Law Extends Parental Control
In Missouri, 17-year-olds could drop out, with or without their parents' approval. But, the new law lets parents ask juvenile courts to keep their children under juvenile laws until they're at least 18.
"It enables a parent to help ensure that their child does complete their education," explained Rep. Bryan Stevenson of Joplin.
Before the House passed the bill, many parents didn't realize they had no say if their 17-year-old moved out of the house or dropped out of high school.
"I think it's appropriate that a parent should have the right to restrict the child and say, 'Yes, you have to go back to school,'" said parent Nora Neely.
Parents must ask a juvenile court for jurisdiction in order to use their new rights.
"There's too many kids running around with no guidance and nobody telling them what they can and can't do," added parent Barry Rucker.
"I think it will help a large number of young people complete their education, keep them out of prison, out of jail," said Stevenson. "It will help reduce drug problems and, I think, it will help reduce the number of cases we have in juvenile court."
About 4% of students, at least 10,000 of them, dropped out of high school last year, according to the Missouri Department of Elemtary and Seconday Education. Before the bill passed, Missouri was one of 13 states that let 17-year-olds drop out without parents' approval.