The State Board of Education is empowered to enter into contracts with public or private agencies for the provision of educational services to chronic truants and for the prevention of truancy including training and developmental assistance provided an appropriation is made specifically for such purpose.
Illinois School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy
Illinois School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy
The state or jurisdiction(s) you selected for this subcategory are shown below, followed by the laws and regulations. To add or change states, use the Back button and resubmit your search request.
To view a state profile showing school discipline laws and regulations in all subcategories for a given state, click on the state name.
105 ILCS 5/2-3.41. Chronic truants and truancy prevention.
105 ILCS 5/2-3.66. Truants' alternative and optional education programs.
To establish projects to offer modified instructional programs or other services designed to prevent students from dropping out of school, including programs pursuant to Section 2-3.41 [105 ILCS 5/2-3.41], and to serve as a part time or full time option in lieu of regular school attendance and to award grants to local school districts, educational service regions or community college districts from appropriated funds to assist districts in establishing such projects. The education agency may operate its own program or enter into a contract with another not-for-profit entity to implement the program. The projects shall allow dropouts, up to and including age 21, potential dropouts, including truants, uninvolved, unmotivated and disaffected students, as defined by State Board of Education rules and regulations, to enroll, as an alternative to regular school attendance, in an optional education program which may be established by school board policy and is in conformance with rules adopted by the State Board of Education. Truants' Alternative and Optional Education programs funded pursuant to this Section shall be planned by a student, the student's parents or legal guardians, unless the student is 18 years or older, and school officials and shall culminate in an individualized optional education plan. Such plan shall focus on academic or vocational skills, or both, and may include, but not be limited to, evening school, summer school, community college courses, adult education, preparation courses for high school equivalency testing, vocational training, work experience, programs to enhance self concept and parenting courses. School districts which are awarded grants pursuant to this Section shall be authorized to provide day care services to children of students who are eligible and desire to enroll in programs established and funded under this Section, but only if and to the extent that such day care is necessary to enable those eligible students to attend and participate in the programs and courses which are conducted pursuant to this Section. School districts and regional offices of education may claim general State aid under Section 18-8.05 [105 ILCS 5/18-8.05] or evidence-based funding under Section 18-8.15 [105 ILCS 5/18-8.15] for students enrolled in truants' alternative and optional education programs, provided that such students are receiving services that are supplemental to a program leading to a high school diploma and are otherwise eligible to be claimed for general State aid under Section 18-8.05 or evidence-based funding under Section 18-8.15, as applicable.
105 ILCS 5/13B-70. Truancy and attendance problems.
If a student is a chronic or habitual truant as defined in Section 26-2a of this Code [105 ILCS 5/26-2a] or if a child has been ordered to attend school, the school district may consider the student for placement in an alternative learning opportunities program specifically designed to prevent truancy, supplement instruction for students with attendance problems, intervene to decrease chronic truancy, and provide alternatives to high school completion. A program operating pursuant to the truants' alternative and optional education program may contract with a school district or consortium to provide these services.
105 ILCS 5/26-1. Compulsory school age; exemptions.
Whoever has custody or control of any child (i) between the ages of 7 and 17 years (unless the child has already graduated from high school) for school years before the 2014-2015 school year or (ii) between the ages of 6 (on or before September 1) and 17 years (unless the child has already graduated from high school) beginning with the 2014-2015 school year shall cause such child to attend some public school in the district wherein the child resides the entire time it is in session during the regular school term, except as provided in Section 10-19.1 [105 ILCS 5/10-19.1], and during a required summer school program established under Section 10-22.33B [105 ILCS 5/10-22.33B]; provided, that the following children shall not be required to attend the public schools:
1. Any child attending a private or a parochial school where children are taught the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools, and where the instruction of the child in the branches of education is in the English language;
2. Any child who is physically or mentally unable to attend school, such disability being certified to the county or district truant officer by a competent physician licensed in Illinois to practice medicine and surgery in all its branches, a chiropractic physician licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 [225 ILCS 60/1 et seq.], a licensed advanced practice registered nurse, a licensed physician assistant, or a Christian Science practitioner residing in this State and listed in the Christian Science Journal; or who is excused for temporary absence for cause by the principal or teacher of the school which the child attends, with absence for cause by illness being required to include the mental or behavioral health of the child for up to 5 days for which the child need not provide a medical note, in which case the child shall be given the opportunity to make up any school work missed during the mental or behavioral health absence and, after the second mental health day used, may be referred to the appropriate school support personnel; the exemptions in this paragraph (2) do not apply to any female who is pregnant or the mother of one or more children, except where a female is unable to attend school due to a complication arising from her pregnancy and the existence of such complication is certified to the county or district truant officer by a competent physician;
3. Any child necessarily and lawfully employed according to the provisions of the law regulating child labor may be excused from attendance at school by the county superintendent of schools or the superintendent of the public school which the child should be attending, on certification of the facts by and the recommendation of the school board of the public school district in which the child resides. In districts having part-time continuation schools, children so excused shall attend such schools at least 8 hours each week;
4. Any child over 12 and under 14 years of age while in attendance at confirmation classes;
5. Any child absent from a public school on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day for the reason that he is unable to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day, because of religious reasons, including the observance of a religious holiday or participation in religious instruction, or because the tenets of his religion forbid secular activity on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day. A school board may require the parent or guardian of a child who is to be excused from attending school because of religious reasons to give notice, not exceeding 5 days, of the child's absence to the school principal or other school personnel. Any child excused from attending school under this paragraph 5 shall not be required to submit a written excuse for such absence after returning to school; A district superintendent shall develop and distribute to schools appropriate procedures regarding a student's absence for religious reasons, how schools are notified of a student's impending absence for religious reasons and the requirements of section 26-2b of this
6. Any child 16 years of age or older who (i) submits to a school district evidence of necessary and lawful employment pursuant to paragraph 3 of this Section and (ii) is enrolled in a graduation incentives program pursuant to Section 26-16 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/26-16] or an alternative learning opportunities program established pursuant to Article 13B of this Code [105 ILCS 5/13B-1 et seq.];
7. A child in any of grades 6 through 12 absent from a public school on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day for the purpose of sounding "Taps" at a military honors funeral held in this State for a deceased veteran. In order to be excused under this paragraph 7, the student shall notify the school's administration at least 2 days prior to the date of the absence and shall provide the school's administration with the date, time, and location of the military honors funeral. The school's administration may waive this 2-day notification requirement if the student did not receive at least 2 days advance notice, but the student shall notify the school's administration as soon as possible of the absence. A student whose absence is excused under this paragraph 7 shall be counted as if the student attended school for purposes of calculating the average daily attendance of students in the school district. A student whose absence is excused under this paragraph 7 must be allowed a reasonable time to make up school work missed during the absence. If the student satisfactorily completes the school work, the day of absence shall be counted as a day of compulsory attendance and he or she may not be penalized for that absence; and
8. Any child absent from a public school on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day for the reason that his or her parent or legal guardian is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat-support postings. Such a student shall be granted 5 days of excused absences in any school year and, at the discretion of the school board, additional excused absences to visit the student's parent or legal guardian relative to such leave or deployment of the parent or legal guardian. In the case of excused absences pursuant to this paragraph 8, the student and parent or legal guardian shall be responsible for obtaining assignments from the student's teacher prior to any period of excused absence and for ensuring that such assignments are completed by the student prior to his or her return to school from such period of excused absence.
105 ILCS 5/26-2a. [Terms defined].
A "truant" is defined as a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance and who is absent without valid cause, as defined under this Section, from such attendance for more than 1% but less than 5% of the past 180 school days. […]
"Chronic or habitual truant" shall be defined as a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance and who is absent without valid cause from such attendance for 5% or more of the previous 180 regular attendance days.
"Truant minor" is defined as a chronic truant to whom supportive services, including prevention, diagnostic, intervention and remedial services, alternative programs and other school and community resources have been provided and have failed to result in the cessation of chronic truancy, or have been offered and refused.
105 ILCS 5/26-3. Teachers furnished list-Report of non-attendance-Report of persons not on list.
The clerk or secretary of the school board of all school districts except those employing district truant officers shall furnish the superintendent of schools at the beginning of the school year a list of the names and addresses of the children living in the district who come under the provisions of this Article and of persons having custody or control of such children. The superintendent shall at the opening of school and at other times when required by the regional superintendent of schools compare the list with the enrollment of the school or schools and report to the regional superintendent of schools the names of persons having custody or control of children included under the provisions of this Article who are truant or who are chronic or habitual truants for whom supportive services and other school resources have failed to correct the truant behavior and who are not in regular attendance at the public school, and the names of such children and their ages, stating in each case, if known, the cause of such absence. The report shall also contain the names of any other persons who were not enumerated in the list at the beginning of school and who have the custody or control of children not attending school. The regional superintendent shall, without delay, place such information at the disposal of the regional truant officer.
105 ILCS 5/26-3a. Report of pupils no longer enrolled in school.
The clerk or secretary of the school board of all school districts shall furnish quarterly on the first school day of October, January, April and July to the regional superintendent and to the Secretary of State a list of pupils, excluding transferees, who have been expelled or have withdrawn or who have left school and have been removed from the regular attendance rolls during the period of time school was in regular session from the time of the previous quarterly report. Such list shall include the names and addresses of pupils formerly in attendance, the names and addresses of persons having custody or control of such pupils, the reason, if known, such pupils are no longer in attendance and the date of removal from the attendance rolls. The list shall also include the names of: pupils whose withdrawal is due to extraordinary circumstances, including but not limited to economic or medical necessity or family hardship, as determined by the criteria established by the school district; pupils who have re-enrolled in school since their names were removed from the attendance rolls; any pupil certified to be a chronic or habitual truant, as defined in Section 26-2a [105 ILCS 5/26-2a]; and pupils previously certified as chronic or habitual truants who have resumed regular school attendance. The regional superintendent shall inform the county or district truant officer who shall investigate to see that such pupils are in compliance with the requirements of this Article.
Each local school district shall establish, in writing, a set of criteria for use by the local superintendent of schools in determining whether a pupil's failure to attend school is the result of extraordinary circumstances, including but not limited to economic or medical necessity or family hardship.
If a pupil re-enrolls in school after his or her name was removed from the attendance rolls or resumes regular attendance after being certified a chronic or habitual truant, the pupil must obtain and forward to the Secretary of State, on a form designated by the Secretary of State, verification of his or her re-enrollment. The verification may be in the form of a signature or seal or in any other form determined by the school board.
The State Board of Education shall, if possible, make available to any person, upon request, a comparison of drop out rates before and after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 94th General Assembly [P.A. 94-916].
105 ILCS 5/26-3b. [Notification of unexcused absence].
Beginning July 1, 1986, if any child enrolled in a public school in grades Kindergarten through 8 is absent from school, and there is no record that such absence is for a valid cause, as defined under Article 26 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/26-1 et seq.], nor notification that the absence has been authorized by the parent, legal guardian or other person having legal custody of such child, an employee or other agent, whether a volunteer or otherwise, designated by the public school in which the child is enrolled shall, within 2 hours after the first class in which the child is enrolled, make a reasonable effort to promptly telephone and notify the parent, legal guardian, or other person having legal custody of the child, of the child's absence from school. Such notification shall not be given for an absence authorized by the parent, legal guardian or other person having legal custody of such child. Prior to any enrollment of a child in a public school, the school district shall notify parents, legal guardians, or other persons having legal custody of a child, of their responsibility to authorize any absence and to notify the school in advance or at the time of any such absence, and that the school requires at least one and not more than 2 telephone numbers be given for purposes of this Section. The school district shall require that such telephone numbers be given at the time of enrollment of the child in school, which said numbers may be changed from time to time upon notification to the school.
The requirements of this Section shall have been met by the school if notification of an absence has been attempted by telephoning the 1 or 2 numbers given the school by the parent, legal guardian or other person having legal custody of a child, whether or not there is any answer at such telephone number or numbers. Further, the requirements of this Section shall have been met if the said notification is given to a member of the household of the child's parent, legal guardian or other person having legal custody of the child, which said member of the household must be 10 years of age or older.
An employee or other agent designated by the public school who in good faith makes a reasonable effort to notify the parent, legal guardian or other person having legal custody of a child of the child's absence from school, when required by this Section, shall not, as a result of his acts or omissions, except wilful or wanton misconduct on the part of such employee or agent in attempting to comply with the notification requirements of this Section, be liable for civil damages.
105 ILCS 5/26-3d. [Truants; collection of data].
All regional superintendents, district superintendents, and special education joint agreement directors shall collect data concerning truants, chronic truants, and truant minor pupils as designated by the State Board of Education. On or before August 15 of each year, this data must be submitted to the State Board of Education.
105 ILCS 5/26-5. Duties of truant officers.
The truant officer of the school district, whenever notified by the Superintendent, teacher, or other person of violations of this Article, or the county truant officer, when notified by the County Superintendent, shall investigate all cases of truancy or non-attendance at school in their respective jurisdictions, and if the children complained of are not exempt under the provisions of this Article, the truant officer shall proceed as is provided in this Article. The county truant officer, within the county and the district truant officers, within their respective districts, shall in the exercise of their duties be conservators of the peace and shall keep the same, suppress riots, routs, affray, fighting, breaches of the peace, and prevent crime; and may arrest offenders on view and cause them to be brought before proper officials for trial or examination.
105 ILCS 5/26-6. List and reports in districts employing truant officers.
In school districts which employ truant officers the clerk or secretary of the school board shall at the beginning of each school year furnish a copy of the last school census to the superintendent of schools (or principal teacher) in the district, together with the names and addresses of the truant officers in the district, and the superintendent, (or principal teacher) shall compare the census list with the enrollment of the school or schools and, from time to time, report to the proper truant officers the names and addresses of persons having custody or control of children included under the provisions of this Article who are truant or who are chronic or habitual truants for whom supportive services and other school resources have failed to correct the truant behavior and who are not in regular attendance at public schools and also the names of persons having custody or control of children who are not in regular attendance at school and whose names are not included in the census list.
105 ILCS 5/26-7. Notice to custodian-Notice of non-compliance.
If any person fails to send any child under his custody or control to some lawful school, the truant officer or, in a school district that does not have a truant officer, the regional superintendent of schools or his or her designee shall, as soon as practicable after he is notified thereof, give notice in person or by mail to such person that such child shall be present at the proper public school on the day following the receipt of such notice. The notice shall state the date that attendance at school must begin and that such attendance must be continuous and consecutive in the district during the remainder of the school year. The truant officer or, in a school district that does not have a truant officer, the regional superintendent of schools or his or her designee shall at the same time that such notice is given notify the teacher or superintendent of the proper public school thereof and the teacher or superintendent shall notify the truant officer or regional superintendent of schools of any non-compliance therewith.
105 ILCS 5/26-8. Determination as to compliance–Complaint in circuit court.
A truant officer or, in a school district that does not have a truant officer, the regional superintendent of schools or his or her designee, after giving the notice provided in Section 26-7 [105 ILCS 5/26-7], shall determine whether the notice has been complied with. If 3 notices have been given and the notices have not been complied with, and if the persons having custody or control have knowingly and wilfully permitted the truant behavior to continue, the regional superintendent of schools, or his or her designee, of the school district where the child resides shall conduct a truancy hearing. If the regional superintendent determines as a result of the hearing that the child is truant, the regional superintendent shall, if age appropriate at the discretion of the regional superintendent, require the student to complete 20 to 40 hours of community service over a period of 90 days. If the truancy persists, the regional superintendent shall (i) make complaint against the persons having custody or control to the state's attorney or in the circuit court in the county where such person resides for failure to comply with the provisions of this Article or (ii) conduct truancy mediation and encourage the student to enroll in a graduation incentives program under Section 26-16 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/26-16]. If, however, after giving the notice provided in Section 26-7 [105 ILCS 5/26-7] the truant behavior has continued, and the child is beyond the control of the parents, guardians or custodians, a truancy petition shall be filed under the provisions of Article III of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 [705 ILCS 405/3-1 et seq.].
105 ILCS 5/26-8a. [Court petition content].
The petition for court action shall include the name of the truant minor, the names and addresses of persons having custody or control of the student, the dates of the truant behavior, the dates and nature of contacts or conferences with the student and the persons having custody or control of the student, and the nature of the supportive services, alternative programs and other school resources the school district provided to that child in an effort to correct that child's truant behavior.
105 ILCS 5/26-8b. [Court petition filing].
When a petition is filed, it shall be set for an adjudicatory hearing within 10 days and acted upon within 30 days, subject to the provisions of the Juvenile Court Act or the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 [705 ILCS 405/1-1 et seq.] if filed thereunder.
105 ILCS 5/26-9. School officers and teachers to assist truant officers.
School officers, superintendents, teachers or other persons shall render such assistance and furnish such information as they have to aid truant officers in the performance of their duties.
105 ILCS 5/26-12. Punitive action.
(a) No punitive action, including out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, or court action, shall be taken against truant minors for such truancy unless appropriate and available supportive services and other school resources have been provided to the student. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 10-22.6 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/26-10-22.6], a truant minor may not be expelled for nonattendance unless he or she has accrued 15 consecutive days of absences without valid cause and the student cannot be located by the school district or the school district has located the student but cannot, after exhausting all available supportive services, compel the student to return to school.
(b) A school district may not refer a truant, chronic truant, or truant minor to any other local public entity, as defined under Section 1-206 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act [745 ILCS 10/1-206], for that local public entity to issue the child a fine or a fee as punishment for his or her truancy.
(c) A school district may refer any person having custody or control of a truant, chronic truant, or truant minor to any other local public entity, as defined under Section 1-206 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, for that local public entity to issue the person a fine or fee for the child's truancy only if the school district's truant officer, regional office of education, or intermediate service center has been notified of the truant behavior and the school district, regional office of education, or intermediate service center has offered all appropriate and available supportive services and other school resources to the child. Before a school district may refer a person having custody or control of a child to a municipality, as defined under Section 1-1-2 of the Illinois Municipal Code [65 ILCS 5/1-1-2], the school district must provide the following appropriate and available services:
(1) For any child who is a homeless child, as defined under Section 1-5 of the Education for Homeless Children Act [105 ILCS 45/1-5], a meeting between the child, the person having custody or control of the child, relevant school personnel, and a homeless liaison to discuss any barriers to the child's attendance due to the child's transitional living situation and to construct a plan that removes these barriers.
(2) For any child with a documented disability, a meeting between the child, the person having custody or control of the child, and relevant school personnel to review the child's current needs and address the appropriateness of the child's placement and services. For any child subject to Article 14 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/14-1.01 et seq.], this meeting shall be an individualized education program meeting and shall include relevant members of the individualized education program team. For any child with a disability under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794), this meeting shall be a Section 504 plan review and include relevant members of the Section 504 plan team.
(3) For any child currently being evaluated by a school district for a disability or for whom the school has a basis of knowledge that the child is a child with a disability under 20 U.S.C. 1415(k)(5), the completion of the evaluation and determination of the child's eligibility for special education services.
(d) Before a school district may refer a person having custody or control of a child to a local public entity under this Section, the school district must document any appropriate and available supportive services offered to the child. In the event a meeting under this Section does not occur, a school district must have documentation that it made reasonable efforts to convene the meeting at a mutually convenient time and date for the school district and the person having custody or control of the child and, but for the conduct of that person, the meeting would have occurred.
105 ILCS 5/26-13. Absenteeism and truancy policies.
School districts shall adopt policies, consistent with rules adopted by the State Board of Education, which identify the appropriate supportive services and available resources which are provided for truants and chronic truants.
105 ILCS 5/26-14. Truancy programs for dropouts.
Any dropout, as defined in Section 26-2a [105 ILCS 5/26-2a], who is 17 years of age may apply to a school district for status as a truant, and the school district shall permit such person to participate in the district's various programs and resources for truants. At the time of the person's application, the district may request documentation of his dropout status for the previous 6 months.
105 ILCS 5/26-15. Truant minors.
When a regional superintendent has reason to believe that a pupil is a truant minor as defined in Section 26-2a [105 ILCS 5/26-2a], the regional superintendent may report such pupil under the provisions of the Juvenile Court Act.
a) This Part establishes the procedure and criteria for approval of applications, submitted by eligible applicants to the State Board of Education, for grants to assist the applicants in establishing truants' alternative and optional education programs as authorized in Section 2-3.66 of the School Code. [105 ILCS 5/2-3.66]
b) Programs funded under this grant shall serve students identified as one of the following:
1) a truant, as defined in Section 26-2a of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/26-2a]; or
2) a chronic or habitual truant, as defined in Section 26-2a of the School Code; or
3) a dropout, as defined in Section 26-2a of the School Code; or
4) a potential dropout, which is any student subject to compulsory attendance as defined in Article 26 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/Art. 26] and whose school absences or pattern of school attendance impedes the student's learning or contributes to the student's failure to meet State and/or district learning standards. Attendance problems may include chronic truancy, truancy, selective absences, excessive absences or a pattern of absences or tardiness. In assessing whether marginal school attendance problems would place a student within the definition of "potential dropout," consideration shall be given to a student's personal involvement in the education process, apparent motivation to receive an education, or any continued and obvious apathy or disaffection for education, particularly, when indications of uninvolvement, lack of motivation or disaffection are coupled with currently known individual or family circumstances that, if they remain unresolved, would be reasonably expected to result in escalating attendance problems.
205.30. Eligible applicants.
a) Proposals for grant awards under Section 2-3.66 of the School Code may be submitted only by public school districts, regional offices of education, public university laboratory schools approved by the State Board of Education pursuant to Section 18-8.05(K) of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/18-8.05(K)], charter schools, community college districts, or area vocational centers
b) Joint applications for funds may be submitted. If a joint application is submitted, then an administrative agent shall be designated
1) The superintendent from each of the participating school districts and the official authorized to submit a proposal on behalf of any other eligible entity as defined in subsection (a) of this Section shall sign the joint application.
2) A school district or other eligible entity shall only participate in one proposal for a program.
205.35. Required program components.
Each program funded pursuant to Section 2-3.66 of the School Code shall include at least the following components.
a) A comprehensive community-based program planning process that includes, but is not limited to, the participation of business, community organizations, social service providers, government agencies, parents, school administrators and other staff members, including teachers, and students, and that leads to the development and implementation of a strategic plan.
1)The plan shall contain program goals and objectives developed by analyzing social and academic challenges in the community to be served by the truants' alternative and optional education program.
2) The plan shall identify available community resources and services and describe how these will be coordinated to meet the needs of students identified as eligible for the program (see Section 205.20(b) of this Part).
205.60. Allocation of funds.
The State Superintendent of Education shall determine the amount of individual grant awards on the basis of the following criteria. The final award amounts will be based on these criteria following negotiation with the grant recipient:
a) the total funds appropriated for truants' alternative and optional education programs;
b) the program needs, resources, and amounts requested in the top-ranked proposals determined pursuant to Section 205.50(a) and (b) of this Part; and
c) the need to assure delivery of truancy prevention services and truants' alternative and optional education programs on a statewide basis and in a manner that will have the greatest impact in preventing truancy and students from dropping out of school.