Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Rep. Rick West refiles 4-H excused absence bill

Rep. Rick West Refiles 4-H Excused Absence Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 13th) – Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, has refiled a bill that would grant students attending 4-H programs an excused absence from school so their grades will not be adversely affected. 

House Bill 1006 would prohibit schools from marking students with an unexcused absence if they are participating in 4-H activities approved by the county 4-H educator. The student would be required to provide documented proof of their participation and must be given the opportunity to make up any missed work. 

"I’ve heard from numerous parents that their children are being penalized when they miss school for a 4-H event,” West said. “Yet, they can play all the sports they want and be excused from class and given the chance to make up assignments. I just want there to be a level playing field for all students. 4-H is a terrific organization that serves students across the state of Oklahoma, teaching them leadership skills, agriculture and livestock and so much more.”

West said because 4-H is not considered a school activity, participants have to rely on the goodwill of their individual schools or school boards to determine if they will be counted with an excused or an unexcused absence when they attend leadership programs, livestock shows, judging contests or one of the many other activities offered. This bill ensures across-the-board protection for these students.

West last year ran House Bill 2991, which contained the same language. It received a 75-15 vote in the House and passed the Senate Education Committee but did not advance to a hearing by the full Senate. West said he’s going to find out why that happened and work to overcome that hurdle this year.

In 4-H programs, young students and teens complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement. They receive guidance from educators and adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles. Youth experience 4-H in every county and parish in the country through in-school and after-school programs, school and community clubs and 4-H camps. Oklahoma 4-H is delivered by OSU Extension — with offices based in all 77 counties.

Rick West represents District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of LeFlore County. 


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