Massachusetts - Family Engagement on Chronic Absenteeism: Program requirements

Program Requirement
Policy Type: 

State law involves parents in responding to truancy or chronic absenteeism using non-punitive or supportive interventions.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 76.1B Pupil absence notification program

The school committee of each city, town or regional school district shall have a pupil absence notification program in each of its schools. The program shall be designed to ensure that each school notifies a parent or guardian of the child’s absence if the school has not received notification of the absence from the parent or guardian within 3 days of the absence.

Each school committee shall have a policy of notifying the parent or guardian of a student who has at least 5 days in which the student has missed 2 or more periods unexcused in a school year or who has missed 5 or more school days unexcused in a school year. The notification policy shall require that the school principal or headmaster, or a designee, make a reasonable effort to meet with the parent or guardian of a student who has 5 or more unexcused absences to develop action steps for student attendance. The action steps shall be developed jointly and agreed upon by the school principal or headmaster, or a designee, the student and the student’s parent or guardian and with input from other relevant school personnel and officials from relevant public safety, health and human service, housing and nonprofit agencies.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 76.2 Duties of parents; penalty

Every person in control of a child described in section one shall cause him to attend school as therein required, and, if he fails so to do for seven day sessions or fourteen half day sessions within any period of six months, he shall, on complaint by a supervisor of attendance, be punished by a fine of not more than twenty dollars. No physical or mental condition capable of correction, or rendering the child a fit subject for special instruction at public charge in institutions other than public day schools, shall avail as a defence unless it appears that the defendant has employed all reasonable measures for the correction of the condition and the suitable instruction of the child. The Boston juvenile court shall have jurisdiction within the territorial limits described in section fifty–seven of chapter two hundred and eighteen of complaints hereunder. The Worcester juvenile court shall have jurisdiction, concurrent with the central district court of Worcester, of complaints hereunder. The Springfield juvenile court shall have jurisdiction, concurrent with the district court of Springfield, of complaints hereunder. The Bristol county juvenile court shall have jurisdiction, concurrent with all of the district courts of Bristol County, of complaints hereunder, and the presiding judge of said court shall establish hearing dates on a circuit basis to be held in such respective courts. Complaints hereunder brought in other district courts shall be heard in the juvenile sessions thereof.

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