Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Perverse Effects of Over-broad Prohibitions on Dropping Out of High School

On July 1, a new Kentucky law went into effect that raised the school dropout age from 16 to 18.  While the purpose of the law is to increase the percentage of students who graduate from high school, the law is set to have several negative unintended consequences, according to locate advocates and legislators.  State Senator Tom Buford pointed out that the law would require current dropouts to return to high school even if they are currently close to earning a GED.  They would not be able to take the GED exam until after they turn 18.

Another troubling effect is on young women with children who might have been pursuing GEDs but will be forced to return to school. Buford has called for providing day care for those mothers, which the current law completely overlooks. 

Children who do not comply with the law will be subject to juvenile detention, placing them alongside other youth facing prosecution in adult court on serious felony crimes. Rebecca Ballard DiLoreto, director of litigation for the Children’s Law Center expressed serious concern over this possibility and noted that there are advocates for children who are considering litigation regarding this law.

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