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Truancy Laws in Mississippi (MS)

Robert Odell Jr is the senior video editor and second videographer on two community service commercials about the consequences of truancy.

Truancy Means Unexcused Absences

Truancy means that a child is absent from school without a proper excuse. In Mississippi, a child between 6 and 17, who misses part of or an entire school day without an appropriate reason, is considered truant.

Absenteeism Equals Truancy

In Mississippi, a child between 6 and 17, who misses part of or an entire school day without proper excuse, is considered truant.

In Mississippi, a child between 6 and 17, who misses part of or an entire school day without proper excuse, is considered truant.

Truancy Leads to Failing Grades

According to Jackson, Mississippi Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray; truancy leads to:

  • Excessive, unexcused absences
  • Failing grades
  • Negative activity and
  • A non-productive lifestyle

Truancy is a Major Concern

"Truancy leads to unexcused absences, and when you have those, that leads to a failing grade. Unfortunately, that path ultimately leads to negative activity and, based on conversations I've had with our youth court and detention center, the disengaged and disenfranchised student turns to nonproductive activity."

— JPS Superintendent Cedrick Gray

Truancy Leads to Negative Activity

A disengaged and disenfranchised student turns to non-productive activity.

A disengaged and disenfranchised student turns to non-productive activity.

Mississippi Allows 12 Unexcused Absences

Section 37-13-91 of the Mississippi code allows for 12 unexcused absences per student during a 180-day school year.

Unexcused Absences In Mississippi

To have an unexcused absence in Mississippi, a student must:

  • Be between 6 and 17 years of age
  • Not be in the company of his or her legal guardian
  • Not be attending an associational meeting such as

..............1. A religious meeting
..............2. A school meeting
..............3. An authorized theatrical event
..............4. An official athletic event

  • Miss part of or an entire school day


Parents Are Considered Guilty

In the state of Mississippi, a parent or guardian who has been notified of their child's excessive absences, "Shall be guilty of contributing to the neglect of a child."

Parents Can Be Imprisoned

Mississippi state statute says a parent or guardian of an excessively truant child can be found guilty and imprisoned for contributing to the neglect of a child.

Mississippi state statute says a parent or guardian of an excessively truant child can be found guilty and imprisoned for contributing to the neglect of a child.

Should Parents Be Arrested?

Other States Follow Suit

Like the state of Mississippi, other states have followed suit and will arrest the parents of truant students. Those states include:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Michigan and
  • Ohio

Mississippi; like Dayton, Ohio, will arrest the parents of truant children. The video below is a graphic illustration of how parents of absentee children can be hauled off to jail.

Parents are Arrested

 Parents in DeKalb County, Georgia, like Mississippi parents, can be arrested for having habitually truant children.

Parents in DeKalb County, Georgia, like Mississippi parents, can be arrested for having habitually truant children.

 Like Mississippi parents who have truant children, Jacksonville, Florida parents can be arrested and charged with educational neglect.

Like Mississippi parents who have truant children, Jacksonville, Florida parents can be arrested and charged with educational neglect.

The video below indicates that Mississippi is not the only state that will arrest the parents of kids who do not go to class.

Parents Get Jail Time

According to Mississippi state statute (section 97-5-39), parents found "guilty of contributing to the neglect of a child" can be:

  • Fined for an amount not to exceed $1,000.00 or
  • Imprisoned for up to one year

DeKalb County law officials in Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida law officers, also arrest parents who allow their children to be habitually truant. They, like Mississippi parents, are charged with educational neglect.

Parents Can Curb Truancy

The video, entitled STAY IN SCHOOL, is a testament to the fact that parents who become proactive and work with their child's school will more than likely see marvelous results. The video also indicates that parents who do not engage may find their children gravitating to counterproductive activity.

Is The Threat Of Jail Time Enough?

Sources

Statutes, codes, and regulations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://casetext.com/statute/mississippi-code-1972/title-97-crimes/chapter-5-offenses-affecting-children/section-97-5-39-contributing-to-the-neglect-or-delinquency-of-a-child-felonious-abuse-andor-battery-of-a-child

American Institutes for Research, AIR. School Discipline Laws & Regulations by State & Category. Retrieved from https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/discipline-compendium/choose-type/Mississippi/Attendance and truancy

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Numbers ED-ESE-12-O-0035 and ED-ESE-16-A-0002.

FindLaw. (n.d.). Mississippi Code Title 37. Education § 37-13-91. Retrieved from https://codes.findlaw.com/ms/title-37-education/ms-code-sect-37-13-91.html

FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

Justia US Law (n.d.) Mississippi Code :: Title 37 - EDUCATION :: Chapter 13 - CURRICULUM; SCHOOL YEAR AND ATTENDANCE :: MISSISSIPPI COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE LAW :: § 37-13-91 - Compulsory school attendance requirements generally; enforcement of law. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-37/chapter-13/mississippi-compulsory-school-attendance-law/section-37-13-91/

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2015 Robert Odell Jr

Comments

Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on September 11, 2018:

Hello Marie Eason,

If you have already tried contacting The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services you may want to also try The Mississippi Department of Human Services, which is a separate agency.

Reaching out to church and other community leaders may prove to be encouraging and very beneficial for you and your grandchild.

Remember that Mississippi state statue says a parent or guardian of an excessively truant child can be found guilty and imprisoned for contributing to the neglect of a child. I realize that this is a family situation; however, this seems to be a situation of serious neglect. For this reason, you may need to go to your nearest police precinct and file a report.

In Mississippi you can call 1-800-222-8000 or (601) 432-4570 to report abuse or neglect of a child. It may be very helpful to get council from a good lawyer. The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project: (601) 960-9577 and Mississippi Center-Legal Services: (601) 948-6752 may be useful resources that can be used to point you in the right direction.

Please do not to give up on that bright young lady. Keep trying and you will receive the help that you need.

Marie eason on September 11, 2018:

I have been trying to get c.p.s to help me because my grandchild has NEVER been registered in school. She is 8 1/2. Yrs old.! Exactly who is responsible for enforcing this law. If they have never been registered no one seems to care. I would love an answer’ she is a very bright young lady whose life is being ruined by neglect’ I keep getting the run around