Nebraska Revised Statute 79-209
Compulsory attendance; nonattendance; school district; duties; collaborative plan; considerations; referral to county attorney; notice.
(1) In all school districts in this state, any superintendent, principal, teacher, or member of the school board who knows of any violation of subsection (2) of section 79-201 shall within three days report such violation to the attendance officer of the school, who shall immediately investigate the case. When of his or her personal knowledge or by report or complaint from any resident of the district, the attendance officer believes that there is a violation of subsection (2) of section 79-201, the attendance officer shall immediately investigate such alleged violation.
(2) All school boards shall have a written policy on attendance developed and annually reviewed in collaboration with the county attorney of the county in which the principal office of the school district is located. The policy shall include a provision indicating how the school district will handle cases in which excessive absences are due to illness. The policy shall also state the circumstances and number of absences or the hourly equivalent upon which the school shall render all services to address barriers to attendance. Such services shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Verbal or written communication by school officials with the person or persons who have legal or actual charge or control of any child; and
(b) One or more meetings between, at a minimum, a school attendance officer, a school social worker, or a school administrator or his or her designee, the person who has legal or actual charge or control of the child, and the child, when appropriate, to attempt to address the barriers to attendance. The result of the meeting or meetings shall be to develop a collaborative plan to reduce barriers identified to improve regular attendance. The plan shall consider, but not be limited to:
(i) The physical, mental, or behavioral health of the child;
(ii) Educational counseling;
(iii) Educational evaluation;
(iv) Referral to community agencies for economic services;
(v) Family or individual counseling;
(vi) Assisting the family in working with other community services; and
(vii) Referral to restorative justice practices or services.
(3) The school may report to the county attorney of the county in which the person resides when the school has documented the efforts it has made as required by subsection (2) of this section that the collaborative plan to reduce barriers identified to improve regular attendance has not been successful and that the child has been absent more than twenty days per year. The school shall notify the child's family in writing prior to referring the child to the county attorney. Failure by the school to document the efforts required by subsection (2) of this section is a defense to prosecution under section 79-201 and adjudication for educational neglect under subdivision (3)(a) of section 43-247 and habitual truancy under subdivision (3)(b) of section 43-247. Illness that makes attendance impossible or impracticable shall not be the basis for referral to the county attorney.
(4) Nothing in this section shall preclude a county attorney from being involved at any stage in the process to address excessive absenteeism.
- Laws 1901, c. 70, § 2, p. 456;
- Laws 1903, c. 95, § 2, p. 552;
- Laws 1905, c. 141, § 1, p. 578;
- Laws 1909, c. 130, § 1, p. 474;
- R.S.1913, § 6925;
- Laws 1919, c. 155, § 9, p. 350;
- Laws 1921, c. 53, § 2, p. 231;
- C.S.1922, § 6509;
- C.S.1929, § 79-1914;
- R.S.1943, § 79-1922;
- Laws 1949, c. 256, § 17, p. 696;
- Laws 1986, LB 528, § 8;
- Laws 1994, LB 1250, § 5;
- R.S.1943, (1994), § 79-211;
- Laws 1996, LB 900, § 13;
- Laws 1998, Spec. Sess., LB 1, § 6;
- Laws 1999, LB 272, § 28;
- Laws 2010, LB800, § 35;
- Laws 2011, LB463, § 19;
- Laws 2012, LB933, § 1;
- Laws 2014, LB464, § 34;
- Laws 2019, LB595, § 39;
- Laws 2020, LB751, § 1.
The plain language of this section does not provide that a parent's absence at the collaborative plan meeting is a defense to adjudication. In re Interest of Reality W., 302 Neb. 878, 925 N.W.2d 355 (2019).
The school's failure to document the efforts required by subsection (3) of this section is a defense to adjudication for habitual truancy. In re Interest of Reality W., 302 Neb. 878, 925 N.W.2d 355 (2019).
Under the former law, subsection (3) of this section permitted a school attendance officer to make a report to the county attorney if a child is absent more than 20 days per year or the hourly equivalent, even if all of the absences are excused due to illness or otherwise. It mandated such a report if the child exceeds the 20-day absence limitation and any of such absences are not excused. In re Interest of Samantha C., 287 Neb. 644, 843 N.W.2d 665 (2014).
Under the former law, this section had no effect upon the juvenile court's exclusive and original jurisdiction over juveniles found to be within the meaning of section 43-247(3)(b). In re Interest of Samantha C., 287 Neb. 644, 843 N.W.2d 665 (2014).
Absence of a guardian from a collaborative plan meeting is not an absolute defense in a truancy proceeding where the school documented sufficient efforts to obtain the guardian's presence. In re Interest of Cole J., 26 Neb. App. 951, 925 N.W.2d 365 (2019).
The school's duty to provide services in an attempt to address excessive absenteeism comes from this section, relating to compulsory attendance and the possibility of a parent's being subjected to a criminal sanction. The school has no duty to provide reasonable efforts before an adjudication under subdivision (3)(a) of section 43-247 of the juvenile code. In re Interest of Laticia S., 21 Neb. App. 921, 844 N.W.2d 841 (2014).