Barriers for the admission or readmission of some young people to public schools would be removed under legislation on its way to the governor’s desk.
The Louisiana Senate voted 31-0 giving the final okay to the House-passed measure.
Under House Bill 407, city, parish or other local public school boards could not deny admission or readmission if a student voluntarily withdrew from school, is pregnant, a parent or married.
The individual would have to live in the boundaries of the school system and meet school entrance requirements. In addition, they would have to be age 19 or younger on Sept. 30 of the calendar year in which the school year begins or age 20 on Sept. 30 and has sufficient credit to graduate within a year.
HB407 is sponsored by state Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge.
“It relates to aging out of high school,” said state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge. “A lot of these kids have to leave school for whatever reason. We all know the importance of finishing school.” He said getting an GED doesn’t work in a lot of circumstances.
State Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, said he wants school systems “to be very careful with this.”
Walsworth said it could result in a 21-year-old young man going to high school with a 13-year-old “young lady.”
“Some of our teachers are about the same age,” Walsworth said. “I do believe we should give this a chance, but I hope our principals and teachers who take care of our precious children key an eye on it.”
“It’s certainly something we should pay attention to,” said Claitor. “For the most part there won’t be that much contact.”