New Mexico - Family Engagement on Chronic Absenteeism: Program requirements

Area: 
Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
Statute
Summary: 

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

New Mexico Statutes 22-12-7. Enforcement of attendance law; habitual truants; penalty.

A.  Each local school board and each governing body of a charter school or private school shall initiate the enforcement of the provisions of the Compulsory School Attendance Law [22-12-1 NMSA 1978] for students enrolled in their respective schools.

B.  To initiate enforcement of the provisions of the Compulsory School Attendance Law [22-12-1 NMSA 1978] against an habitual truant, a local school board or governing body of a charter school or private school or its authorized representatives shall give written notice of the habitual truancy by mail to or by personal service on the parent of the student subject to and in noncompliance with the provisions of the Compulsory School Attendance Law. The notice shall include a date, time and place for the parent to meet with the local school district, charter school or private school to develop intervention strategies that focus on keeping the student in an educational setting.

C.  If unexcused absences continue after written notice of habitual truancy as provided in Subsection B of this section has occurred, the student shall be reported to the probation services office of the judicial district where the student resides for an investigation as to whether the student shall be considered to be a neglected child or a child in a family in need of services because of habitual truancy and thus subject to the provisions of the Children’s Code [32A-1-1 NMSA 1978]. The probation services office may send a written notice to a parent of the student directing the parent and student to report to the probation services office to discuss services for the student or the family. In addition to any other disposition, the children’s court may order the habitual truant’s driving privileges to be suspended for a specified time not to exceed ninety days on the first finding of habitual truancy and not to exceed one year for a subsequent finding of habitual truancy.

D.  If, after review by the juvenile probation office where the student resides, a determination and finding is made that the habitual truancy by the student may have been caused by the parent of the student, then the matter will be referred by the juvenile probation office to the district attorney’s office or any law enforcement agency having jurisdiction for appropriate investigation and filing of charges allowed under the Compulsory School Attendance Law [22-12-1 NMSA 1978]. Charges against the parent may be filed in metropolitan court, magistrate court or district court.

E.  A parent of the student who, after receiving written notice as provided in Subsection B of this section and after the matter has been reviewed in accordance with Subsection D of this section, knowingly allows the student to continue to violate the Compulsory School Attendance Law [22-12-1 NMSA 1978] shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Upon the first conviction, a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) or more than one hundred dollars ($100) may be imposed, or the parent of the student may be ordered to perform community service. If violations of the Compulsory School Attendance Law continue, upon the second and subsequent convictions, the parent of the student who knowingly allows the student to continue to violate the Compulsory School Attendance Law shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) or imprisonment for a definite term not to exceed six months or both.

F. The provisions of this section shall apply beginning July 1, 2004.


New Mexico Statutes 22-12-8. Early identification; unexcused absences and truancy.

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 22-12-7 NMSA 1978, if a student is in need of early intervention, the school district, charter school or private school shall contact the student’s parent to inform the parent that the student has unexcused absences from school and to discuss possible interventions. The provisions of this section do not apply to any absence if the parent has contacted the school to explain the absence.

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