Schools in Bond, Christian, Effingham, Fayette and Montgomery Counties report truancy to the Regional Office of Education. The Illinois School Code gives the Regional Superintendent of Schools authority to appoint a Truant Officer. The Regional Superintendent has designated a truant officer to serve our five counties. The truant officer works directly with students, parents, school officials and law enforcement agencies with the goal of keeping students in school.
Chronic truancy is defined as a student who is absent without valid cause five percent (nine days) of the previous 180 school days. If excessive truancy is an ongoing issue despite supportive services being provided by the school, a student is to be referred to the Regional Office of Education. Upon receipt of referral, the ROE will immediately begin to monitor the student's attendance. Continued absences will result in formal communication with the family from the ROE with the potential for direct referral to the State's Attorney requesting charges be filed against the parent or legal guardian.
For information or clarification, please contact Julie Morell, Truant Officer for Bond, Christian, Effingham, Fayette and Montgomery Counties at (618) 283-5011.
RAP (Regular Attendance Program) has served the educational service region since 1989. Referrals for students are received from building principals. This program works one-on-one with students in grades K through 8 who exhibit poor attendance. The attendance specialist works as a liaison between the school, family and student. RAP’s goal is to increase a student’s self-esteem while working with the student and his/her family to diagnose problems and promote better school attendance. The RAP specialist helps the student set individual goals for better attendance and then monitors the attendance to reinforce good habits. The Department of Human Services also works closely with RAP on the mandated attendance measures for Public Aid recipients. Additionally, RAP provides a prevention program to grade 3 students in an extended effort to prevent truancy. RAP specialists work closely with the region’s truancy officer to provide effective truancy measures in our region.
For more information or clarification on RAP, please contact Cathy Jones, Attendance Specialist, at (618) 283-9311.
Details on the RAP referral process as well as forms and sample letters are available from the Regular Attendance Program section of the YES:Schools Division web site.
(105 ILCS 5/3-13) (from Ch. 122, par. 3-13)
Sec. 3-13. Truant officer - Duties.Each county superintendent of schools shall appoint a county truant officer. Such appointee shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by the county board, together with his necessary traveling expenses, to be paid out of the county treasury. He shall file his acceptance with the county clerk and shall take and subscribe an oath of office. He shall perform the duties of truant officer in all the school districts of the county; provided, that the school board in any school district may appoint one or more truant officers and fix his or their compensation, which shall be paid by the district.
The county superintendent of schools shall furnish the county truant officer, at the opening of the schools, with a list of the teachers and superintendents employed in his county other than in school districts that employ truant officers.
(Source: P.A. 88-50.)
(105 ILCS 5/26-2a) (from Ch. 122, par. 26-2a)
Sec. 26-2a. A "truant" is defined as a child subject to compulsory school attendance and who is absent without valid cause from such attendance for a school day or portion thereof.
"Valid cause" for absence shall be illness, observance of a religious holiday, death in the immediate family, family emergency, and shall include such other situations beyond the control of the student as determined by the board of education in each district, or such other circumstances which cause reasonable concern to the parent for the safety or health of the student.
"Chronic or habitual truant" shall be defined as a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance and who is absent without valid cause from such attendance for 5% or more of the previous 180 regular attendance days.
"Truant minor" is defined as a chronic truant to whom supportive services, including prevention, diagnostic, intervention and remedial services, alternative programs and other school and community resources have been provided and have failed to result in the cessation of chronic truancy, or have been offered and refused.
A "dropout" is defined as any child enrolled in grades 9 through 12 whose name has been removed from the district enrollment roster for any reason other than the student's death, extended illness, removal for medical non-compliance, expulsion, aging out, graduation, or completion of a program of studies and who has not transferred to another public or private school and is not known to be home-schooled by his or her parents or guardians or continuing school in another country.
"Religion" for the purposes of this Article, includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.
(Source: P.A. 96-1423, eff. 8-3-10; 97-218, eff. 7-28-11.)