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Wyoming legislation recognizes 4-H as cocurricular program, allows excused absences

In Wyoming, 4-H is now considered a cocurricular activity, allowing members to obtain excused absences for participation in 4-H.

From left: Sen. Brian Boner, Rep. Tomi Strock, Secretary of State Chuck Gray, Breah Rosner, Addysen Rosner, Gov. Mark Gordon, Kristi Nagy, Callie Rosner, Dawn Sanchez and Johnathan Despain. (Crystal Rosner)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — In Wyoming, 4-H is now considered a cocurricular activity, allowing members to obtain excused absences for participation in it.

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 cocurricular program and therefore can receive excused absences for their participation.

Wyoming 4-H is a positive youth development program jointly funded by the University of Wyoming Extension and county commissions, a UW news release states. The new statute will allow 4-H members to make up school assignments missed due to participation in hands-on learning experiences like 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,” said Johnathan Despain, state 4-H program coordinator.

The new statute does not alter the authority of local school boards. Each school district’s board creates parameters for what is considered an unexcused absence and what activities are considered cocurricular. The bill states that school districts are permitted to request verification of the reasons for a student’s absence.

House Bill 0175 goes into effect July 1, 2023.

The new legislation, which amended W.S. 21-3-110(a)(xxxix), was co-sponsored by Wyoming Rep. Tomi Strock and Sen. Brian Boner and signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon. Visit https://bit.ly/wyoming-hb-0175 to read the statute in its entirety.


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