State law encourages or requires districts to address truancy or chronic absenteeism through the provision of comprehensive student support services.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 79-209. Compulsory attendance; nonattendance; school district; duties; collaborative plan; considerations; referral to county attorney; notice.
(1) In all school districts in this state, any superintendent, principal, teacher, or member of the school board who knows of any violation of subsection (2) of section 79-201 shall within three days report such violation to the attendance officer of the school, who shall immediately investigate the case. When of his or her personal knowledge or by report or complaint from any resident of the district, the attendance officer believes that there is a violation of subsection (2) of section 79-201, the attendance officer shall immediately investigate such alleged violation.
(2) All school boards shall have a written policy on attendance developed and annually reviewed in collaboration with the county attorney of the county in which the principal office of the school district is located. The policy shall include a provision indicating how the school district will handle cases in which excessive absences are due to illness. The policy shall also state the circumstances and number of absences or the hourly equivalent upon which the school shall render all services to address barriers to attendance. Such services shall include, but not be limited to:
- (a) Verbal or written communication by school officials with the person or persons who have legal or actual charge or control of any child; and
- (b) One or more meetings between, at a minimum, a school attendance officer, a school social worker, or a school administrator or his or her designee, the person who has legal or actual charge or control of the child, and the child, when appropriate, to attempt to address the barriers to attendance. The result of the meeting or meetings shall be to develop a collaborative plan to reduce barriers identified to improve regular attendance. The plan shall consider, but not be limited to:
- (i) Illness related to physical or behavioral health of the child;
- (ii) Educational counseling;
- (iii) Educational evaluation;
- (iv) Referral to community agencies for economic services;
- (v) Family or individual counseling; and
- (vi) Assisting the family in working with other community services.
(3) The school may report to the county attorney of the county in which the person resides when the school has documented the efforts it has made as required by subsection (2) of this section that the collaborative plan to reduce barriers identified to improve regular attendance has not been successful and that the child has been absent more than twenty days per year. The school shall notify the child’s family in writing prior to referring the child to the county attorney. Failure by the school to document the efforts required by subsection (2) of this section is a defense to prosecution under section 79-201 and adjudication for educational neglect under subdivision (3)(a) of section 43-247 and habitual truancy under subdivision (3)(b) of section 43-247. Illness that makes attendance impossible or impracticable shall not be the basis for referral to the county attorney.
(4) Nothing in this section shall preclude a county attorney from being involved at any stage in the process to address excessive absenteeism.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 79-2121. Plan to reduce excessive absenteeism; development and participation.
The superintendents of any school districts that are members of a learning community shall develop and participate in a plan by August 1, 2011, to reduce excessive absenteeism including a process to share information regarding at-risk youth with the goal of improving educational outcomes, providing effective interventions that impact risk factors, and reducing unnecessary penetration deeper into the juvenile justice system. For purposes of this section, at-risk youth means children who are under the supervision of the Office of Probation Administration, are committed to the care, custody, or supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services, are otherwise involved in the juvenile justice system, or have been absent from school for more than five days per quarter or the hourly equivalent except when excused by school authorities or when a documented illness makes attendance impossible or impracticable.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 79-2214. Elementary learning center; services and programs; report required.
(1) Programs offered by an elementary learning center may be accessed by any elementary-age child who resides in the learning community or any family with an elementary-age child who resides in the learning community. Services to be provided by the elementary learning center shall comply with all applicable state regulations for such services, including, but not limited to, regulations requiring certification of teachers, safety provisions, and compliance with state Standard. Such programs shall be designed to enhance the academic success of elementary students and may include, but are not limited to:
- (a) Summer school, extended-school-day programs, and extended-school-year programs which may be coordinated with programs offered in the schools;
- (b) Literacy centers for providing intensive assistance to elementary-age children and their parents to work on reading skills outside of the school day;
- (c) Computer labs;
- (d) Tutors for elementary students;
- (e) Mentors for elementary students;
- (f) Services for transient students;
- (g) Attendance advocates to assist in resolving issues that contribute to truancy;