SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota lawmakers are considering a bill that would lower the age of children who must attend school.

Right now the law says anyone younger than 18 years old must be in class, but some lawmakers want to lower the age to 16 to protect teachers, administrators and other students.

The compulsory laws to attend school vary from state to state.

Right now in South Dakota, the law requires children between the ages of six and 18 to attend school, unless he or she has graduated.

But the prime sponsor of a bill would lower that age to 16.

“We’ve taken these near adults and put them in a classroom where they don’t want to be, clearly they don’t have families supporting them and encouraging them to be there and that’s not fair to the other 20 kids in the classroom, it’s not fair to the teachers,” State Senator Lee Schoenbeck said.

Senator Lee Schoenbeck says this bill will give teachers and administrators more options to protect students.

“Matter of fact a person has to watch about a week’s worth of KELOLAND evening news and every time you guys say ‘we can’t release the name of this person who shot somebody or assaulted somebody’ that’s the person we are requiring to be in the classroom with your kids,” Schoenbeck said.

The state of Nebraska requires children between seven and 16 to attend school, with a few exceptions.

For instance, children who graduate from high school early.

In Minnesota children between 7 and 17 years of age must receive instruction unless they have graduated.

And in Iowa children are required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 16, again with some exceptions.

Don Jorgensen: So it’s really about troubled kids.
Lee Schoenbeck: That’s the only people it affects and every one of them can go get a GED or go get a job or whatever they want, but if they are going to be a disruptive force to education and to the other 20 kids in the classroom why would you do that?

The bill was just introduced and is now sitting with the education committee waiting to be heard.