Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What happens when a child misses too much school?

This blog is ADVERTISING MATERIAL for Charles R. Samuels, Attorney at Law, PLLC  4908 Monument Ave., Ste. 100, Richmond, VA 23230; 804-342-1995

In the Richmond Times-Dispatch recently there was an article about new approaches to address truancy in the City of Richmond. I applaud the City's work to encourage parents to send their children to school.  Over the years I have represented a number of children who have been alleged to be a child in need of supervision due to truancy and there is even a codified process to ensure school attendance. 

"“Child in need of supervision” means: A child who, while subject to compulsory school attendance, is habitually and without justification absent from school, and (i) the child has been offered an adequate opportunity to receive the benefit of any and all educational services and programs that are required to be provided by law and which meet the child's particular educational needs, (ii) the school system from which the child is absent or other appropriate agency has made a reasonable effort to effect the child's regular attendance without success, and (iii) the school system has provided documentation that it has complied with the provisions of § 22.1-258." (emphasis added).

Va. Code § 22.1-258 provides criteria and procedure for filing a "CHINSup-Truancy" petition with the court.  The student must have missed 5 days of school without indication that parent is aware of and supports absence AND a reasonable effort to notify the parent has failed.  The school also must make  reasonable efforts to ensure that direct contact is made with the parent, either in person or through telephone conversation, to obtain an explanation for the pupil's absence and to explain to the parent the consequences of continued nonattendance.  Next, school representatives along with the student and his parent need to develop a plan to address the absences.  

If, after all this is completed, the student misses another day of school, then the school has 10 days to schedule a conference with the student and the parent and the actual conference must be held within 15 days.  If the student misses another day then the school can file the "CHINSup-Truancy" petition with the Juvenile Court.

This process is not a quick fix.  It requires diligence by the school administration and at least two to three court appearances.  If the school system proves their case then the child is found to be in need of supervision due to truancy.  The impacts of that finding will be discussed in a later posting.  

Charles R. Samuels is an attorney in Richmond, Virginia practicing disability law.  He may be reached at 804-342-1995 x302.

ADVERTISING MATERIAL - Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case.  Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by the lawyer.

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