State Laws Regarding Attendance


The following State Laws outline the responsibilities of parents/guardians for monitoring and preventing children’s absences from school: 

• The Commonwealth of Massachusetts states that parents are required to ensure children between the ages of 6 to 16 attend school. (Chapter 76, section 19 of the MA General Laws)

 • Parents/guardians must provide the school with accurate contact information and must inform the school regarding the reason for a child’s absence. (Chapter 76, section 1A of the MA General Laws) 

• Educational professionals are mandated to report to the Department of Children and Family (DCF) their belief that a child is suffering from educational neglect.

 • Without a warrant, School Attendance Officers may apprehend truants found wandering, and return them to school. 

• If truancy persists, School Attendance Officers are mandated to file a Child Requiring Assistance application with Juvenile Court. If a student is in elementary school, a criminal complaint for Failure to Cause School Attendance will be filed against the parent. (

 • Families that receive benefits under Transitional Aid  Aid to Families with Dependent Children are subject to specific attendance requirements.

Notification and Contact Information:  Chapter 76, section 1A of the Massachusetts General Laws states that parents/guardians must be provided each year with the instructions for calling a designated phone number at a designated time to inform the school of the absence of a student and the reason for the absence. In addition, parents/guardians must provide the school with a home, work or other emergency telephone number so that they may be contacted during the school day so the school may call and inquire about said absence.