Exit interviews required for high school dropouts

Students dropping out of high school will undergo an exit interview under a bill passed by the Legislature April 3.

Currently, a student may terminate school enrollment with the notarized consent of a parent or guardian at age 16. LB996, introduced by Lexington Sen. John Wightman, provides a mechanism for students wanting to drop out of school for financial or health reasons.

Any parent or legal guardian wishing to withdraw a student from school must notify the student’s school district. An exit interview will be conducted with the student, parent or legal guardian, superintendent and school principal.

The parent or guardian must provide evidence that the student is facing either a financial hardship that requires that the student be employed to support the student’s family or an illness making attendance impossible or improbable.

During the exit interview, the superintendent must provide information about alternative educational opportunities, reduced future earning potential and likelihood for unemployment for high school dropouts. If the parties wish to continue with the withdrawal, both the parent or legal guardian and the student must sign the withdrawal form.

Senators passed the bill on a 27-20 vote.

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