Homeschooling in South Dakota

State Laws

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South Dakota Laws Regulating Home Education
 Summaries and Explanations of South Dakota Homeschooling Laws
 South Dakota Statutes
 Case Law & Legal Opinions

Summaries and Explanations of South Dakota Homeschooling Laws Back to Top
Department of Education Responsibilities
An interpretation of the homeschooling laws by the South Dakota Department of Education.
Parent Responsibilities
An interpretation of the homeschooling laws by the South Dakota Department of Education.
Participation of Home School/Alternative Instruction Students in Interscholastic Activities
An interpretation of the homeschooling laws by the South Dakota Department of Education.
School District Responsibilities
An interpretation of the homeschooling laws by the South Dakota Department of Education.
South Dakota Home School Laws from HSLDA
HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in South Dakota. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in South Dakota.

South Dakota Statutes Back to Top
13-27-3.1. Birth certificate or affidavit to be submitted--Violation as misdemeanor.
Any person who is required pursuant to § 13-27-1 to cause any child to attend any public or nonpublic school or alternative instruction program pursuant to § 13-27-3 in this state shall, either at the time of enrollment in any school in this state or upon being excused from school attendance pursuant to § 13-27-3 or within thirty days of initial enrollment or excuse, provide the public or nonpublic school or the alternative instruction program with a certified copy of the child's birth certificate or affidavit in lieu of birth certificate as issued by the Department of Health in such cases where the original birth certificate is deemed unattainable. Any parent or guardian who requests an excuse for his or her child pursuant to § 13-27-3, shall with the initial request for excuse, provide a certified copy of the child's birth certificate or an affidavit notarized or witnessed by two or more witnesses, swearing or affirming that the child identified on the request for excuse is the same person appearing on the child's certified birth certificate. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
13-27-3.3. Report to district school board of children for whom birth certificate not furnished--Board to notify state's attorney.
The superintendent of any public or nonpublic school or any person who provides alternative instruction in this state who maintains a child's permanent cumulative school record shall within thirty days of enrollment report to the school board of the district the name and address of any child whose permanent cumulative record does not have a copy of a certified birth certificate in violation of § 13-27-3.1 or 13-27-3.2. If the violation is not corrected within thirty days after the report, the school board of the district shall notify the state's attorney.
13-27-1. Responsibility of person controlling child--Ages of compulsory attendance--Entire school term--Waiver.
Responsibility of person controlling child for school attendance--General education development test preparation program--Kindergarten--Transfer from another state. Any person having control of a child, who is not younger than five or older than six years old by the first day of September, or any child who, by the first day of September, is at least six years old, but who has not exceeded the age of eighteen, shall cause the child to regularly attend some public or nonpublic school for the entire term during which the public school in the district in which the person resides, or the school to which the child is assigned to attend, is in session, until the child reaches the age of eighteen years, unless the child has graduated or is excused as provided in this chapter. However, the requirements of this section are met if a child who is at least sixteen years of age enrolls in a general education development test preparation program that is school-based or for which a school contracts and the child successfully completes the test or reaches the age of eighteen years. A child is eligible to enroll in a school-based or school-contracted general education development test preparation program or take the general education development test if the child is sixteen or seventeen years of age, and the child presents written permission from the child's parent or guardian and one of the following: (1) Verification from a school administrator that the child will not graduate with the child's cohort class because of credit deficiency; (2) Authorization from a court services officer; (3) A court order requiring the child to enter the program; (4) Verification that the child is under the direction of the Department of Corrections; or (5) Verification that the child is enrolled in Job Corps as authorized by Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, as amended to January 1, 2009. Any child who is sixteen or seventeen years of age and who completes the general education development test preparation program may take the general education development test immediately following release from the school program or when ordered to take the test by a court. Any such child who fails to successfully complete the test shall re-enroll in the school district and may continue the general education development preparation program or other suitable program as determined by the school district. All children shall attend kindergarten prior to age seven. Any child who transfers from another state may proceed in a continuous educational program without interruption if the child has not previously attended kindergarten.
13-27-1.1. Religious exemption after eighth grade.
A child of compulsory school age who has successfully completed the first eight grades is excused from compulsory school attendance under § 13-27-1 if: (1) The child or the parents of the child are members of a recognized church or religious denomination that objects to the regular public high school education; and (2) The recognized church or religious denomination either individually or in cooperation with another recognized church or religious denomination provides a regularly supervised program of instruction in which each child participates in learning activities appropriate to the adult occupation that the child is likely to assume in later years.
13-27-2. Child excused from school.
Upon filing of an application with a school official from the parent or guardian of the child for the reasons set forth in § 13-27-3, the child shall be excused, without the necessity of school board action, subject to revocation thereafter as provided in this chapter. School boards of all school districts may excuse a child from public school attendance for the reasons set forth in §§ 13-27-6 and 13-27-6.1.
13-27-20. Complaints against persons responsible for truancy--Contents of complaint-- Verification.
Each truancy officer shall make and file truancy complaints, and any teacher, school officer, or any citizen may make and file a truancy complaint, before a circuit court judge, against any person having control of a child of compulsory school age who is not attending school or whose attendance is irregular. The complaint shall state the name of the parent, guardian, or person responsible for the control of the child. The complaint shall be verified by oath upon belief of the complainant.
13-27-29. Placement of child who has attended unaccredited school or alternative program-- Appeal.
If a child of compulsory school age has been attending an unaccredited school in another state or country or has been receiving alternative instruction pursuant to § 13-27-3 enrolls in a public school in this state, the child shall be placed at the child's demonstrated level of proficiency as established by one or more standardized tests. However, a child's placement may not be in a grade level higher than warranted by the child's chronological age assuming entry into the first grade at age six and annual grade advancement thereafter. After initial placement the child may be advanced according to his demonstrated performance. If a child of secondary school age has been attending an unaccredited school in another state or country or has been receiving alternative instruction pursuant to § 13-27-3 enrolls in a public school in this state, the child shall be placed in English and math at the level of achievement demonstrated by one or two standardized tests, and in all other subjects on a review of transcripts according to the policy formally adopted by the school board. The child's placement may not be in a grade level higher than warranted by the child's chronological age assuming entry into the first grade at age six and annual grade advancement thereafter. After initial placement the child may be advanced according to his demonstrated performance. Any parent or guardian who is dissatisfied with the secondary placement of his child may appeal it to the secretary of the Department of Education.
13-27-3. Child excused if provided alternative instruction--Application--Investigation-- Revocation--Restrictions--Testing.
A child shall be excused from school attendance, pursuant to § 13-27-2, because the child is otherwise provided with alternative instruction for an equivalent period of time, as in the public schools, in the basic skills of language arts and mathematics. The parent or guardian of the child shall identify in the application the place where the child will be instructed and any individual who will instruct the child. The individuals are not required to be certified. The secretary of the Department of Education may investigate and determine whether the instruction is being provided. Failure to provide instruction is grounds for the school board, upon thirty days' notice, to revoke the excuse from school attendance. The secretary of the Department of Education may inspect the records of an alternative education program with fourteen days' written notice if the secretary has probable cause to believe the program is not in compliance with this section. The records to be inspected are limited to attendance and evidence showing academic progress. No individual may instruct more than twenty-two children. All instructions shall be given so as to lead to a mastery of the English language. Children receiving alternative instruction who are in grades two, four, eight, and eleven shall take a nationally standardized achievement test of the basic skills. The test may be the test provided by the state and used in the public school district where the child is instructed or another nationally standardized achievement test chosen by and provided at the expense of the child's parent, guardian, or school giving alternative instruction. The test may be monitored by the local school district where the child is instructed.
13-27-3.2. Maintenance of birth certificate by school as permanent record.
Any copy of any certified birth certificate provided pursuant to § 13-27-3.1 shall be maintained by the public or nonpublic school or alternative instruction program and shall be a part of the child's permanent cumulative school record.
13-27-3.4. Certified copy of birth certificate to be provided to certain persons at no cost.
Notwithstanding § 34-25-52, the department of health or the local registrar of vital records shall provide a certified copy of any child's birth certificate at no cost if the person requesting the certificate pursuant to § 13-27-3.1 is eligible to receive temporary assistance for needy families under chapter 28-7, food stamps under chapter 28-12, or county poor relief under chapter 28-13. Source: SL 1988, ch 142, § 4.
13-27-7. Applications for excuse from attendance--Certificate issued by board president-- Revocation--Grounds.
All applications for excuse from school attendance shall be on a standard form acknowledged before a notary or two witnesses. The form shall be provided by the secretary of the Department of Education. If the application is granted, a certificate of excuse also provided by the secretary of the Department of Education shall be issued by the president of the school board having jurisdiction over the district in which the child has school residence. The certificate of excuse shall be for a period not to exceed one year and shall state the reason for the excuse is that the child will receive alternative instruction. Upon a showing by the secretary of the Department of Education that a child excused from school attendance pursuant to § 13-27-3 is not being instructed in compliance with § 13-27-3, the school board may immediately revoke the child's certificate of excuse. All test scores required by § 13-27-3 shall be kept on file in the public school of the district where the child has school residence. If subsequent achievement test results reveal less than satisfactory academic progress in the child's level of achievement, the school board may refuse to renew the child's certificate of excuse.
13-27-9. Record of certificates of excuse from attendance--Copies to secretary and place of instruction.
A permanent record of all certificates of excuse shall be kept in some safe place as determined by the school board. Any certificate of excuse of a pupil receiving alternative instruction pursuant to § 13-27-3 shall be kept confidential after approval of the school board pursuant to § 13- 27-2. Copies of any certificate of excuse shall be forwarded to the secretary of the Department of Education. Copies of any certificates of excuse shall also be forwarded to the place where the child is instructed. The copies shall be forwarded within thirty days of issuance.

Case Law & Legal Opinions Back to Top
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."


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