Truancy is probably as old as the school system itself, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem. The state of Ohio passed a bill in 2000 legislating the enforcement of truancy laws. The law assigns responsibility for truancy to school-skipping students as well as their parents. It is designed to increase school attendance and keep students in school and out of trouble.
State law defines "habitual truancy" as absence from school for five or more days in a row, seven or more days within one school month or 12 days within a school year. "Chronic truancy" is defined as absence for seven or more consecutive days, at least 10 days in a single month, or 15 school days out of the year. State law also prescribes certain excused absences, including personal illness, for which a doctor's note is mandated if the student misses four or more days in a row; religious holidays; home quarantine; family illness; and emergencies, for which documentation may be required.
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Parents may also be held responsible for their children's truancy. The parents of a truant child are first sent an official letter explaining the situation and notifying them of legal consequences. If parents are found to not compel their child to attend school, they may be required to take mediation classes or parenting workshops. Subsequent offenses may result in fines of up to $500 (as of 2011) or community service.
Involvement of Juvenile Court
Chronic truancy can result in involvement of the juvenile court if other measures fail tor resolve the problem. School officials who lodge juvenile court complaints, according to the law, "shall allege that the child is an unruly child for being an habitual truant or is a delinquent child for being an habitual truant who previously has been adjudicated." If found guilty of the offenses, the child could be placed in juvenile detention.
The Ohio truancy law also sets up mediation programs for both parents and students. Such programs are designed to intervene in the problem before it rises to a more serious level. According to the Ohio State Bar, mediation has been effective in reducing truancy. It's administered by the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management and involves a neutral third-party mediator who engages conflicting parties to come to a mutually agreeable solution.
David Ferris started writing professionally in 2006 and has been published in several newspapers. He has worked in a variety of fields including education and law. He strives to one day be an authority on all subjects, great and small. Ferris has a Bachelor of Arts in political science.