Truancy Laws in Mississippi (MS)
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
Research has shown that truancy is frequently associated with dropping out of school and juvenile crime.
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 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
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
Should Parents Be Arrested?
Do you think that parents, with children who are excessively truant, should 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:
- Michigan and
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
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 by being proactive and working with their child's school.
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?
Do you think the threat of jail time is enough to prompt parents to address truancy,
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