18th birthday determines dropout clout
My son just turned 18 a few weeks ago. He's still in high school but now says he's an adult, so is there a law that he has to finish high school? If not, they should make that a law. He wants his legal rights for being 18. Do we as parents have any say?
Answer: The way Hawaii's compulsory school attendance law is written, your son is required to finish the school year, according to the state Department of Education.
Section 302A-1132 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes says that "unless excluded from school or excepted from attendance," all children at least 6 years old and who do not turn 18 years old before Jan. 1 of any school year must attend public or private school.
(There are a number of exceptions noted in the law.)
That Jan. 1 provision is key.
If your son had turned 18 on Dec. 31, there would be no requirement that he finish high school, said DOE spokesman Greg Knudsen.
We asked what that means for someone like your son.
After double-checking with the state attorney general's office, Knudsen said, "The way the law is currently worded, if the person had not turned 18 until after Jan. 1, then the law states that that person should be enrolled in school."
Whether you, as parents, have any authority to make your son finish the school year is another matter, Knudsen noted, because the age of majority in Hawaii is 18.
Still, even if your son is now considered an adult, because of the way in which the compulsory school attendance law is written, he is "not just free to leave," he said.
Knudsen said he hopes your son can be persuaded to finish his schooling.
"Any student who has gotten this far has already invested nearly 13 years in education, and to leave that just a few weeks short without collecting the prize is not logical," he said.
The age of majority in Hawaii used to be 20.
After the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving 18-year-olds the right to vote, was passed in 1971, many states, including Hawaii, changed the age of majority to 18.
State law says, "All children during their minority shall obey the lawful commands of their parents, or, the lawful commands of their natural or adoptive parents, or of the guardians appointed according to law."
But when a child turns 18 in Hawaii, he or she "shall be regarded as of legal age and their period of minority to have ceased."
Everyone is talking about the bacteria that might be in the water and the sand in Waikiki and Ala Moana. How about checking the Nanakuli coastline? We have so many homeless people peeing and pooping all over the place. If my kids ever get sick, I'm going to sue the state for allowing the homeless to take over the area. -- Concerned Nanakuli Resident
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