Minnesota State Law governs the attendance of pupils and obligates schools to ensure regular attendance. Minnesota Law (MN 120A.22, Subd. 5) provides that every child between seven and seventeen years of age shall attend a public school or private school for not less than nine months during any school year. Students between the ages of seventeen and eighteen are eligible under MN 120A.22, Subd. 8 to withdraw from instruction, if a parent meets with a school official to discuss the pros and cons of withdrawal, and signs off on a state-required form.
Minn. Stat. 260A.02, Subd. 2 provides that a continuing truant is a student who is subject to compulsory instruction requirements and is absent from instruction without valid excuse within a single school year for 3 or more class periods on 3 days.
Minn. Stat. 260C.007, Subd. 19, provides that a habitual truant is a student who is subject to compulsory instruction requirements and is absent from instruction without valid excuse within a single school year for seven or more class periods on seven days. In cases of recurring absences the administration may request the County Attorney file a petition with the Juvenile Court pursuant to the above statute. Each county follows different procedures when responding to notification by a school of unexcused absences (truancies). Timely communication from a parent or guardian about the reason a student is absent is essential to avoid erroneous truancy filings.
- After 3 unexcused absences a letter will be sent to parent/guardian to inform of continuing truancy, and a referral to a county program may occur.
- After 7 unexcused absences a second letter of habitual truancy will be sent to the parent/guardian and a Truancy Petition may be sent to the county attorney and/or a referral to a county program intended to improve attendance will be made if not done previously.
- Parents may be notified by an automated system (phone and/or electronic) if they have authorized this in Skyward and we have the information necessary to communicate automatically.
- In addition to the above consequences, students who are truant may receive in school suspension.
Parents who wish to withdraw their seventeen year old student from instruction are required by law to meet with school personnel. The process for withdrawal from instruction is as follows:
- Parent/guardian and student arrange a meeting with the assistant principal to discuss the educational opportunities available to the student.
- All school-owned books and materials must be returned. Fines and fees must be paid.
- An internal withdrawal form must be signed by the parent, a school administrator, the student and the student’s teachers indicating that materials have been returned and fees paid, and noting grades-to-date.
- Per state statute, an official withdrawal form must be signed by the student’s parent.