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Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement and Dropout Prevention

The Mississippi Department of Education, Office of Compulsory School Attendance, consists of the following services:

  • Dropout Prevention
  • Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement
  • Alternative Education/High School Equivalency
  • Foster Care
  • Home School
  • Juvenile Detention

Every absence, excused or unexcused, (including suspensions), is a learning opportunity lost and can have significant impacts on a student's success in school and life.  There are two laws from Mississippi Code, Title 37, that govern the attendance work of this office.

The Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement is responsible for ensuring that all Mississippi students are afforded the opportunity to attend school and to enforce the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law §37-13-91 of the Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated. The law governs compulsory school attendance. It requires a parent, legal guardian or custodian who has legal control or charge of a child age six (6) to seventeen (17) enroll him or her in an education program (i.e. public, private or home school). Student enrollment must occur except under the limited circumstances specified in subsection three (3) of §37-13-91 which includes, but are not limited to, sending the child to a state approved, nonpublic, or educating the child at home in an organized educational program. July 1, 2003, the law was amended to include the following: a child, five (5) years of age, who enrolls in public kindergarten, will have to abide by the same guidelines as outlined in §37-13-91.

In each school district within the state, School Attendance Officers are the resources of this office for ensuring the statute of the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law through adequately enforcing the provisions of the law. Mississippi Code §37-13-89  is the governing statute under which our SAO’s perform their duties.

Resources for Parents:  Why Attendance Matters