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. (http://www.mass.gov/courts/selfhelp/family/cra.html)
• 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.