Bill to increase high school drop out age pre-filed

Bill to increase high school drop out age pre-filed

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Lowcountry legislators gathered together at the home of a retired guidance counselor Wednesday to ensure that children in South Carolina graduate from high school.

Orangeburg Democratic Representative Jerry Govan has pre-filed a bill that looks to change the high school drop out age from 17 to 18 years old.

The bill is co-sponsored by Summerville Republican Representative Jenny Horne and Charleston Democratic Representative Wendell Gilliard.

The latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Education show only 78% of students in South Carolina graduated during the 2012-2013 school year.

Retired guidance counselor, Mark Epstein, has been the strong force behind the initiative to increase the drop out age.

At the announcement of the pre-filing Wednesday, Epstein said it was a great day for South Carolina.

After months of traveling to Columbia, meeting with the Governor and lawmakers, he's excited to have the "ball rolling."

In December the Charleston County School District announced its support for the bill.

"Our board strongly supports action to ensure that students through the age 18 receive guidance and access to education and training designed to foster their success beyond high school," said CCSD Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait in a statement.

In 2012 other South Carolina lawmakers filed a bill to increase the drop out age, however local lawmakers said it appeared to fail in sub-committee.

"The bill may have failed because not enough awareness was brought to the issue," said Representative Horne.

Lowcountry lawmakers said they're excited to bring this bill to Columbia for the start of the session which begins Tuesday.

24 other states have already passed similar laws in the last few years.

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