Truancy is prosecuted as a Child in Need of Care case. Under state law, children between the ages of 7 and 18 are required to attend school. If a child is deemed truant by his or her school, then a referral is made to the District Attorney's Office. Upon receipt of a truancy referral from the school, our office has discretion about how that case is processed.
Kansas statutes provide that a student is "truant" if they are absent without excuse, for a "significant portion" of the school day, for three consecutive days, or five days in a semester, or seven days in a school year. When that occurs, then the school is to provide notice to the student's parent or guardian. Once notice is received, then any further unexcused absences trigger a report to the District Attorney's Office.
If a truancy case is filed in District Court, then the assigned Judge has discretion to formulate a plan designed to meet the child's needs and get the child to attend school. In some instances, the State may proceed informally and refer the child to services. In other instances, the court will direct the child be monitored on a formal "truancy plan." If the child is placed on a truancy plan, a court services officer will supervise the child's attendance, and work with the child and family to make sure the child attends school. In extreme cases, the court has the authority to place a child outside the home to make sure the child gets an education.
For more information on truancy, please contact our office at (913) 715-3000.