Truancy Intervention and Services

Educational success of each and every student in Chisago County is important to the entire community.  Parents, schools, and the community are all partners in working toward increased school attendance. The law “is designed to provide a continuum of intervention and services to support families and children in school and in combating truancy and educational neglect.”

Too many absences, even if they are excused, can hinder a child’s learning process.  Research shows that even one or two absences a month can have an adverse impact on learning. As noted by the U.S. Department of Education in its Manual to Combat Truancy in 1996, Truancy is the first sign of trouble; the first indicator that a young person is giving up and losing his or her way.  When young people start skipping school, they are telling their parents, school officials and the community at large that they are in trouble and need our help if they are to keep moving forward in life.

Research demonstrates that those who become truant are likely to eventually drop out of school leaving them at a significant disadvantage in comparison to their peers.   In addition, truancy can be a gateway to crime and is often one of the most powerful predictors of juvenile delinquent behavior.  A study of Miami truants demonstrated that 71% of 13 to 16 year-olds prosecuted for criminal violations had been truant.  In Minneapolis, daytime crime dropped 68% after police began citing truant students.  In San Diego, 44% of violent juvenile crime occurs between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. While the communities located within Chisago County are significantly different that Miami, Minneapolis and San Diego, those who deal with our youth know too well that truancy may be the first sign of more significant problems including: ❖Substance abuse❖Undocumented illness ❖Family problems ❖Gang involvement ❖Running away from home❖Criminal behavior ❖Mental Health Behavior problems❖Poor parenting skills ❖School program issues❖Educational neglect ❖Homelessness

Since truancy can be a symptom of more serious issues which a student may be facing, the Chisago County District Court, in collaboration with the Chisago County Attorney, Chisago County Health and Human Services and the School staffs of Chisago Lakes, North Branch and Rush City, has developed a Protocol for Truancy/Educational Neglect cases.  

When a child has 3 unexcused absences, the school will begin the initial interventions. The school is legally required to notify the parent or guardian that the child is a “continuing truant” at three unexcused absences. A letter outlining the potential legal consequences as well as recommended actions for the parents, is sent to the child’s home. The school may also refer the child to the County Attorney’s Office for an Attendance Intervention Meeting (AIM). If a child has 7 unexcused absences, they are considered “habitually truant.” The school is required to report that the student is in violation of the compulsory attendance laws.

Parents and Students (PDF)

AIM Meeting Dates (PDF)

School Officials