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Bill would raise compulsory student school attendance age to 18

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Florida students would be required to stay in school until age 18 under legislation proposed for consideration during the upcoming regular session of the State Legislature. Currently, the state’s mandatory age for student attendance is 16 years.

State Sen. Alexis Calatayud (R- Miami) filed the bill on Feb. 21. SB 992 would also eliminate a requirement that a student’s parent signs a declaration of intent for the student to stop going to school and do away with a requirement for the school district to notify the student’s parent that it has received a termination declaration.

Under the proposed measure, a student may not choose to leave school before becoming an adult. In addition, students who are married or pregnant and parenting have the right to attend school and receive the same or equivalent educational instruction as any other student.

According to the Florida Department of Education, as of January, the state’s high school graduation rate decreased by 2.8 percent over 2022 but has risen by 28.1 percentage points over the course of the past 18 years, from 59.2 percent in 2003‐04 to 87.3 percent in 2021‐22.
The next legislative session is slated to begin on March 7. If signed into law, SB 992 would become effective on July 1.

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