Press Release

AALDEF Know Your Rights Flyer: High School Pushout and Massachusetts Law

What is Pushout?

Non-membering (sometimes called pushout) is when a school drops a student from its attendance rolls.

  • In 2000-2001, 12.5% of Asian students dropped (or were pushed) out in Lowell, compared to 12.4% of Hispanics, 9.3% of African Americans, and only 6.4% of whites.
  • High schools might drop students who have been cutting school as little as 10 days after their 16th birthday.
  • Some students might even be encouraged to drop out even if they have not missed 10 days of school.

Massachusetts Law

The legal dropout age in MA is 16, so a student must be at least 16 years old to be dropped.

Schools are only supposed to drop students if it has proof the student doesn’t intend to return, and:

  • The school must have a procedure to investigate long absences and must document reasonable efforts to locate the student and find out why he or she is not attending.
  • Before dropping students from the attendance rolls, schools must contact parents through phone calls, letters and a home visit.
  • The school must meet with a student after s/he has 10 consecutive absences. The school can then decide whether to drop the student. If the student is not dropped at the meeting, the school may automatically drop the student after 5 more absences.