Wyoming Bill Allows School Absences for 4-H Participants

Wyoming Bill Allows School Absences for 4-H Participants

Written by on March 21, 2023

Wyoming 4-H students can go to state fairs and leadership conferences without getting penalized for missing school, thanks to a new law that codifies these experiences as part of their educational growth.

The University of Wyoming Extension and Wyoming 4-H are celebrating a new law that enhances the 4-H experience for students without causing problems in the classroom. Thanks to a new bill and Governor Gordon’s signature, 4-H is now considered a co-curricular activity, allowing members to obtain excused absences for participation.

Wyoming House Bill 0175 states that Wyoming public school students engaged in “programming or competitions sponsored by nationally recognized organizations and clubs that promote youth agricultural education” are considered to be involved in a co-curricular program. Therefore, students can receive excused absences for their participation.

HB 175 Signing - February 21, 2023 LR

Courtesy University of Wyoming Extension

The new statute will allow Wyoming  4-H members to make up school assignments missed due to participation in hands-on learning experiences through the program.

Hands-on experiences organized by Wyoming 4-H include visiting Congress, participating in the Wyoming State Fair, competing in national contests, and attending youth leadership conferences.

“This will support students and families engaged in 4-H learning activities, complementing formal classroom learning and contributing to the overall goal of positive youth development in public education,” says Johnathan Despain, state 4-H program coordinator.

However, the new statute does not alter the authority of local school boards – each school district’s board can create parameters for what is considered an unexcused absence and what activities are considered co-curricular. Districts are also permitted to request verification of the reasons for a student’s absence.

UW Extension/Wyoming 4-H

House Bill 0175 goes into effect on July 1, 2023.

The new legislation, which amended W.S. 21-3-110(a)(XXXIX), was co-sponsored by Wyoming Representative Tomi Strock and Senator Brian Boner and signed into law by Governor Mark Gordon.

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