Iowa School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy

Discipline Compendium

Iowa School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy

Category: Discipline Addressing Specific Code of Conduct Violations
Subcategory: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy
State: Iowa

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LAWS

299.5A. Mediation.

1. If a child is truant as defined in section 299.8, school officers shall attempt to find the cause for the child's absence and use every means available to the school to assure that the child does attend. For a child who has completed educational requirements through the sixth grade, the means may include but are not limited to the use of an attendance cooperation process which substantially conforms with the provisions of section 299.12. If the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian, or child refuses to accept the school's attempt to assure the child's attendance or the school's attempt to assure the child's attendance is otherwise unsuccessful, the truancy officer shall refer the matter to the county attorney for mediation or prosecution.

2. If the matter is referred for mediation, the county attorney shall cause a notice of the referral to be sent to the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian and designate a person to serve as mediator in the matter. If mediation services are available in the community, those services may be used as the designated mediation service. If mediation services are not available in the community, mediation shall be provided by the county attorney or the county attorney's designee. The mediator shall contact the school, the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian, and any other person the mediator deems appropriate in the matter and arrange meeting dates and times for discussion of the child's nonattendance. The mediator shall attempt to ascertain the cause of the child's nonattendance, attempt to cause the parties to arrive at an agreement relative to the child's attendance, and initiate referrals to any agencies or counseling that the mediator believes to be appropriate under the circumstances.

3. If the parties reach an agreement, the agreement shall be reduced to writing and signed by a school officer, parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian, and the child. The mediator, the school, and the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian shall each receive a copy of the agreement, which shall set forth the settlement of the issues and future responsibilities of each party.

4. The school district shall be responsible for monitoring any agreements arrived at through mediation. If a parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian refuses to engage in mediation or violates a term of the agreement, the matter shall be rereferred to the county attorney for prosecution under section 299.6. The county attorney's office or the mediation service shall require the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian and the school to pay a fee to help defray the administrative cost of mediation services. The county attorney's office or the mediation service shall establish a sliding scale of fees to be charged parents, guardians, and legal or actual custodians based upon ability to pay. A parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian shall not be denied the services of a mediator solely because of inability to pay the fee.

5. The mediator may refer a truant to the juvenile court if mediation breaks down without an agreement being reached.

299.8. "Truant" defined.

Any child of compulsory attendance age who fails to attend school as provided in this chapter, or as required by the school board's or school governing body's attendance policy, or who fails to attend competent private instruction or independent private instruction under chapter 299A, without reasonable excuse for the absence, shall be deemed to be a truant. A finding that a child is truant, however, shall not by itself mean that the child is a child in need of assistance within the meaning of chapter 232 and shall not be the sole basis for a child in need of assistance petition.

299.9. Truants–rules for punishment.

The board of directors of a public school district or the authorities in charge of an accredited nonpublic school shall prescribe reasonable rules for the punishment of truants.

232.191. Early intervention and follow-up programs.

Contingent on a specific appropriation for these purposes, the department shall do the following:

2. Develop or expand a school-based program addressing truancy and school behavioral problems for youth ages twelve through seventeen.

280.25. Information sharing–interagency agreements.

2. The purpose of the agreement shall be to reduce juvenile crime by promoting cooperation and collaboration and the sharing of appropriate information among the parties in a joint effort to improve school safety, reduce alcohol and illegal drug use, reduce truancy, reduce in-school and out-of-school suspensions, and to support alternatives to in-school and out-of-school suspensions and expulsions which provide structured and well-supervised educational programs supplemented by coordinated and appropriate services designed to correct behaviors that lead to truancy, suspension, and expulsions and to support students in successfully completing their education.

299.10. Truancy officers–appointment.

The board of each school district may appoint a truancy officer. The board of each school district, which does not appoint a truancy officer for the district, shall designate a suitable person to collect information on the numbers of children in the district who are truant.

The board may appoint a member of the police force, marshal, teacher, school official, or other suitable person to serve as the district truancy officer.

299.11. Duties of truancy officer.

1. The truancy officer may take into custody without warrant any apparently truant child and place the child in the charge of the school principal, or the principal's designee, designated by the board of directors of the school district in which the child resides, or in the charge of any nonpublic school or any authority providing competent private instruction or independent private instruction as defined in section 299A.1, designated by the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian; but if it is other than a public school, the instruction and maintenance of the child shall be without expense to the school district. If a child is taken into custody under this section, the truancy officer shall make every reasonable attempt to immediately notify the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of the child's location.

2. The truancy officer shall promptly institute proceedings against any person violating any of the provisions of sections 299.1 through 299.5A.

299.12. Violation of attendance policy–attendance cooperation meeting–agreement.

1. For the purposes of this section, "school truancy officer" means a truancy officer appointed under section 299.10 or any other person designated by a public school board or a governing body of an accredited nonpublic school to administer provisions of this section.

2. This section is not applicable to a child who is receiving competent private instruction or independent private instruction in accordance with the requirements of chapter 299A. If a child is not in compliance with the attendance requirements established under section 299.1, and has not completed educational requirements through the sixth grade, and the school has used every means available to assure the child does attend, the school truancy officer shall contact the child's parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian to participate in an attendance cooperation meeting. The parties to the attendance cooperation meeting may include the child and shall include the child's parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian and the school truancy officer. The school truancy officer contacting the participants in the attendance cooperation meeting may invite other school officials, a designee of the juvenile court, the county attorney or the county attorney's designee, or other persons deemed appropriate to participate in the attendance cooperation meeting.

3. The purpose of the attendance cooperation meeting is for the parties participating in the meeting to attempt to ascertain the cause of the child's nonattendance, to cause the parties to arrive at an agreement relative to addressing the child's attendance, and to initiate referrals to any services or counseling that the parties believe to be appropriate under the circumstances. The terms agreed to shall be reduced to writing in an attendance cooperation agreement and signed by the parties to the agreement. Each party signing the agreement shall receive a copy of the agreement, which shall set forth the cause identified for the child's nonattendance and future responsibilities of each party.

4. If the parties to an attendance cooperation meeting determine that a monitor would improve compliance with the attendance cooperation agreement, the parties may designate a person to monitor the agreement. The monitor shall be a designee of the public school board or governing body of the accredited nonpublic school. The monitor may be a volunteer if the volunteer is approved by all parties to the agreement and receives a written authorization for access to confidential information and for performing monitor activities from the child's parent, guardian, or custodian. A monitor shall contact parties to the attendance cooperation agreement on a periodic basis as appropriate to monitor performance of the agreement.

5. If the parties fail to enter into an attendance cooperation agreement, or the child's parent, guardian, or custodian acting as a party violates a term of the attendance cooperation agreement or fails to participate in an attendance cooperation meeting, the child shall be deemed to be truant.

6. A public school board or governing body of an accredited nonpublic school shall exercise the authority granted under this section as a means of increasing and ensuring school attendance of young children, as education is a critical element in the success of individuals and good attendance habits should be developed and reinforced at an early age.

299.15. Reports by school officers and employees.

All school officers and employees shall promptly report to the secretary of the school corporation any violations of the truancy law of which they have knowledge, and the ยง 299.15, secretary shall inform the president of the board of directors who shall, if necessary, call a meeting of the board to take such action thereon as the facts justify.

REGULATIONS

No relevant regulations found.

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