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