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COVID-19: What are the legal consequences of refusing to send my child to school?

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Summary

Legally, all children in B.C. must receive an education

As a parent, you do have some flexibility about what your child's education looks like

The province encourages you to enroll your children as you would normally, and have them attend classes

NEWS 1130 is working hard to get you the information you need about the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are responding to your questions in a segment we call NEWS 1130 Gets Answers.

Question: 

It’s probably a question a few of you have thought of as kids prepare to return to the classroom. A listener reached out to us wanting to know: What are the legal consequences of refusing to send my child to school, if I feel that their health and safety would be at risk?

Answer:

Legally, all children in B.C. must receive an education. But as a parent, you do have some flexibility about what that looks like.

The province encourages you to enroll your children as you would normally, and have them attend classes.

In a statement to NEWS 1130, the education ministry says school districts have flexibility to find options that work for families.

However, you can explore online or distributed learning if you’re concerned about your kids physically attending school. Those are available both within the public and private systems, and you can enroll your child in distributed schools outside your home district.

Distributed learning classes are offered at 56 public schools throughout the province, in addition to 16 independent schools.

There’s also the homeschooling option which is basically up to you — no requirements or inspections.

But even homeschooled children have to legally be registered with the province by Sept. 30.

Superintendents who receive a report of a child not registered for school of one form or another are legally obligated to investigate.

You can find more information on distributed learning here.

Additional information about homeschooling can be found here.

Got a question you want answered? Submit it here.