Homeschooling in Missouri
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Missouri Laws Regulating Home Education
 Missouri Statutes
 Case Law & Legal Opinions
 Summaries of State Homeschooling Laws

Missouri Statutes Back to Top
Section 162.996 Handicapped children attending private, parochial, parish or home schools, districts
162.996. 1. Special educational services may be offered during the regular school day. Children who attend special educational services in the district and who otherwise attend a private, parochial, parish or home school shall be in compliance with section 167.031, RSMo. 2. A public school district shall be entitled to state aid for resident handicapped children who attend special educational services and who otherwise attend private, parochial, parish or home schools. State aid shall be calculated on the basis of full-time equivalent average daily attendance of part-time students as provided in section 163.011, RSMo. 3. Nothing in this section shall change the authority of a public school board to set the schedule of classes for full-time or part-time public school pupils including pupils receiving services under this section. 4. Nothing herein shall be construed to require transportation for these services. 5. No resident child shall be denied or discriminated against in special educational services offered by a school district on the grounds that the child regularly attends a private, parochial, parish or home school.
Section 167.031 School attendance compulsory, who may be excused--nonattendance, penalty--home school, definition, requirements--school year defined--daily log, defense to prosecution--compulsory attendance age for the district defined.
167.031. 1. Every parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control or custody of a child not enrolled in a public, private, parochial, parish school or full-time equivalent attendance in a combination of such schools and between the ages of seven years and the compulsory attendance age for the district is responsible for enrolling the child in a program of academic instruction which complies with subsection 2 of this section. Any parent, guardian or other person who enrolls a child between the ages of five and seven years in a public school program of academic instruction shall cause such child to attend the academic program on a regular basis, according to this section. Nonattendance by such child shall cause such parent, guardian or other responsible person to be in violation of the provisions of section 167.061, except as provided by this section. A parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control, or custody of a child between the ages of seven years of age and the compulsory attendance age for the district shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools not less than the entire school term of the school which the child attends; except that (1) A child who, to the satisfaction of the superintendent of public schools of the district in which he resides, or if there is no superintendent then the chief school officer, is determined to be mentally or physically incapacitated may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof; (2) A child between fourteen years of age and the compulsory attendance age for the district may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof, by the superintendent of public schools of the district, or if there is none then by a court of competent jurisdiction, when legal employment has been obtained by the child and found to be desirable, and after the parents or guardian of the child have been advised of the pending action; or (3) A child between five and seven years of age shall be excused from attendance at school if a parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of the child makes a written request that the child be dropped from the school's rolls. 2. (1) As used in sections 167.031 to 167.071, a "home school" is a school, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that: (a) Has as its primary purpose the provision of private or religious-based instruction; (b) Enrolls pupils between the ages of seven years and the compulsory attendance age for the district, of which no more than four are unrelated by affinity or consanguinity in the third degree; and (c) Does not charge or receive consideration in the form of tuition, fees, or other remuneration in a genuine and fair exchange for provision of instruction; (2) As evidence that a child is receiving regular instruction, the parent shall, except as otherwise provided in this subsection: (a) Maintain the following records: a. A plan book, diary, or other written record indicating subjects taught and activities engaged in; and b. A portfolio of samples of the child's academic work; and c. A record of evaluations of the child's academic progress; or d. Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to subparagraphs a., b. and c.; and (b) Offer at least one thousand hours of instruction, at least six hundred hours of which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science or academic courses that are related to the aforementioned subject areas and consonant with the pupil's age and ability. At least four hundred of the six hundred hours shall occur at the regular home school location; (3) The requirements of subdivision (2) of this subsection shall not apply to any pupil above the age of sixteen years. 3. Nothing in this section shall require a private, parochial, parish or home school to include in its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice in conflict with the school's religious doctrines or to exclude from its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice consistent with the school's religious doctrines. Any other provision of the law to the contrary notwithstanding, all departments or agencies of the state of Missouri shall be prohibited from dictating through rule, regulation or other device any statewide curriculum for private, parochial, parish or home schools. 4. A school year begins on the first day of July and ends on the thirtieth day of June following. 5. The production by a parent of a daily log showing that a home school has a course of instruction which satisfies the requirements of this section or, in the case of a pupil over the age of sixteen years who attended a metropolitan school district the previous year, a written statement that the pupil is attending home school in compliance with this section shall be a defense to any prosecution under this section and to any charge or action for educational neglect brought pursuant to chapter 210, RSMo. 6. As used in sections 167.031 to 167.051, the term "compulsory attendance age for the district" shall mean: (1) Seventeen years of age for any metropolitan school district for which the school board adopts a resolution to establish such compulsory attendance age; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution is adopted; and (2) Sixteen years of age in all other cases. The school board of a metropolitan school district for which the compulsory attendance age is seventeen years may adopt a resolution to lower the compulsory attendance age to sixteen years; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution is adopted.
Section 167.042 Home school, declaration of enrollment, contents--filing with recorder of deeds or chief school officer--fee.
167.042. For the purpose of minimizing unnecessary investigations due to reports of truancy, each parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child who causes his child to attend regularly a home school may provide to the recorder of deeds of the county where the child legally resides, or to the chief school officer of the public school district where the child legally resides, a signed, written declaration of enrollment stating their intent for the child to attend a home school within thirty days after the establishment of the home school and by September first annually thereafter. The name and age of each child attending the home school, the address and telephone number of the home school, the name of each person teaching in the home school, and the name, address and signature of each person making the declaration of enrollment shall be included in said notice. A declaration of enrollment to provide a home school shall not be cause to investigate violations of section 167.031. The recorder of deeds may charge a service cost of not more than one dollar for each notice filed.
Section 167.051 Compulsory attendance of part-time schools.
167.051. 1. If a school board establishes part-time schools or classes for children under seventeen years of age, lawfully engaged in any regular employment, every parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of such a child shall cause the child to attend the school not less than four hours a week between the hours of eight o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the evening during the school year of the part-time classes. 2. All children who are under eighteen years of age, who have not completed the elementary school course in the public schools of Missouri, or its equivalent, and who are not attending regularly any day school shall be required to attend regularly the part-time classes not less than four hours a week between the hours of eight o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the afternoon during the entire year of the part-time classes.
Section 167.052 Applicability of compulsory attendance and part-time school requirements for metropolitan school districts.
167.052. The provisions of sections 167.031 and 167.051 affecting a metropolitan school district shall be effective for the school year beginning 2007-2008 and shall terminate after the school year ending 2011- 2012.
Section 167.061 Penalty for violating compulsory attendance law.
167.061. Any parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of a child, who violates the provisions of section 167.031 is guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Upon conviction and pending any judicial appeal, the defendant shall be required to enroll the child in a public, private, parochial, parish or home school within three public school days, after which each successive school day shall constitute a separate violation of section 167.031. The fine or imprisonment, or both, may be suspended and finally remitted by the court, with or without the payment of costs, at the discretion of the court, if the child is immediately placed and kept in regular attendance at a public, private, parochial, parish or home school and if the fact of regular attendance is proved subsequently to the satisfaction of the court. A certificate stating that the child is regularly attending a public, private, parochial or parish school and properly attested by the superintendent, principal or person in charge of the school is prima facie evidence of regular attendance by the child.
Section 167.071 School attendance officers in seven-director districts, powers and duties--powers of police officers in certain areas.
167.071. 1. In school districts having seven or more directors the school board may appoint and remove at pleasure one or more school attendance officers and shall pay them from the public school funds. 2. Each attendance officer has the powers of a deputy sheriff in the performance of his duties. He shall investigate the claims of children for exemptions under section 167.031, and report his findings to the person authorized by that section to grant the exemption sought. He shall refer all cases involving an alleged violation of section 167.031 involving a public school to the superintendent of the public school of the district where the child legally resides and all cases involving an alleged violation of section 167.031 involving a private, parochial, parish or home school to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides. When reasonable doubt exists as to the age of any such child he may require a properly attested birth certificate or an affidavit stating the child's age, date of birth, physical characteristics and bearing the signature of the child. He may visit and enter any mine, office, factory, workshop, business house, place of amusement, or other place in which children are employed or engaged in any kind of service, or any place or building in which children loiter or idle during school hours; may require a properly attested certificate of the attendance of any child at school; may arrest, without warrant, any truant, or nonattendants or other juvenile disorderly persons, and place them in some school or take them to their homes, or take them to any place of detention provided for neglected children in the county or school district. He shall serve in the cases which he prosecutes without additional fee or compensation. Each attendance officer appointed by a school board shall carry into effect the regulations lawfully prescribed by the board by which he was appointed. 3. In any urban school district, any metropolitan school district and in school districts having seven or more directors and which are located in a first class county having a charter form of government, any duly commissioned city or county police officer shall be ex officio school attendance officers. Any police officer exercising duties of ex officio school attendance officer need not refer any child apprehended pursuant to the provisions of this section to juvenile court or a juvenile officer, but nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the police officer's regular powers and duties as a peace officer.
Section 167.619 Most accessible care to be provided--discrimination prohibited.
167.619. When a school or school district enrolls as a Medicaid provider pursuant to section 167.606 or receives a grant under section 167.603, the department of social services shall assure that the grants or funds are used to provide the most accessible care to school age children. No resident child shall be denied or discriminated against in school children health services or Medicaid services offered by a school district or a local health department under sections 167.600 to 167.621 on the grounds that the child regularly attends or does not attend a public, private, parochial, parish or home school.
Section 210.167 Report to school district on violations of compulsory school attendance law--referral by school district to prosecutor, when.
210.167. If an investigation conducted by the division of family services pursuant to section 210.145 reveals that the only basis for action involves a question of an alleged violation of section 167.031, RSMo, then the local office of the division shall send the report to the school district in which the child resides. The school district shall immediately refer all private, parochial, parish or home school matters to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides. The school district may refer public school violations of section 167.031, RSMo, to the prosecuting attorney.
Section 211.031 Juvenile court to have exclusive jurisdiction, when--exceptions--home schooling, attendance violations, how treated.
211.031. 1. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the juvenile court or the family court in circuits that have a family court as provided in sections 487.010 to 487.190, RSMo, shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in proceedings: (1) Involving any child or person seventeen years of age who may be a resident of or found within the county and who is alleged to be in need of care and treatment because: (a) The parents, or other persons legally responsible for the care and support of the child or person seventeen years of age, neglect or refuse to provide proper support, education which is required by law, medical, surgical or other care necessary for his or her well-being; except that reliance by a parent, guardian or custodian upon remedial treatment other than medical or surgical treatment for a child or person seventeen years of age shall not be construed as neglect when the treatment is recognized or permitted pursuant to the laws of this state; (b) The child or person seventeen years of age is otherwise without proper care, custody or support; or (c) The child or person seventeen years of age was living in a room, building or other structure at the time such dwelling was found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be a public nuisance pursuant to section 195.130, RSMo; (d) The child or person seventeen years of age is a child in need of mental health services and the parent, guardian or custodian is unable to afford or access appropriate mental health treatment or care for the child; (2) Involving any child who may be a resident of or found within the county and who is alleged to be in need of care and treatment because: (a) The child while subject to compulsory school attendance is repeatedly and without justification absent from school; or (b) The child disobeys the reasonable and lawful directions of his or her parents or other custodian and is beyond their control; or (c) The child is habitually absent from his or her home without sufficient cause, permission, or justification; or (d) The behavior or associations of the child are otherwise injurious to his or her welfare or to the welfare of others; or (e) The child is charged with an offense not classified as criminal, or with an offense applicable only to children; except that, the juvenile court shall not have jurisdiction over any child fifteen and one-half years of age who is alleged to have violated a state or municipal traffic ordinance or regulation, the violation of which does not constitute a felony, or any child who is alleged to have violated a state or municipal ordinance or regulation prohibiting possession or use of any tobacco product; (3) Involving any child who is alleged to have violated a state law or municipal ordinance, or any person who is alleged to have violated a state law or municipal ordinance prior to attaining the age of seventeen years, in which cases jurisdiction may be taken by the court of the circuit in which the child or person resides or may be found or in which the violation is alleged to have occurred; except that, the juvenile court shall not have jurisdiction over any child fifteen and one-half years of age who is alleged to have violated a state or municipal traffic ordinance or regulation, the violation of which does not constitute a felony, or any child who is alleged to have violated a state or municipal ordinance or regulation prohibiting possession or use of any tobacco product, and except that the juvenile court shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the municipal court over any child who is alleged to have violated a municipal curfew ordinance; (4) For the adoption of a person; (5) For the commitment of a child or person seventeen years of age to the guardianship of the department of social services as provided by law. 2. Transfer of a matter, proceeding, jurisdiction or supervision for a child or person seventeen years of age who resides in a county of this state shall be made as follows: (1) Prior to the filing of a petition and upon request of any party or at the discretion of the juvenile officer, the matter in the interest of a child or person seventeen years of age may be transferred by the juvenile officer, with the prior consent of the juvenile officer of the receiving court, to the county of the child's residence or the residence of the person seventeen years of age for future action; (2) Upon the motion of any party or on its own motion prior to final disposition on the pending matter, the court in which a proceeding is commenced may transfer the proceeding of a child or person seventeen years of age to the court located in the county of the child's residence or the residence of the person seventeen years of age, or the county in which the offense pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection 1 of this section is alleged to have occurred for further action; (3) Upon motion of any party or on its own motion, the court in which jurisdiction has been taken pursuant to subsection 1 of this section may at any time thereafter transfer jurisdiction of a child or person seventeen years of age to the court located in the county of the child's residence or the residence of the person seventeen years of age for further action with the prior consent of the receiving court; (4) Upon motion of any party or upon its own motion at any time following a judgment of disposition or treatment pursuant to section 211.181, the court having jurisdiction of the cause may place the child or person seventeen years of age under the supervision of another juvenile court within or without the state pursuant to section 210.570, RSMo, with the consent of the receiving court; (5) Upon motion of any child or person seventeen years of age or his or her parent, the court having jurisdiction shall grant one change of judge pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rules; (6) Upon the transfer of any matter, proceeding, jurisdiction or supervision of a child or person seventeen years of age, certified copies of all legal and social documents and records pertaining to the case on file with the clerk of the transferring juvenile court shall accompany the transfer. 3. In any proceeding involving any child or person seventeen years of age taken into custody in a county other than the county of the child's residence or the residence of a person seventeen years of age, the juvenile court of the county of the child's residence or the residence of a person seventeen years of age shall be notified of such taking into custody within seventy-two hours. 4. When an investigation by a juvenile officer pursuant to this section reveals that the only basis for action involves an alleged violation of section 167.031, RSMo, involving a child who alleges to be home schooled, the juvenile officer shall contact a parent or parents of such child to verify that the child is being home schooled and not in violation of section 167.031, RSMo, before making a report of such a violation. Any report of a violation of section 167.031, RSMo, made by a juvenile officer regarding a child who is being home schooled shall be made to the prosecuting attorney of the county where the child legally resides.

Case Law & Legal Opinions Back to Top
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."

Summaries of State Homeschooling Laws Back to Top
Compulsory Attendance and Part-Time Public School Enrollment
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
A list of common questions and answers regarding the compulsory attendance laws in Missouri.
Home Schooling
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Home schooling is one of the options available for meeting the state's compulsory attendance law, Section 167.031, RSMo. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does NOT regulate or monitor home schooling in Missouri. Neither the State Board of Education nor the Department have authority to issue regulations or guidelines concerning home schooling. Nonetheless, they receive many questions from parents and educators about this topic. The documents and resources listed here are intended to answer the most common questions about home schooling.
Home Schooling Information
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
The current statutory provisions for home schooling are summarized by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Logging Homeschool Hours
St. Louis Catholic Homeschool Association
Homeschooling parents in the State of Missouri are required by law to keep a plan book, diary, or other written record showing subjects taught and educational activities engaged in. (RSMo167.031) They are also required to keep samples of the student’s academic work, and a record of the evaluations of the student’s academic progress.
Missouri Home School Laws from HSLDA
HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Missouri. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Missouri.
Missouri Homeschooling Laws
NHEN
National Home Education Network's listing of the Missouri state laws governing the education of children in home schools.


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