Private School Regulation


Recordkeeping/Reports: Each school superintendent of a private, parochial, or parish school must prepare a record showing the immunization status of every child enrolled. The superintendent must report the name of any parent or guardian who neglects or refuses to permit a nonexempt child to be immunized. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.181(4). Student immunization records may be disclosed without a parent/guardian's written authorization to individuals with a need to know as specified by statute, e.g. employees of public agencies and departments. Anyone releasing the information for any other purpose would be liable for damages. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.183.

Teacher Certification: The State Board of Education may refuse to issue or revoke a nonpublic school teacher's certificate upon conviction of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 168.071(2).

Curriculum: Private schools, except privately operated trade schools, must provide courses of instruction in the Constitution of the United States and of Missouri, American history and institutions. Instruction must begin not later than 7th grade and continue in high school to the extent determined by the Commissioner of Education. No pupil can receive a certificate of graduation from any private school, except private trade schools, without satisfactorily passing an examination on these subjects. The Commissioner will prescribe a list of suitable texts. These provisions do not apply to foreign exchange students. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 170.011.

Special Education: The Missouri Department of Education may assign severely handicapped children to a private agency when it is in the best interests of the child. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 162.735. Special educational services may be offered during the regular school day to children who attend private, parochial, and parish schools. Transportation is not required for these services. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 162.996.

Health: Students attending private, parochial, or parish schools must comply with the Department of Health regulations governing the immunization against poliomyelitis, rubella, rubeola, mumps and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. A student may not attend school unless he has been immunized, presents evidence of having begun the process, or is exempt. Students are exempt from immunization if a parent/guardian presents to the school administrator a written objection based on religious beliefs or a written statement from a licensed physician that the immunizations are medically contraindicated. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.181.

Safety: Private elementary and secondary schools may obtain information from Missouri's central registry of child abuse and neglect reports for information pertaining to employees and volunteers or prospective employees and volunteers who provide services or care for children. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 210.150(8).

Students, teachers and visitors are required to wear industrial quality eye protective devices for courses involving exposure to certain hazardous materials. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 170.005.

Private and parochial schools were required to examine their structures for friable asbestos and report the results to the Department of Health by March 1, 1987. Schools that have not completed their removal plan must reevaluate the material biennially and file a report with the Department. Schools that identified nonfriable asbestos must reevaluate the material every 3 years, file a report with the Department and make their findings available to its employees and the public. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 643.263.

Distribution of a controlled substance on or within 1000 feet of a private elementary or secondary school in Missouri is a felony. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 195.214.

"School-Based Nonviolent Conflict Resolution" materials developed by the Department of Health and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education can be made available to all schools, including private and parochial schools, and the general public. Mo. Rev. Stat. §170.046.

Home Schooling: Any parent may educate a child at home. The parent does not have to hold a teaching certificate or meet any education requirements. If a parent decides to home school, he or she must provide 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, such as reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours must be taught in the home location. Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.031

A parent who is home schooling a child must maintain the following records: a plan book, diary, daily log, or other written record indicating subjects taught and the activities engaged in with the student; a portfolio containing samples of the student?s academic work; and a record of evaluation of the student?s academic progress. Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.031

The parents may notify the superintendent of schools or the recorder of county deeds in the county where the parent resides of their intention to home school. This is done before September 1 annually. The law is permissive in the area of registering and does not mandate registration. Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.042.

If families are educating students of high school age and elect to re-enroll in the public schools, they need to be aware of the local board of education policies on accepting credit for students from unaccredited educational programs. There is no recognized high school diploma for home school students. Individuals who have been home schooled may take the high school equivalency exam to obtain their GED.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The Missouri Constitution provides "No person can be compelled to . . . support any . . . teacher of any sect." Missouri Const. Art. I § 6. The public school fund may not be used for any other purpose than establishing and maintaining free public schools. The Constitution further prohibits public aid to any private school controlled by any religious creed, church, or sectarian denomination. Missouri Const. Art. IX § 8.

The provision of textbooks to teachers in private schools violates the Missouri Constitution. Paster v. Tussey, 512 S.W. 2d.97 (Mo. 1974).

The provision of transportation of parochial school students by public school bus that also transported public school children violates the Missouri constitution. McVey v. Hawkins, 258 S.W.2d 927 (1953).

Missouri's Constitution notwithstanding, educationally deprived children attending nonpublic schools in Missouri are entitled to receive federal funds for special services comparable in quality, scope and opportunity to children in public schools. Barrera v. Wheeler, 475 F.2d 1388 (1973).

Missouri provides special services to children enrolled in nonpublic schools identified as having a high risk of dropping out of school. Services may include skills assessment, tutoring, academic and personal counseling, family counseling, home visits and staff development. Services must be provided at sites other than sectarian nonpublic schools. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.280.

Miscellaneous: Students in Missouri have the opportunity to enroll at public, private, parochial, parish, home schools or a combination of the above. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.031.

The chief school officer of a nonpublic school has a duty to provide students information on available financial assistance for post-secondary education. The Commissioner of Higher Education will provide nonpublic schools and their pupils with relevant information. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.278.

The construction of private schools in Greene County is not permitted in an airport zone. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 305.405(3).

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 1999 - This information is presented for research use only and should not be construed as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for further information.