Archived Story

Ask Trooper Rob: School now required for up to 18 years old

Published 10:05pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

I don’t want to go to school, but my parents say I have to. Isn’t there a certain age that guides that?
— internet reader

Dear internet reader, please stay in school. In today’s society, your education will guide you and assist with employment opportunities. Yes, there is a law that states you have to go to school. MCL 380.1561, Compulsory attendance at public school, enrollment dates, exceptions, states “(1)… for a child who turned age 11 before Dec. 1, 2009, or who entered grade 6 before 2009, the child’s parent, guardian or other person in this state having control and charge of the child shall send that child to a public school during the entire school year from the age of 6 to the child’s 16th birthday.”

Continuing, “…for a child who turns age 11 on or after Dec. 1, 2009, or a child who was 11 before the date and enters grade 6 in 2009 or later, the child’s parent, guardian or other person in this state having control and charge of the child shall send the child to a public school during the entire school year from the age of 6 to the child’s 18th birthday.”

This year’s freshmen and all others under that grade are now required to attend school until they are 18 years old.

Exceptions to the above law are 1) The child is regularly and is being taught in a state approved nonpublic school… 2) The child is 12 or 13 and is attendance at confirmation classes conducted for a period of five months or less. 3) The child is regularly enrolled in a public school while enrolled in attendance at religious instruction classes for not more than two class hours per week… 4) The child has graduated from high school or has fulfilled all requirements for high school graduation. 5) The child is being taught at the child’s home by his parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program … and 6) For a child who turns 11 on or after Dec. 1, 2009, or who was 11 before that date and enters grade 6 in 2009 or later, and is at least 16 and the parent or legal guardian has provided to school officials of the school district in which the child resides a written notice that the child has the permission of the parent or legal guardian to stop attending school.

In the line of duty

Just after 5 a.m. on Aug.  7, 1981, a C&O freight train consisting of two locomotives and 80 cars and a caboose derailed in Bridgman along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Fourteen cars left the tracks, including a tanker car.

A large plume of white smoke began leaking from the ruptured standpipe on the tanker, which was flipped over and resting upside down. Police from several local agencies, including troopers from Benton Harbor, Paw Paw and the New Buffalo Team, were called to help secure the scene.

One of the many officers assigned to the inner perimeter, about 100 yards from the wreckage, was Tpr. Allan Peterson, 37, who had enlisted in the MSP on April 14, 1968. He was assigned to the New Buffalo Team. Peterson’s mission at this security point was to keep onlookers and media a safe distance from the scene.

It turned out the tanker was loaded with fluorosulfonic acid, an odorless, poisonous, fuming liquid that is highly corrosive to metals and tissue. Peterson spent his entire shift in close proximity to the white plume of toxic, caustic gas.

Peterson died in bed of a massive heart attack on the morning of Aug. 29, 1981, following a prolonged and severe coughing spasm. It was initially believed his heart attack was caused by arteriosclerosis.

After nearly a decade of research and civil litigation on behalf of the Peterson family, it was determined the medical complications contributing to his death were directly caused by exposure to the fluorosulfonic acid and that his death was duty-related.

Due to this tragic incident, troopers began receiving awareness training, refreshed annually, for first responders to hazardous material incidents.

Peterson, a Coast Guard veteran, is buried in Benton Harbor and was the 34th MSP officer to die in the line of duty.

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