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Truancy Laws in Mississippi (MS)

Updated on January 14, 2018
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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 proper excuse, is considered truant.

Truancy is an unexcused absence

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. | Source

Research has shown that truancy is frequently associated with dropping out of school and juvenile crime.

Truancy leads to failing grades

According to JPS Superintendent Cedrick Gray; truancy leads to:

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

"Truancy leads to un-excused 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 non-productive 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. | Source

Mississippi allows 12 unexcused absences

Section 37-13-91 of the Mississippi code allows for 12 unexcused absences per student during the course of 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 official 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 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.
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. | Source

Should Parents Be Arrested?

Do you think that parents, with children who are excessively truant, should be arrested?

See results

Other States Also Arrest The Parents Of Truant Students

Like the state of Mississippi, other states 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 truant children can be hauled off to jail.

Parents Are Arrested For HavingTruant Children

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

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 of truant students can get jail time

Mississippi state statute (section 97-5-39) says that a parent who has been 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, FL 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 by being proactive and working with their child's school.

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 wonderful results. The video also indicates that parents who do not engage may find their children gravitating to negative activity.

Is The Threat Of Jail Time Enough?

Do you think the threat of jail time is enough to prompt parents to address truancy,

See results

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