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Proposal Would Raise Drop-Out Age

Destin High School
Jennie McKeon
WUWF Public Media

State Rep. Kevin Chambliss, D-Homestead, has filed a proposal that would raise the age for Florida students to be allowed to drop out of high school.

Currently, students must be at least 16 years old to leave school, but Chambliss' measure (HB 125) would increase the age to 18. The proposal has been filed for consideration during the 2022 legislative session that begins Jan. 11.

“Here in the state of Florida, legally, at the age of 16, our kids with just a piece of paper filled out and signed, they can technically leave school,” Chambliss told reporters during a press conference Monday.

Under current law, students age 16 and older can file a "formal declaration of intent to terminate school enrollment" with the local school board. The declaration must be signed by the student and his or her parent. Chambliss’ proposal would eliminate the requirement that parents' sign off on the declarations.

The bill also would eliminate a requirement that a school district notify the parent if a student decides to drop out. Chambliss said Monday that the change would bring Florida “up to speed” with what he said is a current policy in a majority of other states.

“Over 40 states already have an age that’s higher than 16 as we speak. We were lagging behind on that particular issue, so this brings us up to speed on what the rest of the nation already knows, that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” Chambliss said.

Chambliss said that Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, will file a companion bill in the Senate.

News Service of Florida