Truancy Referral Process
Truancy Referral Process:
Before making a truancy referral, a local school district shall:
Review Policies and Student Code of Conduct:
In order to set clear expectations regarding the connection between school attendance and school success, district policies and codes of conduct should clearly articulate the consequences of non-attendance. Schools successful in truancy prevention regularly discuss these expectations throughout the instructional process (teachers, counselors, etc.). If the district uses a newsletter, this is an ideal vehicle to discuss concerns, strategies, expectations and improvements with regard to chronic absenteeism and truancy. The districts should annually publish (for all to review) the main components of the Compulsory Attendance Act, the legal consequences.
1. Districts should make initial contact with parent/guardian and child
2. Districts should review days absent (total and patterns)
3. Districts should attempt to meet with parent/guardian and child to:
- determine cause of absences
- review district policies and procedures
- work cooperatively with parent/guardian for remedy
- refer to appropriate counselor or agency, if available
4. Districts should exhaust all resources and intervention strategies before making a truancy referral
Truancy Referrals are made when:
In the interest of good will, due process and a spirit of partnership, the parent/guardian must be notified by school officials of a pending Truancy Referral. The parent/guardian should be informed of the entire referral process steps including the fact that continued lack of regular daily attendance could lead to court intervention.
After discussing the student’s case with the school building official, the Attendance Officer will then upon request send, via certified mail, a Violation Notice that requires attendance the day following receipt of the Notice. The Michigan Compulsory Attendance Act language is included in the Violation Notice and a copy of this notice may be viewed on the truancy tracking log entry page once this step is reached.
- students are between six and 16 years of age (if born before December 1, 1998) or 18 years of age (if born after December 1, 1998) for a formal Truancy Referral, using the Calhoun Intermediate School District’s Truancy Tracking System
- a pattern of absenteeism is noticed by school personnel, and indicated by school policy as unsatisfactory; parents/guardians are notified of pending referral and have an opportunity to discuss the situation
- school personnel feel the pattern of absenteeism is excessive and is interfering with the student’s school success; this could even include situations when a student has had excused absences without a doctor’s statement or that the statements lack authenticity, or excessive tardiness
- there are special circumstances that a school official considers to be serious enough to warrant a Truancy Referral (this could include excessive absences due to head lice, etc.)
- a student under age 18 leaves a school building and the school building officials are unable through their own efforts and resources to locate the whereabouts of the student or nature of “drop”
- referrals are made prior to the point in time that a student has lost credit -- we loose leverage to encourage the student to return to a class if they will not receive credit for the semester
Required Parent/Guardian, School Officials’ Meeting:
After the school official has allowed time for the receipt of the Violation Notice, if the student’s attendance is still unsatisfactory, the school official should immediately notify the Calhoun ISD Attendance Officer. Prior to making any court referral, the school official will work with the Calhoun ISD Attendance Officer to schedule a parent/guardian and student meeting at the school building. All appropriate personnel should attend this meeting to best identify intervention strategies prior to filing a Court Petition. At this meeting, an attempt will be made to develop or amend an Educational Service Plan where student, parent/guardian and school official expectations are explored and agreed upon to assist the student in improving their school attendance. The parent/guardian will be informed that State law holds them ultimately responsible for their student’s regular daily attendance and that the parent/guardian will face consequences for failing to comply with the law. They will understand the impact a court referral will have on the student (including a juvenile court record), on the family (in terms of financial penalty, required actions, or even removing the student from the home in extreme cases) and others. Following this meeting, should the student or parent/guardian violate, or be unwilling to enter into, the student contract, we would expect the school building official to request a court petition.
Should the Calhoun ISD Attendance Officer file a Court Petition on behalf of the school official, it is expected that the school official and other appropriate personnel will make themselves available for any and all court appearances, hearings, or filings. When attending a Court proceeding, the school officials should have available: the CA 60, IEP information (if applicable), information regarding other professionals involved with the student (school counselor, school social worker, etc.), and other pertinent documentation not already provided to the Calhoun ISD Attendance Officer. Such information would include logs of all related contacts and/or interventions made on behalf of the referred student. If the school building officials are aware of other information that would prove helpful to the Court in making its findings, please document in writing and have available for the Court (parent/guardian attitudes regarding truancy and school success, prior juvenile convictions, other agency involvement, parent’s/guardian’s work history, residential status of student and family, etc.).
Following the filing of a court petition by the Calhoun ISD Attendance Officer, the court will typically schedule an informal "Preliminary" hearing. At this hearing, where all parties are summoned to court, the attorney referee will attempt to determine the reasons for lack of child(ren) in regular daily attendance, and indicate that a formal hearing will be scheduled should the student’s attendance not improve.
Typically, unless a student already has an open file with Juvenile Court, the initial hearing before Juvenile Court is an Informal Hearing with the Attorney Referee. A parent/guardian may make a request for a Formal Hearing at that point and all parties are represented by legal counsel (their own or an appointed counsel).
At a formal hearing, the court will enter into a court order for the child(ren) to be in regular daily attendance and may even place the student on probation (at the parent’s/guardian’s expense). Should the child then violate the court order, the offense moves from a status offense of truancy to a criminal offense of violation of a court order. During this process of court intervention, an understanding of the student’s true problems manifesting into truancy can help the court determine what other available services or agency interventions may prove helpful. These agency interventions can become a part of the court order (under the Juvenile Diversion Act). Such interventions may include family counseling, drug and/or alcohol counseling referrals, etc. Only in extreme cases will we move for temporary placement outside the home or placement in the Juvenile Home.