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Oklahoma Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Oklahoma. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Oklahoma.
Unschooling and The Law in Oklahoma
The Center for Unhindered Living
Homeschooling is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of Oklahoma, and by state statute. Oklahoma has placed very few legal restrictions on homeschooling, and as a result it is very easy to meet the state requirements. Parents can provide for their child any kind of education they choose.
40 O.S. 79
The age and schooling certificate shall be approved by the
principal, headmaster, or equivalent administrative officer of the
school which the child attends or should be attending or by one of
the child's parents if the child is being schooled at home, who
shall, for the purpose of this article, be empowered to administer an
oath. The principal, headmaster, or equivalent administrative
officer of the school which the child attends or should be attending
or by one of the child's parents if the child is being schooled at
home, shall approve such certificate only upon the application in
person of the child desiring employment accompanied by its parents,
guardian or custodian, and after having received, examined and
approved documentary evidence of age, showing that the child is
fourteen (14) years of age, or over, which evidence shall consist of
one of the following named proofs of age, duly attested, and the
proof accepted shall be specified in the certificate issued to the
child; the proof specified in subdivision (a) shall be required
first, but if this is not available then one of the proofs specified
in the succeeding subdivisions shall be required and in the order
designated until the age of the child be established, as follows:
(a) A birth certificate or transcript thereof issued by a
registrar of vital statistics or other officer charged with the duty
of recording births which certificate or transcript thereof shall be
prima facie evidence of the age of the child.
(b) A certificate of baptism or transcript thereof, showing the
date of birth and place of baptism of the child.
(c) A passport showing the age of the child; or a certificate of
arrival in the United States, issued by the United States immigration
officer and showing the age of the child; or a life insurance policy
at least one (1) year old showing the age of the child or other
credible evidence as may be approved by the Commissioner.
Every employment certificate shall be signed, in the presence of
the officer issuing the same by the child in whose name it is issued.
40 O.S. 80
The age and schooling certificate shall not be approved until the
parent or guardian of such child shall present a school attendance
certificate as hereinafter prescribed. A duplicate of such age and
schooling certificate shall be filled out and sent by the school
officer, before whom the same is made, to the Commissioner of Labor.
The blank forms for school attendance certificate and for the age and
schooling certificate shall be supplied to the principal, headmaster,
or equivalent administrative officer of the school or to one of the
child's parents if the child is being schooled at home by the State
Superintendent of Public Instruction as hereinafter indicated.
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE CERTIFICATE.
.................. (Name of School).
.................. (City and County).
This certifies that ................ (name of child) can read
and write and that according to the records of this school and in my
belief is now ............. (number of years and months) old, and has
attended school during the full school term of the preceding year.
.................. (Name of parent or guardian).
................. (Signature of teacher).
AGE AND SCHOOLING CERTIFICATE.
This certifies that I am .............. (father, mother or
guardian) of ........... (name of child) s.s.# ..............., and
that he (or she) was born at ............. (town or city),
.......... (county), .............. (state or country), on the
........ (day, month and year of birth), and is now ...............
(number of years and months old).
(Signature of parent or guardian).
.................... (City or town or county).
Personally appeared before me the above-mentioned ............
(name of person signing), and made oath that the foregoing
certificate is true to the best of his (or her) knowledge and belief.
I hereby approve the foregoing certificate of ............. (name
of child), height ............. (feet and inches), weight
........... (pounds), complexion ........... (fair or dark), hair
............. (color), eyes .......... (color), having no
sufficient reason to doubt that he (or she) is of the age therein
OWNER OF CERTIFICATE.
This certificate belongs to ............. (name of child), and
is to be surrendered to him (or her) whenever he (or she) leaves the
service of the employer holding the same, but if not claimed by said
child within thirty days after leaving said service, shall be sent to
the Commissioner of Labor.
(Signature of officer, with name of city,
town or county, and date.)
47 O.S. 6-107.3
A. The Department of Public Safety shall deny a license,
restricted license, or instruction permit for the operation of a
motor vehicle to any person under eighteen (18) years of age who does
not, at the time of application, present documentation that such
1. a. is a student enrolled in a public or private secondary
school, including any area vocational-technical school,
of this state or any other state,
b. has received a diploma or certificate of completion
issued to the person from a secondary school of this
state or any other state,
c. is enrolled and making satisfactory progress in a
program leading to a Certificate of High School
Equivalency issued by the State Department of
Education, or has obtained such certificate,
d. is excused from such requirement pursuant to a lawful
excuse as defined in subsection G of this section or
due to circumstances beyond the control of the person,
e. is excused from such requirement pursuant to subsection
C of this section; and
2. Has successfully passed the criterion-referenced reading test
required for all eighth grade students or an alternative reading
proficiency test approved by the State Department of Education
pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of this act demonstrating
reading proficiency at the eighth-grade reading level, unless such
student is excused from such requirement pursuant to the provisions
of Section 3 of this act.
Provided, during the summer months when school is not in regular
session, as established by the school district pursuant to Section 1-
109 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes, persons under eighteen (18)
years of age may satisfy the documentation requirement of this
subsection by providing a notarized written statement from the
parent, custodial parent or legal guardian of the child to the
Department of Public Safety that the child completed the immediately
previous school year and is enrolled or intends to enroll for the
immediately subsequent school year. The documentation shall be
signed by the parent, custodial parent or legal guardian.
B. 1. A student under eighteen (18) years of age who is
receiving education by other means, including education at home
pursuant to Section 4 of Article XIII of the Oklahoma Constitution,
shall satisfy the documentation requirement of paragraph 1 of
subsection A of this section by providing a written statement from
the parent, custodial parent, or legal guardian of the student to the
Department of Public Safety attesting that the child is receiving
instruction by other means pursuant to Section 4 of Article XIII of
the Oklahoma Constitution. The documentation shall be signed by the
parent, custodial parent, or legal guardian.
2. Any person who falsifies the information required in such
documentation, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
C. 1. A student under eighteen (18) years of age, who does not
meet the requirements of subparagraphs a through c of paragraph 1 of
subsection A of this section or the requirements of subsection B of
this section, may retain or be issued a driver license if:
a. the student is employed at least twenty-four (24) hours
per week, and
b. the student's employer verifies such employment on a
form prescribed by the Department of Public Safety.
2. Any student who has retained or been issued a driver license
pursuant to this subsection who leaves such employment shall have
fifteen (15) days from the date of termination of employment to
provide verification of employment from a new employer.
3. Any employer who falsifies a verification of employment shall
be subject to an administrative fine of not more than Fifty Dollars
($50.00), to be assessed by the Department of Public Safety.
D. 1. School district attendance officers, upon request, shall
provide a documentation of enrollment status form, established and
approved by the Department of Public Safety, to any student under
eighteen (18) years of age who is properly enrolled in a school for
which the attendance officer is responsible, for presentation to the
Department of Public Safety upon application for or reinstatement of
an instruction permit, restricted license, or license to operate a
2. Except as provided in subsection E of this section, whenever
a student over fourteen (14) years of age and under eighteen (18)
years of age withdraws from school, the attendance officer shall
notify the Department of Public Safety of such withdrawal through a
documentation of enrollment status form.
3. Within fifteen (15) working days of the receipt of such
notice, the Department of Public Safety shall provide written notice
to the student, by first class, postage prepaid mail, that the
student's license will be canceled, or the driver license application
of the student will be denied thirty (30) days following the date the
notice to the student was sent, unless documentation of compliance
with the provisions of this section is received by the Department of
Public Safety before such time. After the thirty-day period, the
Department of Public Safety shall cancel the driving privileges of
E. When the withdrawal from school of a student is:
1. Due to circumstances beyond the control of the student;
2. Pursuant to any lawful excuse; or
3. For the purpose of transfer to another school, including
education at home pursuant to Section 4 of Article XIII of the
Oklahoma Constitution, as confirmed in writing by a parent, custodial
parent, or legal guardian of the student,
no notice as required by subsection D of this section shall be sent
to the Department of Public Safety, or, if sent, such notice shall be
disregarded by the Department of Public Safety. If the student is
applying for a license, restricted license, or instruction permit,
the attendance officer shall provide the student with documentation
to present to the Department of Public Safety to excuse the student
from the requirements of this section.
F. Every school district shall, upon request, provide
documentation of reading proficiency for any student enrolled in such
school district by certifying passage of a reading examination
pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of this act.
G. As used in this section:
1. "Withdrawal" means more than ten (10) consecutive days, or
parts of days, of unexcused absences or fifteen (15) days, or parts
of days, total unexcused absences during a single semester;
2. "Lawful excuse" means absence from school pursuant to any
valid physical or mental illness or pursuant to any legal excuse as
provided in Section 10-105 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes;
provided, however, the meaning of such term shall not include
3. "Circumstances beyond the control of the person" shall not
include marriage, suspension or expulsion from school, or
imprisonment in a jail, penitentiary or other correctional
4. "Documentation of enrollment status form" means the document
established and approved by the Department of Public Safety to
substantiate information concerning a student's eligibility to apply
for or to retain a license or permit to drive. Such documentation
shall not include any information which is considered an education
record pursuant to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, 20
U.S.C., Sections 1232g through 1232i, unless compliance is made with
the restrictions regarding disclosure of the information; and
5. "Documentation of reading proficiency" means information
provided by a school authorized by subsection B of Section 3 of this
act to certify a student's eligibility to apply for a license or
permit based on passage of a reading proficiency test approved by the
State Department of Education, or pursuant to the alternative
documentation criteria provided in subsection C of Section 3 of this
act. Such documentation shall not include any information which is
considered an education record pursuant to the Family Education
Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C., Sections 1232g through 1232i,
unless compliance is made with the restrictions regarding disclosure
of the information.
H. The provisions of this section shall be inapplicable with
respect to any minor upon whom rights of majority have been conferred
pursuant to Sections 91 through 94 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma
I. The Department of Public Safety shall establish and approve
documentation forms and certificates required by this section for use
by school districts to comply with the provisions of this section.
Upon establishment and approval of such forms and certificates, the
Department of Public Safety shall notify each school district and the
State Board of Education of the content thereof.
70 O.S. 10-105
A. It shall be unlawful for a parent, guardian, or other person
having custody of a child who is over the age of five (5) years, and
under the age of eighteen (18) years, to neglect or refuse to cause
or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some
public, private or other school, unless other means of education are
provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session
or the child is excused as provided in this section. One-half (1/2)
day of kindergarten shall be required of all children five (5) years
of age or older unless the child is excused from kindergarten
attendance as provided in this section. A child who is five (5)
years of age shall be excused from kindergarten attendance until the
next school year after the child is six (6) years of age if a parent,
guardian, or other person having custody of the child notifies the
superintendent of the district where the child is a resident by
certified mail prior to enrollment in kindergarten, or at any time
during the first school year that the child is required to attend
kindergarten pursuant to this section, of election to withhold the
child from kindergarten until the next school year after the child is
six (6) years of age. A kindergarten program shall be directed
toward developmentally appropriate objectives for such children. The
program shall require that any teacher employed on and after January
1, 1993, to teach a kindergarten program within the public school
system shall be certified in early childhood education. All teachers
hired to teach a kindergarten program within the public school system
prior to January 1, 1993, shall be required to obtain certification
in early childhood education on or before the 1996-97 school year in
order to continue to teach a kindergarten program.
B. It shall be unlawful for any child who is over the age of
sixteen (16) years and under the age of eighteen (18) years, and who
has not finished four (4) years of high school work, to neglect or
refuse to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or
other school, or receive an education by other means for the full
term the schools of the district are in session.
Provided, that this section shall not apply:
1. If any such child is prevented from attending school by
reason of mental or physical disability, to be determined by the
board of education of the district upon a certificate of the school
physician or public health physician, or, if no such physician is
available, a duly licensed and practicing physician;
2. If any such child is excused from attendance at school, due
to an emergency, by the principal teacher of the school in which such
child is enrolled, at the request of the parent, guardian, custodian
or other person having control of such child;
3. If any such child who has attained his or her sixteenth
birthday is excused from attending school by written, joint agreement
a. the school administrator of the school district where
the child attends school, and
b. the parent, guardian or custodian of the child.
Provided, further, that no child shall be excused from
attending school by such joint agreement between a
school administrator and the parent, guardian or
custodian of the child unless and until it has been
determined that such action is for the best interest of
the child and/or the community, and that said child
shall thereafter be under the supervision of the
parent, guardian or custodian until the child has
reached the age of eighteen (18) years; or
4. If any such child is excused pursuant to subsection C of this
C. A school district shall excuse a student from attending
school for the purpose of observing religious holy days if before the
absence, the parent, guardian, or person having custody or control of
the student submits a written request for the excused absence. The
school district shall excuse a student pursuant to this subsection
for the days on which the religious holy days are observed and for
the days on which the student must travel to and from the site where
the student will observe the holy days.
D. It shall be the duty of the attendance officer to enforce the
provisions of this section. Any parent, guardian, custodian, child
or other person violating any of the provisions of this section, upon
conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished
by a fine of not less than Five Dollars ($5.00) nor more than Twenty-
five Dollars ($25.00) for the first offense, not less than Ten
Dollars ($10.00) nor more than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) for the second
offense, and not less than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) nor more than
One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for each subsequent offense. Each day
the child remains out of school after the oral and documented or
written warning has been given to the parent, guardian, custodian,
child or other person or the child has been ordered to school by the
juvenile court may constitute a separate offense. At the trial of
any person charged with violating the provisions of this section, the
attendance records of the child or ward may be presented in court by
any authorized employee of the school district.
70 O.S. 10-109
A. An attendance officer, any school administrator, or designee
of the school administrator who is employed by the school, or any
peace officer may, except for children being home schooled pursuant
to Section 10-105 of the Oklahoma Statutes, temporarily detain and
assume temporary custody of any child subject to compulsory full-time
education, during hours in which school is actually in session, who
is found away from the home of such child and who is absent from
school without lawful excuse within the school district that such
attendance officer, peace officer or school official serves, if said
school district has previously approved the temporary detention and
custody pursuant to this section.
B. Any person temporarily detaining and assuming temporary
custody of a child pursuant to this section shall immediately deliver
the child either to the parent, guardian, or other person having
control or custody of the child, or to the school from which the
child is absent without valid excuse, or to a nonsecure youth service
or community center servicing the school district.
C. The temporary custody or detention provided by this section
shall be utilized as a means of reforming and returning the truant
students to school and shall not be used as a pretext for
investigating criminal matters. The temporary custody or detention
herein provided is a severely limited type of detention and is not
justified unless there are specific facts causing an attendance
officer or other authorized person to reasonably suspect that a
truancy violation is occurring and that the person the officer
intends to detain is a truant.
70 O.S. 11-103
A. Courses of instruction approved by the State Board of
Education for use in school years prior to 1993-94 shall be those
courses that are necessary to ensure:
1. The teaching of the necessary basic skills of learning and
communication, including reading, English, writing, the use of
numbers and science; and
2. The teaching of citizenship in the United States, in the
State of Oklahoma, and in other countries, through the study of the
United States Constitution, the amendments thereto, and the ideals,
history, and government of the United States, other countries of the
world, and the State of Oklahoma and through the study of the
principles of democracy as they apply in the lives of citizens. In
study of the United States Constitution, a written copy of the
document itself shall be utilized.
The public school districts of this state shall ensure that each
child enrolled therein is provided with adequate instruction in the
basic skills as set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this subsection.
Each local board of education shall annually evaluate the district's
curriculum in order to determine whether each child in the district
is receiving adequate basic skill instruction as set out in
paragraphs 1 and 2 of this subsection. The evaluation process shall
provide for parental involvement. Effective July 1, 1990, each
district shall submit its annual evaluation of the district's
curriculum to the State Board of Education. The State Board shall
make this information available to the Oklahoma Curriculum Committee
and, beginning with the 1996-97 school year, shall utilize such
information in its periodic evaluation of curriculum.
B. Courses approved by the State Board of Education for
instruction of pupils in the public schools of the state for use in
school years prior to 1993-94 may include courses that are approved
by a local board of education and are necessary to ensure:
1. The teaching of health through the study of proper diet, the
effects of alcoholic beverages, narcotics and other substances on the
human system and through the study of such other subjects as will
promote healthful living and help to establish proper health habits
in the lives of school children;
2. The teaching of safety through training in the driving and
operation of motor vehicles and such other devices of transportation
as may be desirable and other aspects of safety which will promote
the reduction of accidents and encourage habits of safe living among
3. The teaching of physical education to all physically able
students during the entire school year from first through sixth
grade, through physical education, a weekly minimum of seventy-five
(75) minutes per student, exclusive of recess activity, supervised
play, intramurals, interschool athletics or other extracurricular
activities; provided, any student participating as a member of any
school athletic team shall be excused from physical education
classes; provided further, that certified physical education
instructors shall not be required to administer the programs required
for grades one through six. An elective program of instructional
physical education designed to provide a minimum of one hundred fifty
(150) minutes per week per student shall be provided for all students
in the seventh grade through the twelfth grade. The State Board of
Education shall prescribe qualifications for physical education
instructors. Provided, however, that the State Department of
Education shall be empowered to exempt all or a portion of this
requirement if an undue hardship would result to the school district.
Provided, further, that any student who has exceptional talent in
music may, with the approval of the superintendent of schools in
independent districts or in elementary districts, substitute a course
in music for the above-required physical education course;
4. The teaching of the conservation of natural resources of the
state and the nation that are necessary and desirable to sustain life
and contribute to the comfort and welfare of the people now living
and those who will live here in the future, such as soil, water,
forests, minerals, oils, gas, all forms of wildlife, both plant and
animal, and such other natural resources as may be considered
desirable to study;
5. The teaching of vocational education, by the study of the
various aspects of agriculture, through courses and farm youth
organizations, such as FFA and 4-H clubs, homemaking and home
economics, trades and industries, distributive education, mechanical
and industrial arts and such other aspects of vocational education as
will promote occupational competence among school children and adults
as potential and actual citizens of the state and nation; and
6. The teaching of such other aspects of human living and
citizenship as will achieve the legitimate objectives and purposes of
Section XIII-4: Compulsory school attendance.
The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.
Attorney General of Oklahoma - Opinion 73-129 (1973)
An Attorney General's Opinion, No. 73-129, was issued in response to four questions submitted by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In it, the Constitution, the Statutes, and several court cases were quoted to answer the Superintendent's questions.
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."