CHEYENNE — Legislation requiring Wyoming high school students to stay in school until they graduate or hit their 18th birthday received a preliminary nod in the state Senate on Thursday.
Senate File 96, sponsored by Sen. Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie, moved ahead on a voice vote.
It comes up for second reading in the Senate on Friday.
Current law allows students to quit school at age 16.
Supporters claim that students who know they must stay in school until they are 18 are more likely to graduate and to perform better in the future.
Opponents say that keeping students in school when they don’t want to be there and are totally disengaged is a waste of time and money.
The legislation would go into effect July 1 if it passes.
About 20 states and the District of Columbia currently require students to stay in school until they graduate or reach their 18th birthday. Another 11 states mandate schooling until age 17. The rest allow students to drop out at 16.