The Olmsted County Attorney’s Office is dedicated to promoting school attendance by providing early intervention collaboration between children, parents, schools, and the county.
Truancy Intervention Program
In 2014, the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with Willow Creek Middle School, Mayo High School, the Rochester Police Department, and Olmsted County Community Services, created a Truancy Intervention Pilot Program to address the problem of truancy in Olmsted County for all students aged 12 to 17. This program went School District-wide in 2015. Truancy is frequently linked to a rise in crime and can lead to students becoming victims when they are not in school. Before the commencement of our pilot program, a child may have accumulated 60 or more unexcused absences prior to the filing of a truancy petition and court intervention. Our goal is to intervene prior to a child becoming excessively absent. It is our hope that this intervention will reduce the truancy rate in Olmsted County, improve the graduation rate in Olmsted County, provide early intervention to families, and reduce juvenile delinquency in Olmsted County.
A Message to Parents/Guardians
As a parent/guardian, it is your responsibility to make sure that your child attends school daily. Regular attendance improves academic success and graduation rates. It is essential that you are involved in the intervention project for the long-term academic success of your child. Collaboration with the school and county is key to solving a student's attendance issues.
A Message to Students
Education is the foundation for a successful future. In Minnesota, the law requires students to attend their classes and school daily. School attendance is essential for academic success. We encourage you to attend school regularly and take pride in your school.
Compulsory School Attendance Law - The law states that all children between ages 7 and 18, and ages 5 and 6 if they are enrolled, must attend school every day on time unless lawfully excused by the school.
- What is not a legal excuse to miss school?
- Staying home to babysit;
- Cold weather;
- Missing the bus;
- Working/tired from working.
- What is a legal excuse to miss school?
- Excused absences:
- Illness: A parent or guardian must verify the student's illness. If school personnel determine the illness absences are excessive, Minnesota law permits the school to require the family to provide medical verification or to see the school nurse.
- Religious observances required by the student's religion.
- Extreme family emergency (e.g. house fire, critical injury to parent/guardian, funeral of a close family member).
- Medical appointments that cannot be scheduled outside of school hours.
- Prior approval by the school principal is required for absences due to travel.
- Excused absences:
Under Minnesota law, school administration has the right to determine the validity of any request for an excused absence.
Educational Neglect versus Truancy - If a child is under age 12, his or her failure to attend school is presumed to be the crime of educational neglect committed by the child's parents/guardians. If the child is age 12 or older, his or her failure to attend school is presumed to be truancy. The presumption of whether a child's absence from school is deemed educational neglect or truancy can be overcome with evidence to the contrary.
Educational Neglect Laws (Ages 5 - 11)
Educational neglect - a parent or guardian's failure to ensure the child attends school as required by law.
Presumption - A child's absence from school is presumed to be due to the parent's, guardian's, or custodian's failure to comply with compulsory instruction laws if the child is under 12 years old and the school has made appropriate efforts to resolve the child's attendance problems, according to MN Statute 260C.163 Subd. 11(a).
Child in Need of Protection - MN Statute 260C.007 Subd. 6(3) defines a child in need of protection or services as a child who is without necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, or other required care for the child's physical or mental health or morals because the child's parent/guardian is unable or unwilling to provide that care.
Truancy Laws (Ages 12 +)
Truancy - a child's willful absence without lawful excuse from one or more class periods on seven different school days.
Continuing Truant - MN Statute 260A.02 provides that a continuing truant is a student who is subject to the compulsory instruction requirements of MN Statute 120A.22 and is absent from instruction without valid excuse within a single school year for:
- Three days if the child is in an elementary school; or
- Three or more class periods on three days if the child is in middle school, junior high school, or high school; or
- When a student is classified as a continuing truant, the school may notify the student’s parent or legal guardian that the child is considered truant and inform the parents of the provisions of Minn. Stat 260A, 260C, and 120A regarding truant students. The school may also refer a continuing truant to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office Truancy Intervention Program.
Habitual Truant - MN Statute 260C.007 defines an habitual truant as:
- A child under the age of 16 years who is absent from attendance at school without lawful excuse for seven school days if the child is in elementary school or for one or more class periods on seven school days if the child is in middle school, junior high school, or high school; or
- A child who is 16 or 17 years of age who is absent from attendance at school without lawful excuse for one or more class periods on seven school days and who has not lawfully withdrawn from school. The district shall refer an habitual truant child and the child’s parents or legal guardian to appropriate services and procedures, under MN Statute 260A.
Suspensions and Dismissals
- “Dismissal” means the denial of the current educational program to any student.
- “Suspension” means an action by the school administration, under rules promulgated by the school board, prohibiting a pupil from attending school for a period of no more than ten school days.