a) Other provisions of this title notwithstanding, a child may be exempted from § 2702 of this title upon request of the parent, guardian or other person legally having control of that child when the request is supported by written documentation of a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or neurologist, as the case may require. The request and documentation shall be addressed to the superintendent of schools of the district in which the child resides and, in the case of a child with a disability or disabilities, the child's Individual Education Program (IEP) team, for the development of an educational program and determination of whether a change of placement is necessary to ensure that the child receives a free and appropriate public education.

(b) Any disputed decision under this section shall be presented first to the board of education of the school district of which the child is a resident and may thereafter be appealed to the State Board of Education. The decision of the State Board of Education shall be final. In the case of a child with a disability or disabilities, all of the federal regulatory due process procedures of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [20 U.S.C. §§ 1411 et seq.] shall apply.

24 Del. Laws, c. 121, § 1; Code 1915, § 2313; 32 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 41; Code 1935, § 2685; 14 Del. C. 1953, § 2705; 61 Del. Laws, c. 190, § 3; 69 Del. Laws, c. 272, § 1.;

Any child affected with diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever or smallpox shall be excluded from the schools until permission of the proper school officer for the child to return is granted; and intercourse between pupils of the schools and the family or house, when there is any case of 1 of these contagious diseases, must be forbidden until the official permission is given to return to the school.

17 Del. Laws, c. 68, § 3; Code 1915, § 767; Code 1935, § 773; 14 Del. C. 1953, § 2707; 72 Del. Laws, c. 346, § 7.;