§431.1. School attendance as condition of driving privileges; authorized local policy
A. Definitions. As used in this Section, the following terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) "Appropriate authority" means any of the following persons:
(a) A school principal or headmaster or his designee.
(b) In the case of a home school program, the parent.
(c) The adult education supervisor of the adult education program or his designee.
(2) "Department" means the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
(3)(a) "Dropout" means a person, fifteen years of age or older but less than eighteen years old, who was enrolled in a school and withdrew or who was enrolled at the end of the previous school year and is not enrolled on October first of the following school year or who has more than ten consecutive days of unexcused absences from school or fifteen days total unexcused absences during a single semester.
(b) "Dropout" does not mean a person who:
(i) Is temporarily absent due to illness, suspension, or expulsion.
(ii) Is attending or has graduated or completed another educational program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
(iii) Transferred to a nonpublic school, a correctional institution, or an approved home school program or moved out of state.
(4) "Habitually absent or tardy" is when either condition continues to exist after all reasonable efforts by a principal or other appropriate authority have failed to correct the condition after the fifth unexcused absence or fifth unexcused occurrence of being tardy within any month or if a pattern of five absences a month is established or as otherwise provided in R.S. 17:233.
(5) "Minor" means an unemancipated child who is at least fifteen years of age but less than eighteen years of age.
(6) "School" means a school as defined in R.S. 17:236, or any other secondary or non-secondary level course or adult education program with a general education course leading to a Louisiana high school equivalency diploma.
(7) "School board" means a city, parish or other local public school board, the state agency operating or governing a secondary school, or the governing body of an independent public school or of a nonpublic school.
B. Required school attendance. (1) No minor may be issued a driver's license or learner's permit for the operation of a motor vehicle unless, at the time of application, documentation is presented to the department that the minor has:
(a) Received a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma.
(b) Enrolled and is attending a school as defined herein.
(c) Enrolled and is attending a course leading to a high school equivalency diploma.
(d) Completed the required minimum units of credit for high school graduation and all other graduation requirements as mandated by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education but has failed to pass the high school graduation exit exam.
(e) Received a special education certificate of achievement certifying that the student has completed high school.
(f) Enrolled in and is participating in a home school program.
(g) Requested and received a decision by the appropriate authority that the minor is unable to attend any school or program due to circumstances beyond the control of the minor and deemed acceptable as provided in this Section.
(2) Any minor who has been determined by the appropriate authority to be a dropout or habitually absent or tardy shall be subject to a denial or suspension of a driver's license or learner's permit as provided in this Section.
C. Obligations of the department. (1)(a) In addition to any other authority to deny driving privileges, the department shall not issue a driver's license or learner's permit to any minor who fails to present appropriate documentation upon application for a driver's license or learner's permit in compliance with Subsection B of this Section, and shall deny a driver's license or learner's permit or suspend the driver's license or learner's permit of any minor as to whom the department receives written notification from a school board that the minor is a dropout or habitually absent or tardy pursuant to the policy adopted by a school board. Such denial or suspension shall remain effective until such time as the minor reaches the age of eighteen or otherwise complies with the provisions of this Section, whichever occurs first.
(b) Any license denial or suspension shall not extend beyond the minor's eighteenth birthday. At the conclusion of the suspension or upon receiving documentation of compliance with Subsection B of this Section, the department shall return the license to the minor or issue a new license.
(2) The department shall promulgate all necessary rules and guidelines for the implementation of this Section in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act as are necessary which shall include but shall not be limited to a procedure for providing written notification of the intention to notify the department of a license suspension and the specification of the forms which may be required for the purpose of documenting and reporting as provided in this Section.
D. Authority of the school board. (1) The Recovery School District and any school board may adopt and institute a policy and procedure for providing written notification to the department of any minor who is determined by the school board to be a dropout or habitually absent or tardy for the purpose of driver's license denial or suspension. Only if the Recovery School District or a school board elects to adopt such a policy and procedure may any student who is determined to be a dropout or habitually absent or tardy be reported by the school board to the department.
(2) The Recovery School District or any school board which adopts such a policy shall promulgate rules to implement such policy which shall include provisions providing for written notification to students and their parents or legal guardians of the policy and for providing a means for students, parents, or legal guardians to dispute a determination of the student's status as a dropout or as habitually absent or tardy.
E. Documentation of school attendance. (1) Upon the request of any minor who is enrolled and attending a school and who is eligible to apply for a license, the appropriate authority shall provide to him documentation of his compliance with Subsection B of this Section.
(2) The minor shall present such documentation of his compliance to the office of motor vehicles upon application for or renewal of a driver's permit or license to operate a motor vehicle.
(3) Documentation of the minor's compliance with Subsection B of this Section shall be provided on a form developed by the Department of Education and made available to all school boards, home school providers, and adult education supervisors upon request to the Department of Education. Such documentation of the minor's compliance with Subsection B of this Section shall be valid for a period of ninety days from the date of issuance.
F. Reinstatement. Any minor whose license is denied or suspended pursuant to this Section may otherwise be eligible for reapplication or reinstatement of driving privileges if the appropriate documentation is submitted to the department showing that the minor is in compliance with the requirements of Subsection B of this Section.
G. Notification and Appeal. (1) An appropriate authority shall provide written notification to any minor whom he has determined to be a dropout or habitually absent or tardy and his parent or legal guardian that he intends to subject the minor to license denial or suspension. The written notification shall advise the minor of his right to seek a hearing by the school board of such determination or to make a request to the school board to obtain a hardship waiver as provided in Subsection H of this Section within fifteen days of the mailing of the notification. The appropriate authority shall also send a copy of such notification to the school board.
(2) If the school board is notified of a request for a hearing or a request for a hardship license within fifteen days after the date of mailing the written notification, the board shall hold a hearing to make a determination upon such request. If no such request is received by the board, or if the board determines after a hearing that such student is a dropout or is habitually absent or tardy and is not entitled to a hardship waiver as provided for in Subsection H of this Section, then the school board shall provide written notification to the department that the minor's license should be suspended or denied.
H. Hardship waiver. (1) The school board may waive the requirements of this Section for any minor for whom a personal, family, or economic hardship requires the minor to have a driver's license for his own, or his family's, employment or medical care as provided in R.S. 17:226. The minor or his parent or legal guardian may present other evidence that indicates compliance with the requirements of this Section at the waiver hearing.
(2) The school board shall notify the department of the outcome of the minor's hardship waiver hearing within twenty-four hours after conducting the hearing.
(3) Upon a determination by the school board that a hardship waiver is warranted, the department shall issue a hardship license for provisional driving privileges to the minor upon presentation of such documentation and proof of financial responsibility as determined by the department. Such driving privileges shall not exceed those granted by the license that was suspended.
Acts 2008, No. 688, §2, eff. June 1, 2009; Acts 2009, No. 224, §6; Acts 2014, No. 817, §1.