STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION
Assemblywoman BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Assemblyman GILBERT "WHIP" L. WILSON
District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)
Raises age requirement of compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18 years old.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act concerning compulsory education and amending various sections 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 six 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 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. This act shall take effect immediately.
Under current law, children between the ages of six and 16 must regularly attend school. This bill raises the age requirement for compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18 years of age. However, under the bill, students who graduate from high school prior to their eighteenth birthday would be exempt from this requirement.
Societal changes and the increasing demands of the labor market continue to place a premium on education. A person who stops attending school at age 16 often lacks the skills and preparation to successfully compete in the workforce and function in society. Requiring students to attend school until the age of 18 will help ensure that students receive an adequate education and are sufficiently prepared to compete in the labor market and function in society.