H516: Raise Dropout Age to 18. Latest Version



AN ACT to raise the compulsory school attendance age to eighteen years old.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 115C‑378(a) reads as rewritten:

(a)      Every parent, guardian guardian, or custodian in this State having charge or control of a child between the ages of seven and 16 18 years shall cause the child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to which the child is assigned shall be in session. session, unless the child graduates from high school. Every parent, guardian, or custodian in this State having charge or control of a child under age seven who is enrolled in a public school in grades kindergarten through two shall also cause the child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to which the child is assigned shall be in session unless the child has withdrawn from school.

SECTION 2.  G.S. 115C‑238.66(3) reads as rewritten:

(3)      School attendance. – Every parent, guardian, or other person in this State having charge or control of a child who is enrolled in the regional school and who is less than 16 18 years of age shall cause such child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time that the regional school shall be in session. session, unless the child graduates from high school. No person shall encourage, entice, or counsel any child to be unlawfully absent from the regional school. Any person who aids or abets a student's unlawful absence from the regional school shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The principal shall be responsible for implementing such additional policies concerning compulsory attendance as shall be adopted by the board of directors, including regulations concerning lawful and unlawful absences, permissible excuses for temporary absences, maintenance of attendance records, and attendance counseling.

SECTION 3.  G.S. 116‑235(b)(2) reads as rewritten:

(2)      School Attendance. – Every parent, guardian, or other person in this State having charge or control of a child who is enrolled in the School and who is less than 16 18 years of age shall cause such child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the School shall be in session. session, unless the child graduates from high school. No person shall encourage, entice, or counsel any child to be unlawfully absent from the School. Any person who aids or abets a student's unlawful absence from the School shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The Chancellor of the School shall be responsible for implementing such additional policies concerning compulsory attendance as shall be adopted by the Board of Trustees, including regulations concerning lawful and unlawful absences, permissible excuses for temporary absences, maintenance of attendance records, and attendance counseling.

SECTION 4.  G.S. 116‑239.8(b)(5) reads as rewritten:

(5)      School attendance. – Every parent, guardian, or other person in this State having charge or control of a child who is enrolled in the laboratory school and who is less than 16 18 years of age shall cause such child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time that the laboratory school shall be in session. session, unless the child graduates from high school. No person shall encourage, entice, or counsel any child to be unlawfully absent from the laboratory school. Any person who aids or abets a student's unlawful absence from the laboratory school shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The principal shall be responsible for implementing such additional policies concerning compulsory attendance as shall be adopted by the chancellor, including regulations concerning lawful and unlawful absences, permissible excuses for temporary absences, maintenance of attendance records, and attendance counseling.

SECTION 5.  G.S. 7B‑1501(27) reads as rewritten:

(27)    Undisciplined juvenile. –

a.         A juvenile who, while less than 16 18 years of age but at least 6 years of age, is unlawfully absent from school; or is regularly disobedient to and beyond the disciplinary control of the juvenile's parent, guardian, or custodian; or is regularly found in places where it is unlawful for a juvenile to be; or has run away from home for a period of more than 24 hours; orhours.

b.         A juvenile who is 16 or 17 years of age and who is regularly disobedient to and beyond the disciplinary control of the juvenile's parent, guardian, or custodian; or is regularly found in places where it is unlawful for a juvenile to be; or has run away from home for a period of more than 24 hours.

SECTION 6.  G.S. 143B‑805(20) reads as rewritten:

(20)    Undisciplined juvenile. –

a.         A juvenile who, while less than 16 18 years of age but at least 6 years of age, is unlawfully absent from school; or is regularly disobedient to and beyond the disciplinary control of the juvenile's parent, guardian, or custodian; or is regularly found in places where it is unlawful for a juvenile to be; or has run away from home for a period of more than 24 hours; orhours.

b.         A juvenile who is 16 or 17 years of age and who is regularly disobedient to and beyond the disciplinary control of the juvenile's parent, guardian, or custodian; or is regularly found in places where it is unlawful for a juvenile to be; or has run away from home for a period of more than 24 hours.

SECTION 7.  Section 8.21 of S.L. 2016‑94 is repealed.

SECTION 8.  This act is effective when it becomes law and applies beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year.