be@school Parent Group Meeting Video

To watch the online Parent Group Meeting video, please click here.

Por favor haga clic aquí para ver el video en línea de la Reunión de Padres de Familia.

Si aad u daawato fiidiyawga Kulanka Ururka Waalidiinta fadlan (riix halkan, click here).

be@school

COVID-19 Update:

There are many challenges families are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As staff members with the be@school program, we understand how difficult school engagement is during this unpredictable time. Now more than ever, school engagement can be difficult given the unique learning environments students are facing daily.

In response, a new COVID-19 referral has been established, which school reporters send to the be@school program. The referral outlines the complications a student may be encountering beyond unexcused absences, such as limited or no access to the Internet or lack of resources to complete schoolwork.

The referral acts as a preventative measure to ensure students struggling with engagement are not simply declared truant. The referral connects families to voluntary case management services, which assist finding community resources.  

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When the new school year arrives, our office revs up its anti-truancy program, which began more than 20 years ago.

Now called be@school, this program is committed to keeping students out of the criminal justice system by focusing on attendance. Studies show that when students go to school, every day, on time, they are more likely to succeed. And if you succeed at school, you are less likely to commit crimes.

For years, the format was simple. After a child notched three unexcused absences, a letter was sent to the parents. If unexcused absences continued, a meeting was arranged with the parents, a school official and someone from our be@school program.

While that model worked fine, it lacked context. Be@school staff realized they needed to have a better understanding on why a child misses school, and delved deeper into the issue to find answers. Now, staff with the be@school program might send a child with only seven missed days to child protection, but someone who missed 20 might avoid the court system. They have also discovered the student with only seven missed days might be dealing with severe parental neglect in the home. But the child with 20 absences has a loving family with transportation obstacles. They are willing to take the help offered and improve their child’s attendance.

In fact, be@school staff have found that the chief reason for tardiness or missing school days is transportation problems. The second major hurdle is a conflict between the child’s parent and a teacher or school administrator. Mediation can be set up through  be@school to bring both sides together.

Statistics indicate the new approach is working. The program numbers show that in the past five years the number of students referred from schools in Hennepin County to be@school has increased between 6 and 9 percent each year. And yet, the number of cases be@school sent to child protection for neglect dropped by 15 percent.

We are proud of this program and the good work the be@school staff is doing.

 

Mike Freeman
Hennepin County Attorney

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Program overview

Please click here for information on the be@school program.

Por favor haga clic aquí para información sobre el programa de Be@school.

Fadlan (halkan riix, click here) si aad u hesho macluumaad ku saabsan barnaamijka iskuulada ee be@school.






be@school meetings

Parent Group Meeting (PGM)

When the student has seven unexcused absences, the school will make a referral to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office. A letter will be sent to the parents, directing them to attend a Parent Group Meeting (PGM).

At the PGM, a be@school representative will explain compulsory school attendance laws, consequences for unexcused absences, the benefits of education, and the services available to assist families.

In some cases, families will be assigned to a community agency at this time. These agencies can offer services to help get the student to school and can refer the family to other services.

Completing the Parent Group Meeting online

The Parent Group Meeting (PGM) is also available online.

In the Parent Group Meeting letter, there is a unique family code. Parents can use this access code to view the online PGM and receive credit for attending this meeting instead of attending in person. The online PGM is available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali languages.

Proceed to the online PGM.

School Team Attendance Review (STAR) meeting

The next step in the process after the PGM is the STAR meeting (School Team Attendance Review). This meeting will be attended by the parent(s), the student (if over 12 years old), a program representative, the community agency, and a school representative, if available. The goal of the STAR meeting is a specific plan to resolves barriers that are negatively impacting the student’s attendance. Throughout this process, the assigned community agency will monitor the student’s attendance weekly and continue to provide assistance.

Who can/should attend meetings

Students 12 years of age or older should attend meetings with their parent(s)/guardian(s). Parents are welcome to bring anyone supportive of the family to the meeting. This may include other service providers.

Meeting attendance questions

If you miss a Parent Group Meeting (PGM) or School Team Attendance Review (STAR) meeting, please contact be@school:


Attendance record questions

Attendance information is provided to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office by the school. Parents should call or visit the school contact person listed in their letter to discuss attendance information.

Attendance laws

Minnesota statutes relating to school attendance

The statutes listed below are those which are most applicable to child protection cases related to truancy.

Compulsory instruction

Parental Responsibility: Minnesota Statute 120A.22 subdivision 1
•    The parent of a child is primarily responsible for assuring that the child acquires knowledge and skills that are essential for effective citizenship.

Ages and terms: Minnesota Statute 120A.22 subdivision. 5(a)
•    Every child between seven and seventeen years of age must receive instruction unless the child has graduated. Every child under the age of seven who is enrolled in a half-day kindergarten, or a full-day kindergarten program on alternate days, or other kindergarten programs shall receive instruction. Except as provided under subdivision 6, a parent may withdraw a child under the age of seven from enrollment for good cause.

Withdrawal from school: Minnesota Statute 120A.22 subdivision 8(1) and (2)
•    Any student who is 17-years-old seeking to withdraw from school must attend a meeting with school personnel, in addition to the student's parent or guardian, to discuss alternative educational opportunities available to the student. Both student and parent or guardian must sign a written election to withdraw from school.

Legitimate exemptions: Minnesota Statute 120A.22 subdivision 12
•    Child illness, medical, dental, orthodontic, or counseling appointments;
•    Family emergencies;
•    The death or serious illness or funeral of an immediate family member;
•    Active duty in any military branch of the United States;
•    The child has a condition that requires ongoing treatment for a mental health diagnosis; and
•    Other exemptions included in the district’s school attendance policy.

Violations; penalties: Minnesota Statute 120A.34
•    Any person who fails or refuses to provide for instruction of a child of whom the person has legal custody, and who is required by section 120A.22 subdivision 5, to receive instruction, when notified so to do by a truant officer or other official, or any person who induces or attempts to induce any child unlawfully to be absent from school, or who knowingly harbors or employs, while school is in session, any child unlawfully absent from school, shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

Educational neglect and habitual truant

Minnesota Statute 260C.007 subdivision 6(3) and subdivision 6(14)

•    “Child in need of protection services means:

-A child who is in need of protection or services because the child is without necessary education because the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian is unable or unwilling to provide that care.

-A child who is in need of protection or services because the child is a habitual truant.

Criminal and civil jurisdiction for contribution to need for protection or services

Minnesota Statute 260C.425 subdivision 1(a)
•    Any person who by act, word, or omission encourages, causes, or contributes to the need for protection or services is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Minnesota Statute 260C.335 subdivision 1
•    The juvenile court has civil jurisdiction over persons contributing to the need for protection or services of a child under the provision of this section.


Program statistics

2020-2021 School Year

October 2020
Reports included on this dashboard are based on a student’s accrued unexcused absences. The new be@school COVID-19 report, based on a student not engaging in distance learning, is not included. 1039 COVID-19 reports were submitted in October 2020.

2019-2020 School Year

June 2020
In addition to the regular reports, the be@school received 13 COVID-19 Child Welfare Referrals in June 2020.

May 2020
Reports included on this dashboard are based on the student’s accrued unexcused absences. The new be@school COVID-19 report, based on a student not engaging in distance learning, is not included. 301 COVID-19 reports were submitted in May 2020.

April 2020
Reports included on this dashboard are based on the student’s accrued unexcused absences. The new be@school COVID-19 report, based on a student not engaging in distance learning, is not included. 250 COVID-19 reports were submitted in April 2020.

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019



BASIL and other school resources

BASIL

All educational neglect and truancy reports are submitted online, through the Be At School Information Link (BASIL). Schools log in to BASIL to submit attendance reporting and get online case updates. School personnel can request a BASIL account by clicking the link. Fill out the required information and select the school you work at (schools are arranged by district). It may take 1-2 business days to process the request. Once an account has been accepted, a temporary password and further instruction will be email to you. 

Sample documents and training materials

Related links

Brochures, reports and other communication materials

Brochures

"Did You Know" brochure

"be@school" brochure

be@school video






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