Michigan Compulsory Attendance Law now states that students must attend school from ages 6 to 18 years, with few exceptions.
School truancy is a serious concern for our youth in Leelanau County. Truancy is not only detrimental to success in education, but can also places a youth at risk of other delinquent and criminal activity. Reports have concluded that chronic absenteeism is the most powerful predictor of delinquent behavior. Absences in excess of 5 days in a semester and 10 tardies without a valid excuse (proper documentation is needed) are considered excessive.
The Truancy Program is a collaborative effort between the Glen Lake Public Schools, Lake Leelanau St. Mary’s Catholic Schools, Leland Public Schools, Northport Public Schools, Suttons Bay Public Schools, Traverse City Area Public Schools, Traverse Bay Area ISD, Leelanau Montessori, Leelanau County Family Court/13th Circuit Court, Leelanau County Prosecuting Attorney, 86th District Court, Grand Traverse Band Tribal Court, Grand Traverse Band Education Department, Leelanau County Sheriffs’ Office, Grand Traverse Band Tribal Police, Michigan State Police, and the Department of Human Services.
Parent Responsibility: It is the responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian(s) to see that their child attends school regularly and on time. By law, “every parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of a child from age six to the child’s eighteenth birthday, shall send that child to the public schools during the entire school year.” Violation of this law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine. Exceptions to this law exist, including attendance at approved non-public schools and home schooling. MCL 380.1599
School Responsibility: Schools must inform parent(s)/guardian(s) when their child is not in school. Comprehensive attendance procedures should be adopted by public schools that are understandable and reasonable. The law requires that the school meet with the parent(s)/guardian(s) and the child to address educational problems including truancy. It is important that the school address the issue of truancy as quickly as possible. Schools must accurately document every absence and respond appropriately and immediately in offering support to students. An effort should be made to resolve issues contributing to the student’s attendance problems.
Court Responsibility: The Leelanau County Family Court/13th Circuit Court has jurisdiction over youth under age 17 who “willfully and repeatedly absents himself or herself from school or other learning program intended to meet the child’s educational needs….” MCL 712A.2(a)(4)