The Truancy Department works to reduce truancy by offering support and services to truant youth and their families. Our goals are to:
Offer early intervention to parents and truant children
Work with schools to help improve attendance of truant students
Collaborate with community partners to promote regular attendance
Unexcused absences can result in truancy. Whenever your child is absent, please be sure to send a written excuse to the school office so his or her absence can possibly be excused.
Policy and Law
Truancy is a legal term that refers only to unexcused absences. A Tennessee student is considered truant at five (5) unexcused absences and may be subject to legal intervention. The five (5) days of unexcused absences need not be five (5) consecutive days of unexcused absences.
Under the “compulsory education” laws in Tennessee, children must regularly attend school from the time they are 6 years old until they turn 18. Except as otherwise provided by law, a child may be truant under the law who is less than six (6) years of age, provided that a child may be withdrawn six (6) weeks of initial enrollment without penalty. (MSCS Policy 6006)
Progressive Truancy Intervention
Memphis-Shelby County Schools employs a progressive truancy intervention plan that aims to enforce the compulsory attendance law, provide support to families of truant students, and minimize the need for legal action. (Ref. Policy 6016)
The first tier of intervention requires, at minimum, a conference with the student, parent/guardian and administrator, or designee that results in a student attendance plan. Subsequent tiers should include individualized assessment of the reasons a student has been absent, and if necessary, referrals to school/district-based services or community agencies aimed at addressing the attendance issue. Referral to Juvenile Court will be the final option.