State law encourages or requires districts to address truancy or chronic absenteeism through the provision of comprehensive student support services.
Delaware Code 14-2721 Definitions.
In this chapter: (1) Court means a Justice of the Peace Court. (2) Parent means a biological or natural parent, an adoptive parent, a person legally charged with the care or custody of a person under 18 years of age, a person who has assumed responsibility for the care of a person under 18 years of age, or a person acting as a caregiver pursuant to the provisions of § 202(f) of this title who has enrolled the pupil in grades kindergarten through 12 of a public school in this State. (3) Principal means the highest administrative official of a public school and includes a person or group of persons designated by the principal to deal with school attendance. (4) Record means written materials and exhibits forwarded to a court by the school with a referral under this subchapter or admitted into evidence at a court hearing. (5) School year means the period of attendance determined by a pupil's local school board pursuant to § 1049 of this title, or in the case of a charter school as determined by the board of directors of the charter school consistent with the school's charter, and any additional academic improvement activities identified in § 2702(g) of this title that a pupil may be required to attend during or following such period of attendance. (6) Student means a person who is enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 of a public school of this State. (7) Truant means a student who has been absent from school without valid excuse for more than 3 school days during a school year. (8) Valid excuse means an excuse which is approved in the regulations of the district board of education of the school district in which the pupil is or should be enrolled pursuant to the provisions of this title, or in the case of a pupil enrolled in a charter school, by the board of directors of the charter school.
Delaware Code 14-2722 Absenses and truancy.
(a) Subject to the rules and regulations of the local school board, pupils enrolled in the free public schools may be excused by the superintendent of schools or persons authorized by the superintendent. Pupils enrolled in charter schools may be excused by the principal of the school or persons authorized by the principal, subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the board of directors of the charter school.
(b) No pupil who could otherwise legally fail to attend school pursuant to § 2702(a) of this title may do so without the written consent of such person or persons having legal control of that pupil.
Delaware Code 14-2723 Responsibility of police officers.
(a) Any pupil under the age of 16 identified by a police officer as being off school property without official authorization may be returned to that pupil's home school.
(b) Any pupil under the age of 16 identified by a police officer as being off school property without official authorization may be detained by the police for a period not to exceed 2 hours for the purpose of notification of parent or guardian. This detention may be within the police station but not in a criminally confined area.
Delaware Code 14-2724 Notification to parents and students.
At the beginning of a school year each school district or public school shall notify each student and the parent of each student of the school attendance requirements of this Code, including the procedures and penalties applicable to truancy. The school district or school may determine the form of the notification.
Delaware Code 14-2725 Absences without excuse; truancy conferences.
(a) If a student has been absent from school without a valid excuse 1 or more days, the principal of the school may take such action as the principal considers appropriate.
(b) If a student is truant, the principal may schedule a truancy conference with the student, the student's parent and the principal pursuant to § 2726 of this title. The conference may be attended by other persons as the principal may include.
(c) Following a truancy conference the school shall decide whether or not to file a charge against the parent for a violation of § 2702 of this title; provided however, that the principal shall refer the case for prosecution following the twentieth day of unexcused absence by a student during the school year, in compliance with § 2702(d) of this title, and may refer the case before the twentieth day of unexcused absence if the principal determines it is appropriate to do so.
(d) The fact that a student or student's parent may attend or has attended a truancy conference does not bar the principal filing a complaint with a court. The principal's failure to hold a truancy conference does not bar the filing of a complaint with a court and adjudication by a court.
Delaware Code 14-2726 Procedure for truancy conferences
The provisions of § 4122 of this title shall apply to truancy conferences. The principal shall determine the date, time and place of the conference and shall give all participants notice at least 1 week prior to the conference. In conducting a truancy conference, the principal may exclude any person, including a parent or a student, from the conference or part of a conference.
Delaware Code 14-2727 Notice of violation and compliance.
No person shall be prosecuted for violation of § 2702 of this title if that person, within 3 days from the time that the person is notified by the superintendent of schools or persons authorized by the superintendent, presents an excuse in writing satisfactory to such superintendent of schools, and complies with the requirements of such § 2702 of this title. The mailing of a notice to the usual address of the offending party shall be sufficient notification.
Measuring School Performance
This resource guide on chronic absenteeism for Delaware districts and charter schools describes strategies to prevent chronic absenteeism such as early warning systems, trauma-informed practices, extended learning time or summer programs, engaging families by building positive relationships, and community partnerships and provides further resources to help schools and districts support students through non-academic supports.