Truancy and Educational Neglect
The Ottawa Area ISD believes in the value of regular school attendance and the impact that it has on student achievement and the overall success of each child. We are shifting our mindset away from focusing on whether an absence is excused versus unexcused to focusing on being in school on a regular basis. It is our goal to help provide supports and resources so your child can be in school every day. If you are struggling to get your child to school on a daily basis, please let us know so we can start to collaborate and assist in any way possible.
Michigan Compiled Attendance Laws
Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.1561 – Compulsory School Attendance Sec. 1561. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, for a child who turned age 11 before December 1, 2009 or who entered grade 6 before 2009, the child's parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of the child shall send that child to a public school during the entire school year from the age of 6 to the child's sixteenth birthday. Except as otherwise provided in this section, for a child who turns age 11 on or after December 1, 2009 or a child who was age 11 before that date and enters grade 6 in 2009 or later, the child's parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of the child shall send the child to a public school during the entire school year from the age of 6 to the child's eighteenth birthday. The child's attendance shall be continuous and consecutive for the school year fixed by the school district in which the child is enrolled. In a school district that maintains school during the entire calendar year and in which the school year is divided into quarters, a child is not required to attend the public school more than 3 quarters in 1 calendar year, but a child shall not be absent for 2 or more consecutive quarters.
Juvenile Truancy Laws - MCL 712A.2(a)(4):
(4) The juvenile willfully and repeatedly absents himself or herself from school or other learning program intended to meet the juvenile's educational needs, or repeatedly violates rules and regulations of the school or other learning program, and the court finds on the record that the juvenile, the juvenile's parent, guardian, or custodian, and school officials or learning program personnel have met on the juvenile's educational problems and educational counseling and alternative agency help have been sought. As used in this sub-subdivision only, "learning program" means an organized educational program that is appropriate, given the age, intelligence, ability, and psychological limitations of a juvenile, in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, writing, and English grammar.
Local District Involvement
Increasing school attendance is a very complex social issue that requires a team effort and a systematic approach. The collaboration of the community, schools, courts and other agencies is essential if we are to increase school attendance. Ottawa County believes in the value of regular school attendance and the impact that it has on student achievement and the overall betterment of society. In order to systematically decrease chronic absenteeism in our schools, we are taking a tiered approach. We are shifting our mindset away from Truancy that focuses on unexcused absences and relies heavily on court involvement to Chronic Absenteeism which focuses on both excused and unexcused absences and the impact that has on academic performance by using a community-based, preventive approach.
Truancy Office Follow-Up
Upon receipt of a Truancy Report the truancy staff will:
- Send the parent and child a letter by regular and certified mail informing them of the consequences of further absences. A copy of this letter will be sent to the local school district principal.
- After the letter has been sent, the OAISD truancy officer will monitor attendance. If the student has not returned to school, the OAISD truancy officer will attempt to contact the parent/guardian.
- If absences continue after the above steps, the OAISD truancy officer may schedule a meeting if necessary.
- If attendance has not improved, charges could be sought against the parent/guardian and/or juvenile.