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SENATE BILL NO. 309
INTRODUCED BY J. BOHLINGER
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT GENERALLY REVISING THE SCHOOL COMPULSORY ENROLLMENT AND ATTENDANCE LAWS; REQUIRING A STUDENT TO REMAIN IN SCHOOL UNTIL AGE 18 OR THE COMPLETION OF THE 12TH GRADE, WHICHEVER COMES EARLIER; REQUIRING A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ADOPT AN ATTENDANCE POLICY; REVISING THE PROCEDURES FOR GIVING NOTICE OF AN UNEXCUSED ABSENCE; ALLOWING A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO FILE INFORMATION WITH THE COURT ON A TRUANT CHILD IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE YOUTH COURT ACT; ALLOWING A MUNICIPALITY TO ENACT A TRUANCY ORDINANCE; REVISING THE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE COMPULSORY ENROLLMENT AND ATTENDANCE LAWS; AMENDING SECTIONS 20-5-102, 20-5-103, AND 20-5-106, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 20-5-102, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-5-102. Compulsory enrollment and excuses. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2),
any a parent, guardian, or
other person who is responsible for the care of any a child who is 7 years of age or older prior to the first day of school in
any school fiscal year shall cause enroll the child to be instructed in the program prescribed by the board of public
education pursuant to 20-7-111 until the later earlier of the following dates:
(a) the child's
16th 18th birthday;
(b) the date of completion of the work of the
8th 12th grade.
(2) A parent, guardian, or other person shall enroll the child in the school assigned by the trustees of the district within
the first week of the school term or when
he the parent, guardian, or other person establishes residence in the district unless
the child is:
(a) enrolled in a school of another district or state under any of the tuition provisions of this title;
(b) provided with supervised correspondence study or supervised home study under the transportation provisions of this title;
(c) excused from compulsory school attendance upon a determination by a district judge that attendance is not in the best interest of the child;
(d) excused by the board of trustees upon a determination that attendance by a child who has attained the age of 16 is not in the best interest of the child and the school; or
(e) enrolled in a nonpublic or home school that complies with the provisions of 20-5-109. For the purposes of this
subsection (2) (e), a home school is the instruction by a parent of
his a child, stepchild, or ward in his the parent's residence
and a nonpublic school includes a parochial, church, religious, or private school."
Section 2. Section 20-5-103, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-5-103. Compulsory attendance and excuses -- district attendance policy. (1) Except as provided in subsection
any a parent, guardian, or other person who is responsible for the care of any a child who is 7 years of age or older prior
to the first day of school in any school fiscal year shall cause the child to attend the school in which he the child is enrolled
for the school term and each school day therein of the school term prescribed by the trustees of the district until the later
earlier of the following dates:
(a) the child's
16th 18th birthday;
(b) the date of completion of the work of the
8th 12th grade.
(2) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply
in the following cases if:
The the child has been excused under one of the conditions specified in 20-5-102 .;
The the child is absent because of illness, bereavement, or other reason prescribed by the policies of in accordance
with an attendance policy adopted by the trustees ., as provided in subsection (3); or
The the child has been suspended or expelled under the provisions of 20-5-202.
(3) (a) The trustees of a school district shall adopt an attendance policy specifying the reasons that a child may be absent from school under subsection (2)(b).
(b) The policy may not deny a student credit in a course or subject solely because of the student's absence from school. The attendance policy must specify the conditions under which a student may be permitted to take examinations missed during an absence.
(c) The trustees may establish a policy that allows a student to be assigned to a supervised period of detention or to a supervised directed study program that need not be held during the regular school day. The policy must specify the conditions under which credit may be given for work completed during the period of detention or under the directed study program.
(d) The policy may include a provision allowing a student who is 16 years of age or older to attend a vocational, technical, or adult education program in lieu of attending high school or to attend school on a part-time basis."
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Definition. As used in 20-5-106 and [section 5], "truancy" means the absence of a child from school for part or all of 1 or more days during which the attendance officer, principal, or teacher has not been notified by the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of the child as to the cause for the absence. The term includes intermittent attendance carried on for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of 20-5-106.
Section 4. Section 20-5-106, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-5-106. Truancy. (1) (a) Whenever the attendance officer discovers a child truant from school or a child subject to
compulsory attendance who is not enrolled in a school providing the required instruction and has not been excused under
the provisions of this title,
he the attendance officer shall notify in writing the parent, guardian, or other person responsible
for the care of the child that the continued truancy or nonenrollment of his the child shall will result in his prosecution
under the provisions of this section.
(b) The notice must be given before the end of the second school day after receiving a report of an unexcused absence. The notice may be by personal contact, by telephone call, or by mail, except that notice by personal contact or by telephone must be attempted before notice by mail may be given. A written record must be kept of all contacts by an attendance officer with a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a child.
(2) (a) If the child is not enrolled and in attendance at a school or excused from school within
2 days 1 day after the
receipt of the notice, the attendance officer shall file a complaint against such the parent, guardian, or other person
responsible for the care of the child in a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Each day of continued truancy after the issuance of a complaint by the attendance officer constitutes a separate offense.
(3) The school attendance officer may file information on a child who is habitually truant, as defined in 41-5-103, with the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under Title 41, chapter 5. Filing information on a child under this subsection does not preclude concurrent prosecution of the child's parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child's care under this section.
(2) If convicted, such person shall be fined not less than $5 or more than $20. In the alternative, he may be required to
give bond in the penal sum of $100, with sureties, conditioned upon his agreement to cause the enrollment of his child
within 2 days thereafter in a school providing the courses of instruction required by this title and to cause the child to attend
that school for the remainder of the current school term. If a person refuses to pay a fine and costs or to give a bond as
ordered by the court, he shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a term of not less than 10 days or more than 30 days."
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Municipal truancy ordinances. A municipality may enact an ordinance prohibiting a child from being truant from school. The ordinance must indicate which of the following dispositions are available to the municipal court:
(1) suspension of the child's driver's license or instruction permit for not less than 30 days or more than 90 days. The court shall immediately take possession of the suspended license or permit and forward it to the department of justice together with a notice stating the reason for and the duration of the suspension.
(2) an order for the child to participate in counseling, community service, or a supervised work program; or
(3) an order for the child to remain at home except during the hours that the child is attending school or a place of worship and traveling to and from school or the place of worship. The order may permit a child to leave home if the child is accompanied by a parent or guardian.
NEW SECTION. Section 6. Penalties. (1) Conviction of a first offense under 20-5-101 through 20-5-106, [section 3], or [section 5] is punishable by a fine of not less than $250 or more than $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 10 days, or both.
(2) A second conviction is punishable by a fine of $350 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 10 days, or both.
(3) A third or subsequent conviction is punishable by a fine of $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 10 days, or both.
NEW SECTION. Section 7. Codification instruction. [Sections 3, 5, and 6] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 20, chapter 5, part 1, and the provisions of Title 20, chapter 5, part 1, apply to [sections 3, 5, and 6].
NEW SECTION. Section 8. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1999.
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Latest Version of SB 309 (SB0309.01)
Processed for the Web on January 27, 1999 (4:16PM)
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Status of this Bill| 1999 Session | Leg. Branch Home
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