• Endorsed by
      Chippewa County 50th Circuit Court Family Division
      91st District Court
      Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Indians Tribal Court
      Chippewa County Public Schools

      The Law

      Lack of school attendance is an ongoing issue in Chippewa County. Research has shown a direct correlation between student attendance and academic achievement. Various law enforcement, school, and court officials have worked collaboratively to strengthen this community’s commitment to the education of youth.

      The attendance and the participation of children in an educational program set the foundation for their future. School is a setting for children to develop not only academic skills, but also social skills, positive peer relationships, and athletic achievements. It is one of the key opportunities for the development of self-esteem. This opportunity is best served with the combined efforts of parents, school personnel, and community agencies.

      1. The Compulsory Education law requires that “every parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of a child from the age of six to the child’s sixteenth birthday, shall send that child to the public schools during the entire school year. The child’s attendance shall be continuous and consecutive ... "Violation of this law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine up to $50.00, probation for up to 2 years, or some combination of jail, fine and/or probation." These cases are handled in District Court of the jurisdiction where the offense occurs.

        A violation of this law occurs “if a child is repeatedly absent from school without a valid excuse” or the adult responsible for the child does not make EVERY attempt possible to get the child to school.
      2. The Chippewa County Ordinance #94-1 (Parental Responsibility) states that parents are responsible “to require the minor to attend regular school sessions and to prevent the minor from being absent from school without parental or school permission”. Violation of this ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.00"

        A violation of this ordinance occurs when a parent knew or should have known that his/her child was likely to be truant and failed to take timely and appropriate steps to prevent it.

      Definitions

      Days absent - Days absent are simply (school defined) absences, and do not include behavioral suspensions and school related functions. Days counted are cumulative. A count is taken from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, not semester by semester.

      Parents/guardian - Custodial parent or guardian the child currently resides with at the time of the truant behavior.

      Truancy - When a child is repeatedly absent from school without a valid excuse and a parent, guardian, or other person in parental relation fails to send a child under his or her control to the public school or other school listed under MCL 380.1561, the child is truant.

      Complaint - A criminal petition, filed by school officials, indicating truant behavior by a child, child’s parent, or guardian. The petition is forwarded to the county prosecutor for review and authorization. If the petition is completed appropriately and the truancy protocol has been followed, the petition will be authorized and forwarded to the 50th Circuit Court Family Division or 91st District Court for disposition.

      Tardies - Defined by each school as "minutes late" will count toward absences in the protocol. Three (3) tardies equal one (1) absence.

      In accordance with the State of Michigan Compulsory Attendance Law, and in cooperation with the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office, Sault Area Schools will follow the procedures listed below when students age six to 16 years of age accumulate excessive absences.

      After the 6th Absence

      When a student reaches their 6th absence in one or more of his/her classes, a school official will contact the parent and/or student regarding the excessive absences. The purpose of the contact will be to discuss the Attendance Policy, Chippewa County Truancy Protocol and the consequences if the student continues to be absent from school.

      After the 9th Absence

      A school official will attempt to contact the parent/guardian to discuss the student’s ongoing attendance issue. If the parent/guardian cannot be contacted by phone, a restricted certified letter will be mailed to the adult responsible for the student, along with a copy of the schools attendance policy, student’s attendance record and the Chippewa County Truancy Protocol.

      After the 12th Absence

      An attendance-planning meeting will be held at the school. The student and parent/guardian will be required to attend this meeting. Failure to attend the meeting will result in a Complaint being filed with the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office.

      Further Absences

      A complaint will be forwarded to the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office.

      ***In accordance with the Chippewa County Truancy Protocol, any student receiving a 3rd unexcused tardy recorded in a given school year will have an absence recorded in the student attendance record, which will be counted toward the six (6) day limit. For subsequent tardies, absences would only be recorded after each time 3 additional unexcused tardies have accumulated and so on.

      What School Official Must Do

      To prove a case in court, it will be necessary for school officials to document every action taken in potential truancy cases. That means keeping a record of all contacts with the parent and/or child, including who was involved in the contact, the date, time and location of the contact, and a summary of what was said or done.

      Procedure

      In order to implement our efforts to deal with the truancy problem, the following procedure must be followed and documented (see attached Checklist):

      1. First Contact - 6 Absences
        A school employee in charge of attendance will attempt to make contact with the parent/ guardian and/or the student to discuss the attendance issue. Contact will be attempted by both phone and letter.

      2. Second Contact - 9 absences
        A school employee in charge of attendance will attempt to make contact with the parent/guardian to discuss the student’s ongoing attendance issue. Contact will be attempted by both phone and letter. A restricted certified letter will be sent to the adult/s responsible for the student clearly explaining the attendance issue as well as their responsibilities as parent/guardian of student.

      3. Third Contact - 12 Absences
        An attendance-planning meeting will be held at the school. The student and parent/guardian will be required to attend this meeting. Failure to attend the meeting will result in a Complaint being filed with the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office.

      4. Further Absences 
        School officials have made every attempt to address the attendance issue with the parent/guardian and the student. As required by Compulsory School Attendance Act and the Chippewa County Truancy Protocol, the school will file a complaint with the Chippewa County Prosecutors office for review and disposition.