STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION
Assemblyman GILBERT "WHIP" L. WILSON
District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)
Raises age requirement of compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18 years old; increases fine on parent of truant student; and requires truant student to complete community service requirement.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act concerning compulsory education, amending various sections of the New Jersey Statutes, and supplementing chapter 38 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S.18A:38-25 is amended to read as follows:
18A:38-25. Every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between the ages of six and  18 years , if the child has not graduated from high school, shall cause such child regularly to attend the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.
2. N.J.S.18A:38-27 is amended to read as follows:
18A:38-27. Any child [between the ages of six and 16 years] required to attend school pursuant to N.J.S.18A:38-25 who shall repeatedly be absent from school, and any child of such age found away from school during school hours whose parent, guardian or other person having charge and control of the child is unable to cause him to attend school and any pupil who is incorrigible, actually vagrant, vicious, or immoral in conduct, shall be deemed to be a juvenile delinquent and shall be proceeded against as such.
3. N.J.S.18A:38-28 is amended to read as follows:
18A:38-28. Any attendance officer who shall find any child [between six and 16 years of age] required to attend school pursuant to N.J.S.18A:38-25 who is a truant from school, shall take the child and deliver him to the parent, guardian or other person having charge and control of the child, or to the teacher of the school which such child is lawfully required to attend.
4. N.J.S.18A:38-31 is amended to read as follows:
18A:38-31. A parent, guardian or other person having charge and control of a child [between the ages of 6 and 16 years] required to attend school pursuant to N.J.S.18A:38-25 , who shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of this article relating to his duties, shall be deemed to be a disorderly person and shall be subject to a fine of not more than [$25.00] $50 for a first offense and not more than $100.00 for each subsequent offense, in the discretion of the court.
In any such proceeding, the summons issuing therein, or in special circumstances a warrant, shall be directed to the alleged disorderly person and the child.
(cf: P.L.1980, c.153, s.1)
5. (New section) a. Each school district shall adopt a policy that establishes appropriate community service requirements for truant students.
b. A school principal shall, in accordance with the school district policy, impose a community service requirement on any child required to attend school pursuant to N.J.S.18A:38-25 who is a truant from school.
6. This act shall take effect immediately.
Under current law, children between the ages of 6 and 16 must regularly attend school. The parent or guardian of a truant student is subject to a fine of not more that $25 for a first offense and not more than $100 for each subsequent offense. This bill raises the age requirement for compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18 years of age, except for students who graduate from high school prior to their eighteenth birthday, and increases the fine for a first offense to not more than $50. The bill also directs each school district to adopt a policy that establishes appropriate community service requirements for truant students and directs a school principal to impose a community service requirement on a truant student, in accordance with the district policy.