Pencils sitting on a notebook

If you are of school age, you have the right to attend public school in the school district where you live.  School age begins in the year in which a child turns six before September 1 and continues until the student reaches age twenty, or graduates from high school, whichever happens first.  For kindergarten the age is five.  Your right to a free public education cannot be taken away without due  process of law, which means fair procedures allowing you to answer any charges against you.  In other words, your school cannot suspend or expel you from school without giving you a chance to show that you don’t deserve the punishment.  Your right to fair procedures is explained under Student Discipline below.

Alaska law requires you to attend school from the time you are seven until you are sixteen years old.  If you are home-schooled, which means educated in your home by your parent or guardian, you are exempt from this attendance rule.  You and your parents are both responsible for making sure that you do attend school.  If you are less than seven or over sixteen, it is up to your parents whether you have to attend.

If you are seven through sixteen, and skip school without a valid reason, you are truant.  Truancy is a violation of Alaska law.   Some school districts enforce truancy rules more than others, but you may be subject to school discipline, including suspension or expulsion, if you skip school.   Adults who help or encourage students to be truant may face large fines and other legal charges.

Generally, absences are allowed for illness and medical appointments, and for justifiable personal reasons, such as a court appearance, or observance of a religious holiday.  An absence may be allowed if your parents ask permission ahead of time and the school approves.  Whether an absence is allowed will always depend on the specific facts and the judgment of your principal or superintendent.  Be sure you know your school’s procedure for reporting an excusable absence or asking for permission to miss school.

In some cases, yes.  Students attending private schools or correspondence programs, or who are home- schooled, often may enroll as part-time students in grades K-12. Part-time students must meet all conditions and terms of enrollment in courses that are met by full-time students, and may not be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities and athletics.