Legal

The legal right to homeschool is protected under Missouri Law. The actual statutes are found below.   Some sections of the law have been further clarified by judicial precedence.

Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 167
Pupils and Special Services Section 167.031
August 28, 2015
http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/16700000311.html
School attendance compulsory, who may be excused–nonattendance, penalty–home school, definition, requirements–school year defined–daily log, defense to prosecution–compulsory attendance age for the district defined.
167.031. 1. Every parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control or custody of a child not enrolled in a public, private, parochial, parish school or full-time equivalent attendance in a combination of such schools and between the ages of seven years and the compulsory attendance age for the district is responsible for enrolling the child in a program of academic instruction which complies with subsection 2 of this section. Any parent, guardian or other person who enrolls a child between the ages of five and seven years in a public school program of academic instruction shall cause such child to attend the academic program on a regular basis, according to this section. Nonattendance by such child shall cause such parent, guardian or other responsible person to be in violation of the provisions of section 167.061, except as provided by this section. A parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control, or custody of a child between the ages of seven years of age and the compulsory attendance age for the district shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools not less than the entire school term of the school which the child attends; except that:
(1) A child who, to the satisfaction of the superintendent of public schools of the district in which he resides, or if there is no superintendent then the chief school officer, is determined to be mentally or physically incapacitated may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof;
(2) A child between fourteen years of age and the compulsory attendance age for the district may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof, by the superintendent of public schools of the district, or if there is none then by a court of competent jurisdiction, when legal employment has been obtained by the child and found to be desirable, and after the parents or guardian of the child have been advised of the pending action; or
(3) A child between five and seven years of age shall be excused from attendance at school if a parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of the child makes a written request that the child be dropped from the school’s rolls.
2. (1) As used in sections 167.031 to 167.071, a “home school” is a school, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that:
(a) Has as its primary purpose the provision of private or religious-based instruction;
(b) Enrolls pupils between the ages of seven years and the compulsory attendance age for the district, of which no more than four are unrelated by affinity or consanguinity in the third degree; and
(c) Does not charge or receive consideration in the form of tuition, fees, or other remuneration in a genuine and fair exchange for provision of instruction.
(2) As evidence that a child is receiving regular instruction, the parent shall, except as otherwise provided in this subsection:
(a) Maintain the following records:
a. A plan book, diary, or other written record indicating subjects taught and activities engaged in; and
b. A portfolio of samples of the child’s academic work; and
c. A record of evaluations of the child’s academic progress; or
d. Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to subparagraphs a., b. and c.; and
(b) Offer at least one thousand hours of instruction, at least six hundred hours of which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science or academic courses that are related to the aforementioned subject areas and consonant with the pupil’s age and ability. At least four hundred of the six hundred hours shall occur at the regular home school location.
(3) The requirements of subdivision (2) of this subsection shall not apply to any pupil above the age of sixteen years.
3. Nothing in this section shall require a private, parochial, parish or home school to include in its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice in conflict with the school’s religious doctrines or to exclude from its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice consistent with the school’s religious doctrines. Any other provision of the law to the contrary notwithstanding, all departments or agencies of the state of Missouri shall be prohibited from dictating through rule, regulation or other device any statewide curriculum for private, parochial, parish or home schools.
4. A school year begins on the first day of July and ends on the thirtieth day of June following.
5. The production by a parent of a daily log showing that a home school has a course of instruction which satisfies the requirements of this section or, in the case of a pupil over the age of sixteen years who attended a metropolitan school district the previous year, a written statement that the pupil is attending home school in compliance with this section shall be a defense to any prosecution under this section and to any charge or action for educational neglect brought pursuant to chapter 210, RSMo.
6. As used in sections 167.031 to 167.051, the term “compulsory attendance age for the district” shall mean:
(1) Seventeen years of age for any metropolitan school district for which the school board adopts a resolution to establish such compulsory attendance age; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution is adopted; and
(2) Seventeen years of age or having successfully completed sixteen credits towards high school graduation in all other cases.
The school board of a metropolitan school district for which the compulsory attendance age is seventeen years may adopt a resolution to lower the compulsory attendance age to sixteen years; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution is adopted.
7. For purposes of subsection 2 of this section as applied in subsection 6 herein, a “completed credit towards high school graduation” shall be defined as one hundred hours or more of instruction in a course. Home school education enforcement and records pursuant to this section, and sections 210.167 and 211.031, RSMo, shall be subject to review only by the local prosecuting attorney.
(L. 1963 p. 200 § 8-3, A.L. 1977 H.B. 130, A.L. 1986 S.B. 795, A.L. 1990 S.B. 740, A.L. 1993 S.B. 380, A.L. 2004 S.B. 968 and S.B. 969, A.L. 2006 H.B. 1182, A.L. 2008 H.B. 1550, A.L. 2009 S.B. 291)
(Source: RSMo 1959 § 164.010)
CROSS REFERENCES:
Average daily attendance defined for apportionment of school money, RSMo 163.011
Provisions affecting metropolitan school district effective for school year beginning 2007-2008 and terminates after school year ending 2011-2012, RSMo 167.052
(2005) To be actionable, failure to cause child to attend school regularly must be done knowingly or purposely. State v. Self, 155 S.W.3d         756 (Mo.banc).
CROSS REFERENCES:
Average daily attendance defined for apportionment of school money, RSMo 163.011
Provisions affecting metropolitan school district effective for school year beginning 2007-2008 and terminates after school year ending 2011-2012, RSMo 167.052
(1995) This section, with section 160.051, establishes a property interest in certain education. State ex rel. Clint Yarber v. McHenry, 915 S.W.2d 325 (Mo.banc).
(2005) To be actionable, failure to cause child to attend school regularly must be done knowingly or purposely. State v. Self, 155 S.W.3d 756 (Mo.banc).

Pupils and Special Services
Section 167.042
http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/16700000421.html
Home school, declaration of enrollment, contents–filing with recorder of deeds or chief school officer–fee.
167.042. For the purpose of minimizing unnecessary investigations due to reports of truancy, each parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child who causes his child to attend regularly a home school may provide to the recorder of deeds of the county where the child legally resides, or to the chief school officer of the public school district where the child legally resides, a signed, written declaration of enrollment stating their intent for the child to attend a home school within thirty days after the establishment of the home school and by September first annually thereafter. The name and age of each child attending the home school, the address and telephone number of the home school, the name of each person teaching in the home school, and the name, address and signature of each person making the declaration of enrollment shall be included in said notice. A declaration of enrollment to provide a home school shall not be cause to investigate violations of section 167.031. The recorder of deeds may charge a service cost of not more than one dollar for each notice filed.
(L. 1986 S.B. 795 § 167.041)

Pupils and Special Services
Section 167.061
http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/16700000611.html
Penalty for violating compulsory attendance law.
167.061. Any parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of a child, who violates the provisions of section 167.031 is guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Upon conviction and pending any judicial appeal, the defendant shall be required to enroll the child in a public, private, parochial, parish or home school within three public school days, after which each successive school day shall constitute a separate violation of section 167.031. The fine or imprisonment, or both, may be suspended and finally remitted by the court, with or without the payment of costs, at the discretion of the court, if the child is immediately placed and kept in regular attendance at a public, private, parochial, parish or home school and if the fact of regular attendance is proved subsequently to the satisfaction of the court. A certificate stating that the child is regularly attending a public, private, parochial or parish school and properly attested by the superintendent, principal or person in charge of the school is prima facie evidence of regular attendance by the child.
(L. 1963 p. 200 § 8-6, A.L. 1986 S.B. 795)
(Source: RSMo 1959 § 164.060)
Effective 6-19-86

Pupils and Special Services
Chapter 167, Section 167.071
http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/16700000711.html
August 28, 2015
School attendance officers in seven-director districts, powers and duties–powers of police officers in certain areas.
167.071. 1. In school districts having seven or more directors the school board may appoint and remove at pleasure one or more school attendance officers and shall pay them from the public school funds.
2. Each attendance officer has the powers of a deputy sheriff in the performance of his duties. He shall investigate the claims of children for exemptions under section 167.031, and report his findings to the person authorized by that section to grant the exemption sought. He shall refer all cases involving an alleged violation of section 167.031 involving a public school to the superintendent of the public school of the district where the child legally resides and all cases involving an alleged violation of section 167.031 involving a private, parochial, parish or home school to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides. When reasonable doubt exists as to the age of any such child he may require a properly attested birth certificate or an affidavit stating the child’s age, date of birth, physical characteristics and bearing the signature of the child. He may visit and enter any mine, office, factory, workshop, business house, place of amusement, or other place in which children are employed or engaged in any kind of service, or any place or building in which children loiter or idle during school hours; may require a properly attested certificate of the attendance of any child at school; may arrest, without warrant, any truant, or nonattendants or other juvenile disorderly persons, and place them in some school or take them to their homes, or take them to any place of detention provided for neglected children in the county or school district. He shall serve in the cases which he prosecutes without additional fee or compensation. Each attendance officer appointed by a school board shall carry into effect the regulations lawfully prescribed by the board by which he was appointed.
3. In any urban school district, any metropolitan school district and in school districts having seven or more directors and which are located in a first class county having a charter form of government, any duly commissioned city or county police officer shall be ex officio school attendance officers. Any police officer exercising duties of ex officio school attendance officer need not refer any child apprehended pursuant to the provisions of this section to juvenile court or a juvenile officer, but nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the police officer’s regular powers and duties as a peace officer.
(L. 1963 p. 200 § 8-7, A.L. 1976 S.B. 636, A.L. 1977 H.B. 130, A.L. 1986 S.B. 795)
(Source: RSMo 1959 § 164.040)
Effective 6-19-86

Child Protection and Reformation
Chapter 210, Section 210.167
http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/21000001671.html
Report to school district on violations of compulsory school attendance law–referral by school district to prosecutor, when.
210.167. If an investigation conducted by the division of family services pursuant to section 210.145 reveals that the only basis for action involves a question of an alleged violation of section 167.031, RSMo, then the local office of the division shall send the report to the school district in which the child resides. The school district shall immediately refer all private, parochial, parish or home school matters to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides. The school district may refer public school violations of section 167.031, RSMo, to the prosecuting attorney.
(L. 1984 H.B. 1255 § 1, A.L. 1985 S.B. 154 merged with H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1986 S.B. 795)
Effective 6-19-86

If you are withdrawing your child from school, you may be asked to provide a formal, written notice.  FHE has a letter template which they recommend be used. See template. 

HSLDA provides a wide range of information regarding Missouri and Illinois law, as well as current legislative issues and court cases.  HSLDA

Specific legal questions regarding the interpretation of the law should be addressed by a Missouri licensed attorney. HSLDA has formal representation in each state and can legally opine on Missouri Law as well. There are summary analysis of the laws for both Missouri and Illinois at their site.

HSLDA advises what to do if an authority comes knocking at your door…….
Whether this be someone from DFS (the Department of Family Services) or from your local school district:

1. Do not let them into your home or allow them to talk to your children unless they have a court order signed by a judge.

2. Immediately ask for a business card. Check to confirm they are who they claim to be, and keep the card to give to your attorney. At this point you can ask them to wait outside while you call your attorney or HSLDA if you are a member.

3. Ask what the allegations are. HSLDA drafted and helped pass a federal law that requires social workers to disclose all allegations “at the initial time of contact.”

4. Tell them you will be glad to talk to them further but that they will need to make an appointment after you have spoken to your attorney.

5. If you are HSLDA members, HSLDA will talk to the social worker and set the boundaries for a future meeting with the parents in a neutral location. CPS will normally send a letter and “battle for your front door” to get in. The contact needs to be homeschool related.

6. Know you have a Fourth Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution to be free from unreasonable seizures and searches. This means you don’t have to let a social worker into your home without a court order or warrant. HSLDA successfully drafted and passed a federal amendment requiring all social workers in the country to be trained in their duty to protect your constitutional rights.

7. Bring a witness or tape recorder to all future contacts with social workers, and make sure meetings take place in a neutral location. Warning: every social worker situation is different, and social workers don’t always follow the law or their own procedures. It is best to immediately contact an attorney or HSLDA to get advice for your situation.

*** HSLDA only provides legal representation to members in good standing.

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