Homeschooling in Montana

State Laws

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

Summaries and Explanations of Montana Homeschooling Laws Back to Top
Montana Home School Laws from HSLDA
HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Montana. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Montana.

Montana Statutes Back to Top
20-5-104. Attendance officer.
In order to enforce the compulsory attendance provisions of this title, each district shall have at least one person serving as an attendance officer according to the following requirements: (1) districts of the first and second class shall employ and appoint one or more attendance officers; (2) districts of the third class may employ and appoint an attendance officer or may appoint a constable or other peace officer as an attendance officer; or (3) the county superintendent shall be the attendance officer in third-class districts that do not appoint an attendance officer.
20-5-110. Assessment for placement of a child who enrolls from a nonaccredited, nonpublic school.
The trustees of a school district shall: (1) adopt a district policy on assessment for placement of any child who enrolls in a school of the district and whose previous place of instruction was a nonpublic school that is not accredited; (2) include in the adopted policy the following provisions: (a) the specific assessment for placement to be administered to any child subject to the provisions of subsection (1); (b) a procedure for grade and program placement of the child based on results of the assessment for placement, including considerations for the age and identified abilities of the child; and (c) a hearing process before the board of trustees of the district if the parent or guardian of a child is not in agreement with the placement of the child and requests a hearing before the board; and (3) administer the adopted policy required in subsection (1) in a uniform and fair manner.
20-5-109. Nonpublic school requirements for compulsory enrollment exemption.
To qualify its students for exemption from compulsory enrollment under 20-5-102, a nonpublic or home school shall: (1) maintain records on pupil attendance and disease immunization and make the records available to the county superintendent of schools on request; (2) provide at least 180 days of pupil instruction or the equivalent in accordance with 20-1-301 and 20-1-302; (3) be housed in a building that complies with applicable local health and safety regulations; (4) provide an organized course of study that includes instruction in the subjects required of public schools as a basic instructional program pursuant to 20-7-111; and (5) in the case of home schools, notify the county superintendent of schools, of the county in which the home school is located, in each school fiscal year of the student's attendance at the school.
20-5-102. Compulsory enrollment and excuses.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), any parent, guardian, or other person who is responsible for the care of any child who is 7 years of age or older prior to the first day of school in any school fiscal year shall cause the child to be instructed in the program prescribed by the board of public education pursuant to 20-7-111 until the later of the following dates: (a) the child's 16th birthday; (b) the date of completion of the work of the 8th grade. (2) A parent, guardian, or other person shall enroll the child in the school assigned by the trustees of the district within the first week of the school term or when he establishes residence in the district unless the child is: (a) enrolled in a school of another district or state under any of the tuition provisions of this title; (b) provided with supervised correspondence study or supervised home study under the transportation provisions of this title; (c) excused from compulsory school attendance upon a determination by a district judge that attendance is not in the best interest of the child; (d) excused by the board of trustees upon a determination that attendance by a child who has attained the age of 16 is not in the best interest of the child and the school; or (e) enrolled in a nonpublic or home school that complies with the provisions of 20-5-109. For the purposes of this subsection (e), a home school is the instruction by a parent of his child, stepchild, or ward in his residence and a nonpublic school includes a parochial, church, religious, or private school.
20-5-103. Compulsory attendance and excuses.
1) Except as provided in subsection (2), any parent, guardian, or other person who is responsible for the care of any child who is 7 years of age or older prior to the first day of school in any school fiscal year shall cause the child to attend the school in which he is enrolled for the school term and each school day therein prescribed by the trustees of the district until the later of the following dates: (a) the child's 16th birthday; (b) the date of completion of the work of the 8th grade. (2) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply in the following cases: (a) The child has been excused under one of the conditions specified in 20-5-102. (b) The child is absent because of illness, bereavement, or other reason prescribed by the policies of the trustees. (c) The child has been suspended or expelled under the provisions of 20-5-202.
20-5-111. Responsibilities and rights of parent who provides home school.
Subject to the provisions of 20-5-109, a parent has the authority to instruct his child, stepchild, or ward in a home school and is solely responsible for: (1) the educational philosophy of the home school; (2) the selection of instructional materials, curriculum, and textbooks; (3) the time, place, and method of instruction; and (4) the evaluation of the home school instruction.

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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