ERIC Number: ED268684
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: 0
Legal Challenges to Compulsory Attendance Laws.
Beckham, Joseph C.
Legal challenges to state compulsory attendance laws have emphasized four interrelated constitutional claims. Under provisions of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, parents have challenged the state's authority to require public school attendance in lieu of home instruction and private, religious organizations have refused to comply with state regulation of nonpublic schools. Alternatively, parents and religious organizations have asserted violations of the establishment clause of the First Amendment in attacking state regulation of private, religious school operations. In those cases in which state compulsory attendance requirements impose criminal penalties for nonconformance, challenges based upon a denial of due process have been addressed. Finally, parents have asserted a right to direct the education of the child under various constitutional theories implicating privacy, equal protection, and due process guarantees. An examination of court decisions in these areas reveals that state compulsory attendance laws are vulnerable where delegations of legislative power exceed the authority of administrative agencies, where ambiguities in statutory language permit unbridled discretion in enforcement policy, and where implementation of policies denies fundamental rights secured by state and federal constitutions. For these reasons, a conscientious review and revision of state compulsory attendance laws may be warranted in many jurisdictions. (MLF)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Policymakers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: National Organization on Legal Problems of Education, Topeka, KS.
Note: In: Jones, Thomas N., Ed., and Semler, Darel P., Ed. School Law Update 1985. National Organization on Legal Problems of Education, 1985 (ED 018 409).