School attendance is mandatory by the State of Minnesota. Research related to school attendance tells us that:
- Students who attend school on a regular basis receive higher grades;
- Students who graduate from high school have a greater chance of getting a job;
- Regularly attending school leads to increased self-esteem and a stronger friend group;
- A high school diploma pays out for a lifetime and is linked to better health of the students, families and the community in which we all live.
Carver County Health and Human Services works closely with the schools within our communities to intervene early when school attendance becomes a struggle for youth and their families. Students who are chronically truant from school are much more likely to:
- Engage in crime
- Be unemployed
- Be under-employed
- Abuse drugs or alcohol
- Practice risky sexual behavior.
Missing 10% of school throughout the school year, negatively affects a students academic performance.
What is the Law?
Every child between the ages of 7 and 17 MUST attend school unless he/she has graduated. (MN Stat. 120A.22, subd. 5)
A student who is 17 MUST attend school unless the student is formally withdrawn from school by their parent or legal guardian. (MN. Stat. 120A.22 subd. 8)
What Happens If I Miss School?
- 3 unexcused absences: The school sends home a notification letter.
- 5 unexcused absences: The school will send home a second notification letter and a pre-diversion meeting will be set up with you, school personnel and the County Truancy Social Worker.
- 7 unexcused absences: The school files the truancy paperwork with Carver County Health and Human Services and a Truancy Case is opened with the County. Truancy cases are open for at least six months.
What to Expect if Referred for Truancy
- A truancy meeting will be held at school with the Social Worker, student, parent/guardian and school personnel.
- The student, parents, school staff and the Truancy Social Worker will create and sign the truancy contract.
- There will be monthly face to face meetings with the Truancy Social Worker at school and at home.
- Regular communication between the school, parent(s), student and the Social Worker will be necessary to insure that the plan is being followed.
- The Truancy Worker will monitor attendance on a weekly basis.
- Failure to follow the plan will include consequences that may include:
- Community Service
- Random drug testing
- Chemical Health or Mental Health Referrals
- Potential court action which could lead to out of home placement.