Series 503.2.1AR - Truancy
Adopted: April 1979
Revised: July 2021
1. Compulsory Instruction -- Minnesota Statute 120A.22, Compulsory Instruction, provides that: “Every child between seven and 17 years of age must receive instruction unless the child has graduated.”
1.1 Every child under the age of seven who is enrolled in kindergarten shall receive instruction. Except as provided in subd. 6 of Minnesota Statute 120A.22, a parent may withdraw a child under the age of seven from enrollment at any time.
1.2 Once a pupil under the age of seven is enrolled in kindergarten or a higher grade in a public school, the pupil is subject to the compulsory attendance provisions of Minnesota Statutes 120A.22 and 120A.34.
1.3 A student 17 years of age who seeks to withdraw from school, along with the student’s parent or guardian, must:
1.3.1 Attend a meeting with school personnel to discuss the educational opportunities available to the student, including alternative educational opportunities; and
1.3.2 Sign District Procedure 503.2.1P, Written Election to Withdraw from School.
1.4 A child may be excused from attendance for the whole or any part of the time school is in session during any school year for the reasons set forth in Minnesota Statute 120A.22, subd. 12 and for a religious observance per Minnesota Statute 120A.35. A parent or guardian may be required to verify in writing the reason for the child’s absence.
2. Excessive Absences -- Vigorous pursuit of excessive excused and unexcused absences shall include one or more of the following:
2.1 Review of notes from home and reasons for excuse,
2.2 Determination of pattern of absences,
2.3 Phone call to home to express concern over absences,
2.4 Letter to home expressing concern over absences and offering help to parents,
2.5 Request for medical doctor substantiation of excessive absences for medical reasons,
2.6 A conference with parents to review the problem and outline corrective action, and/or
2.7 A letter sent to parents following conference documenting discussion of problem and corrective action.
3. Truant -- A truant is defined as a child who is subject to the compulsory instruction requirements of Minnesota Statute 120A.22 and is absent from instruction in a school, as defined in Minnesota Statute 120A.05, without a valid excuse within a single school year for:
3.1 Three (3) days if the child is in elementary school; or
3.2 Three (3) or more class periods on three (3) days if the child is in middle school or high school. Nothing shall prevent the school district from notifying a truant child’s parent or legal guardian of the child’s truancy or otherwise addressing a child’s attendance problems prior to the child becoming a truant.
3.3 District Procedure 503.2.1.1P Truancy Notice to Parent or Guardian or a comparable letter will be sent by first class mail to the parent or guardian when the child is considered a “continuing truant.” The letter must include the information contained in Minnesota Statute 260A.03.
4. Habitual Truant -- A habitual truant means a child under the age of 17 years of age who is absent from school without a lawful excuse for seven (7) days per year if the child is in elementary school, or for one or more class periods, on seven school days per year if the child is in middle school or high school; or, a child who is 17 years of age who is absent from attendance at school without a lawful excuse for one or more class periods on seven (7) school days per year and who has not lawfully withdrawn from school under Minnesota Statute 120A.22, subdivision 8.
4.1 When the school determines that a child is “habitually truant” by definition, the school will send District Procedure 503.2.1.3.1P, Habitual Truant Notice to Parent or Guardian or a comparable letter by first class mail to the parent or guardian, and file a Dakota County Notice of Initial Habitual Truancy.
4.2 When a school determines that a child who was previously identified as a “habitual truant” has had three additional incidents of truancy, the school will send District Procedure 503.2.1.3.3P, Continuing Habitual Truant Notice to Parent or Guardian or a comparable letter by first class mail to the parent or guardian, and file a Dakota County Notice of Continuing Habitual Truancy.
- Minnesota Statute 120A.05, Definition of a school
- Minnesota Statute 120A.22, Compulsory instruction
- Minnesota Statute 120A.35, Absence from school for religious observance
- Minnesota Statute 260A.01, Truancy programs and services
- Minnesota Statute 260A.03, Notice to parent or guardian when child is a continuing truant
- Minnesota Statute 260C.007, subd. 19, Definition of habitual truant