State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in New Jersey and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Summaries and Explanations of New Jersey Homeschooling Laws
New Jersey Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in New Jersey. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in New Jersey.
Homeschooling Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ list is provided by the New Jersey Department of Education. In New Jersey, the Legislature under the compulsory education law (N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25) has permitted children to receive "equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school," including the home. These homeschooling questions and answers are intended to assist parent(s)/guardian(s)and public school districts in dealing with issues that frequently arise in this context.
What the Law Says About Homeschooling
New Jersey law states that “parents have a constitutional rite to choose the type and character of education they feel is best suited for their children.” To comply with this law, homeschooling parents must insure that all children between the ages of six and sixteen receive instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools.
New Jersey Statutes Pertaining to Home Education
18A:38-29. Warning and arrest of vagrants or habitual truants.
The attendance officer shall examine into all violations of this article, shall warn any child violating any of the provisions of this article and the parent, guardian or other person having charge and control of the child of the consequences of the violation if persisted in, and shall notify such person in writing to cause the child to attend school within five days from the date on which notice is served, and regularly thereafter. The attendance officer shall have full police power to enforce the provisions of this article and may arrest without warrant any vagrant child or habitual truant or any child who is habitually incorrigible or who is vicious or immoral in conduct or illegally absent from school.
18A:38-26. Days when attendance required; exceptions.
Such regular attendance shall be during all the days and hours that the public schools are in session in the district, unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the board of education of the district that the mental condition of the child is such that he cannot benefit from instruction in the school or that the bodily condition of the child is such as to prevent his attendance at school, but nothing herein shall be construed as permitting the temporary or permanent exclusion from school by the board of education of any district of any child between the ages of five and 20, except as explicitly otherwise provided by law.
18A:38-28. Truants; return to parents or school.
Any attendance officer who shall find any child between six and 16 years of age who is a truant from school, shall take the child and deliver him to the parent, guardian or other person having charge and control of the child, or to the teacher of the school which such child is lawfully required to attend.
18A:38-31. Failure to comply with provisions of article; fine.
A parent, guardian or other person having charge and control of a child between the ages of 6 and 16 years, who shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of this article relating to his duties, shall be deemed to be a disorderly person and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $25.00 for a first offense and not more than $100.00 for each subsequent offense, in the discretion of the court. In any such proceeding, the summons issuing therein, or in special circumstances a warrant, shall be directed to the alleged disorderly person and the child.
18A:38-27. Truancy and juvenile delinquency defined.
Any child between the ages of six and 16 years who shall repeatedly be absent from school, and any child of such age found away from school during school hours whose parent, guardian or other person having charge and control of the child is unable to cause him to attend school and any pupil who is incorrigible, actually vagrant, vicious, or immoral in conduct, shall be deemed to be a juvenile delinquent and shall be proceeded against as such.
18A:38-25 Attendance required of children between six and 16; exceptions.
Every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between the ages of six and 16 years shall cause such child regularly to attend the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.
Home School Laws from HSLDA
Find the laws pertaining to home education for all 50 states and U.S. territories.
18A:38-30. Assistance of sheriffs, police officers, etc.
The sheriff and his officers and all police officers and constables shall assist attendance officers in the performance of their duties.
Case Law and Legal Opinions
State v. Massa (1967)
In court, the parents were charged with failing to cause the child to attend school under the compulsory education law. The only issue before the court was whether the parents were providing equivalent instruction. The court held that the language under the compulsory education law, providing for equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school, required showing only academic equivalency and not equivalency of social development derived from group education. In educating the child at home, the parents were required to show only that "the instruction was academically equivalent to that provided in the local public school."
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."
Government Publications
State Regulation of Private Schools
A summary of the regulations governing private schools in New Jersey. This is a U.S. Department of Education publication.
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