State law encourages or requires districts to address truancy or chronic absenteeism through use of early warning, parent conferencing and parental sanctions.
ESSA Graduation Support
This page provides links to Montana's early warning system and additional resources to support attendance and promote graduation.
Montana Code Annotated 20.5.105. Attendance officer -- powers and duties.
The attendance officer of a district:
- (1) must, subject to district policy, be vested with police powers, the authority to serve warrants, and the authority to enter places of employment of children in order to enforce the compulsory attendance provisions of this title;
- (2) may, subject to district policy, take into custody any child subject to compulsory attendance who is not excused under the provisions of this title and conduct the child to the school in which the child is or should be enrolled;
- (3) may, subject to district policy, do whatever else is required to investigate and enforce the compulsory attendance provisions of this title and the pupil attendance policies of the trustees;
- (4) may, subject to district policy, institute proceedings against any parent, guardian, or other person violating the compulsory attendance provisions of this title;
- (5) may, subject to district policy, keep a record of transactions for the inspection and information of the trustees and shall make reports in the manner and to whomever the trustees designate; and
- (6) may, subject to district policy, perform any other duties prescribed by the trustees to preserve the morals and secure good conduct of the pupils of the district.
Montana Code Annotated 20.5.106. Truancy
1) For the purposes of this part “truant” or “truancy” means the persistent nonattendance without excuse, as defined by district policy, for all or any part of a school day equivalent to the length of one class period of a child required to attend a school under 20-5-103. (2) If an attendance officer discovers a child is truant, the attendance officer may make a reasonable effort to notify the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child that the continued truancy of the child may result in the prosecution of the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child under the provisions of this section. If the child is discovered to be truant after the attendance officer has made a reasonable effort to notify the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child, the attendance officer may require that the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child and the child meet with an individual designated by the school district to formulate a truancy plan to address and resolve the truancy. If the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child fails to meet with the designated individual or fails to uphold the responsibilities under the provisions of the truancy plan, the attendance officer may refer the matter to the prosecuting attorney in a court of competent jurisdiction for a determination regarding whether to prosecute the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child. (3)
- (a) If convicted, the person shall be fined not more than $ 100, ordered to perform up to 20 hours of community service, or required to give bond in the penal sum of $ 100, with sureties, conditioned on the person’s agreement to cooperate with the district in implementing the truancy plan provided for in subsection (2) for the remainder of the current school term.
- (b) If a person fails to comply with an order of the court issued under subsection (3)(a), the person may be imprisoned in the county jail for a term of not more than 3 days. (4)
- (a) If the child is discovered by the attendance officer to be truant on 9 or more days or 54 or more parts of a day in 1 school year, the child may be referred to youth court as habitually truant under Title 41, chapter 5.
- (b) Following a referral to youth court under subsection (4)(a), an attendance officer shall inform the youth court of any subsequent truancies by the child, and the youth court may find the child to be a youth in need of intervention as defined in 41-5-103 and make any of the dispositions provided in 41-5-1512.