Definition of Truancy

Minnesota State Statute (120) requires that children attend school from age 7, or upon enrollment in school, until age 18. A student is required to attend school each and every day and every class period. If a student misses a school day, or part of a school day for legitimate reasons, a parent or guardian must notify the school or this could be considered an unexcused absence.
For students that are 12 and older, it is primarily the student's responsibility to attend school, and the parent's/guardian's responsibility to compel their child to attend school. 

Students under the age of 12 are referred for education neglect. Washington County Community Services in partnership with the County Attorney's Office offers a diversion program to try and correct attendance issues before they end up in the child protection or court system.

Review the grey box on the left to select the appropriate diversion program based on your student's age.

Consequences for Truancy

Potential consequences for a truant child include the following:
  • A child can be placed on probation.
  • A child may lose their driving privileges until age 18.
  • A child care be ordered to pay a fine.
  • A child can be ordered to undergo evaluation and treatment for chemical dependency or mental health issues.
  • A child can be assigned community work service hours.
  • A child can be placed on home detention and not allowed to leave the residence without a parent/guardian unless at school.
  • A child can be removed from their home and placed in shelter care/foster care/ residential treatment facility at the parent's/guardian's cost.
  • A child's cell phone or any other electronic devices can be removed from their possession.
  • A parent/guardian can be ordered to take their child to school at the beginning of each school day.
  • A parent/guardian can be ordered to participate in evaluations and receive services.
  • Any other services or conditions deemed appropriate.