Can Schools Require Students to Go to Summer School?

Many students and their parents don’t understand everything that goes into a summer school program. Not only that, but summer school is stigmatized as being a negative thing, or a punishment for kids who are not smart. There are actually many different reasons that students could be enrolled or admitted into a summer school program, and just as many contingencies for these programs.

Schools can’t legally require or make students go to summer school. Kids only have to attend traditional school. However, sometimes summer school is the only viable option in order for a student to catch up on failed or missed credits required in order to move to the next grade level or to graduate.

When a student needs to go to summer school there is usually a problem with their academic progress. Sometimes though, there are other reasonable options to get a student back on track to where they should be. Keep reading to understand the options students have in regard to either attending, or not attending, summer school.

What is summer school?

Summer school is a system of education outside of traditional schooling. Summer school students are usually looked down upon, and considered less intelligent than students who do not need to attend summer school. However, there are quite a few different reasons that students could need to be enrolled in a summer schooling program.

The purpose of summer school is to help students remain on track so that they will be able to move to the next grade, or in the case of high school students, so that they will be able to graduate. Occasionally, students will be able to use summer school as a tool to help them get ahead of where they need to be on their path of education.

What types of classes are typically offered in summer school?

The types of classes offered at summer school vary based on the district and the school, but they usually include most core subject classes required for graduation. Higher level, AP, and elective classes can be offered over the summer but are not typically available for summer school credit.

Which types of students need to attend summer school?

Is summer school for academically challenged students?

Summer school is not for academically challenged students, although it is common for students who struggle in school to attend summer school. If a student struggles in most of their classes, they usually need special attention from teachers and instructors in order to be successful.

Summer school and programs like it allow for this type of personal instruction and help that academically challenged students usually benefit greatly from.

Can a student go to summer school for failing a class by not doing the work?

A student can go to summer school for failing a class. They would just need to retake that one class over the summer. While a school cannot force a student to do so, this is usually the fastest, most efficient, and most practical way for the student to make up the class.

For example, if a student fails their geometry class in high school, they may not want to retake that class during the school year. Some students find it embarrassing to have to retake a class, or they don’t want to be in a class with younger students.

It also may be a waste of time for the student; if a student failed geometry because they didn’t do the homework, they probably are not academically challenged and just didn’t put in the work.

By retaking the failed geometry class during summer school, the student will probably learn faster because they will recall information from their failed geometry class that they might’ve learned despite failing it.

Summer school can be beneficial for students in this way because if they were to wait for the next school year to retake the class instead, they might not remember anything that they could’ve learned in the class. It is also usually easier for parents to monitor student progress, attendance, and participation during summer school, because the school year can be so hectic.

Can a student admit themself into a summer school program?

Students actually can admit themselves into a summer school program if they so desire. Reasons for doing so might include a desire to get ahead and ready for graduation faster, a desire to graduate early, or a desire to enroll in more AP, IB, or duel enrollment classes before graduation in order to begin college with more general credits. This is not an uncommon choice for intrinsically motivated students who are invested in further education after high school.

What would happen if a student refuses to attend summer school?

Can schools punish students for not attending summer school?

Since schools cannot force students to go to summer school, they also cannot punish students for not going to summer school. However, natural consequences can occur if a student will not attend summer school.

Getting held back

If a student has failed significant classes or a vast number of classes, they may be held back if they do not try to make this credit up through summer school.

If a student has not learned the standard and required information in order to take the classes at the next level, they will likely be held back.

Not graduating

Like with getting held back, there are both standard and required information and classes that must be mastered before a student can graduate from high school. [source]

If a student has not completed these core requirements, they must make them up or they cannot graduate.

Usually students go for making up credits through the option of summer school. So, if a student refuses to attend a summer schooling program and does not make the credits up by some other method, they cannot walk or graduate on time, or maybe even at all.

What are the alternatives to summer school?

There are alternatives to summer school; these include online programs and programs that allow you to make up credit during the traditional school year.

Summer school make up credit alternatives:

Online programs for making up standard high school classes can generally be paid for and taken through an online college. Credits can also be made up during the school year, as there are usually zero period and after school classes offered so that students can stay as much on track as is possible with their unique situation.