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  • Writer's pictureBrett Saucier


Updated: Apr 6, 2020



I. Definition

A student is habitually truant if the student:

A. Is subject to the compulsory attendance law; and


1. Is at least seven years of age and has not completed grade six and has the equivalent of seven full days of unexcused absences or five consecutive school days of unexcused absences during a school year; or

2. Has completed grade six and has the equivalent of 10 full days of  unexcused absences or seven consecutive school days of unexcused absences during a school year.

II. Attendance Coordinators

The Board shall appoint one or more attendance coordinators in accordance with state law.  

III. Truancy Procedure

As required by law, the following procedure shall be followed when a student is habitually truant:

A. The principal, upon determining that a student is truant, shall notify the Superintendent of the student’s truancy within five school days of the last unexcused absence.

B. Within five school days of notification, the Superintendent/ designee will refer the student who has been determined to be truant to the school’s student assistance team.

C. The student assistance team will meet to determine the cause of the truancy and assess the effect of the student’s absences, as well as any future absences for the student. If it is determined that a negative effect exists, the student assistance team shall develop an intervention plan to address the student’s absences and the negative effect of these absences.  

1. Frequent communication between the teacher and the family;

2. Changes in the learning environment;

3. Mentoring;

4. Student counseling;

5. Tutoring, including peer tutoring;

6. Placement into different classes

7. Evaluation for alternative education programs;

8. Attendance contracts;

   9. Referral to other agencies for family services; and

10. Other interventions including but not limited to referral to the school attendance coordinator, student assistance team, or dropout prevention committee.

Failure of the student or the student’s parents to appear at scheduled meetings does not preclude school administrators from implementing a plan to address a student’s truancy.  

D. As part of correcting the problem informally, the Superintendent/designee shall require the student and his/her parents to attend one or more meetings with the student’s teacher or other school personnel designated by the Superintendent.  The purpose of the meeting(s) is to reinforce the plan referenced in Paragraph A or to develop an alternative plan. Such meetings may involve others including but not limited to case managers, therapeutic treatment providers, and representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Corrections.  The Superintendent/designee shall schedule the meeting(s) at mutually convenient times.

C. If the Superintendent/designee is unable to correct the student’s truancy, the Superintendent/designee shall serve or cause to be served upon the parent in-hand or by registered mail a written notice that the student’s attendance at school is required by law.  The notice shall:

1. State that the student is required to attend school pursuant to 20-A M.R.S.A. § 5001-A (the compulsory attendance law);

2. Explain the parent’s right to inspect the student’s attendance records, attendance coordinator’s reports, and principal’s reports;

3. Explain that the failure to send the student to school and maintain the student in regular attendance is a civil violation in accordance with 20-A M.R.S.A. § 5053-A and explain the possible penalties; 

4. State that the Superintendent/designee may notify local law enforcement authorities of a violation of the habitual truancy statute, and, if the violation falls under Section I.B.2, may notify the Department of Health and Human Services; and 

5. Outline the plan developed to address the student’s habitual truancy and the steps that have been taken to implement that plan.

D. Prior to notifying local law enforcement authorities, the Superintendent/designee shall schedule at least one meeting as required in Section III.B and may invite a local prosecutor.

E. If after three school days after the service of the notice described in Section III.C of this policy the student remains truant and the parent and student refuse to attend the meeting referred to in Section III.D, the Superintendent/designee shall report the facts of the unlawful absence to local law enforcement authorities. 

  Local law enforcement may proceed with enforcement action unless the student is at once placed in an appropriate school or otherwise meets the requirements of the compulsory attendance law.

F. When a student is determined to be habitually truant and in violation of the compulsory attendance law, and the Superintendent/designee has made a good faith attempt to meet the requirements of Section 

III.       The Superintendent/designee shall notify the Board and local law enforcement authorities of the truancy. After this notification, a local law enforcement officer who sees the truant student may transport the student to the appropriate school if the truant student is off school grounds during school hours and not under the supervision of school personnel.

IV. Annual Report to Commissioner

The Superintendent shall submit an annual report regarding habitual truancy to the Commissioner of Education by October 1.  The report must identify the number of habitual truants in the school administration unit in the preceding school year; describe the school unit’s efforts to deal with habitual truancy; account for actions brought to enforce the habitual truancy law; and include any other information on truancy requested by the Commissioner.

Legal Reference: 20-A M.R.S.A. §§ 5001-A; 5051-A to 5054

Cross Reference: JEA - Compulsory Attendance

JFC – Dropout Prevention Committee

Adopted: January 31, 2008

Revised: November 16, 2017


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