What Is Considered Truancy in Ohio?
Missing school is normal, and many school-aged kids will miss a day or two each semester. However, parents and their children can face serious consequences if the child is considered a habitual truant and repeatedly misses school. Under Ohio Revised Code §2151.011, a habitual truant is a compulsory school-aged minor who is absent from public school, without a valid excuse, for:
- 30 or more consecutive hours,
- 42 or more hours within one school month, or
- 72 or more hours in a school year.
Your child’s school should have a handbook that outlines their policies concerning legitimate school excuses. Ohio state laws also allow for students to be excused:
- If they have a mental or physical condition that prevents them from attending school or a special education program
- If they are being homeschooled by a qualified teacher
- For a temporary period if they are doing work for their parents and are over age 14
Consequences of Truancy for Juveniles
Before a school can report a child to the juvenile courts, they should take steps to encourage the parent and child to ensure they return to school. After a child is deemed a habitual truant and reported to the courts, you should retain an attorney as they can help you mitigate the penalties, fight to protect your rights, and navigate the juvenile court system. Truant students can face the following penalties if they are found to be truant.
- Mandatory completion of alternative education programs
- Mandatory counseling
- Mandatory drug or alcohol testing
- Community service
- Removal from their home and placement in the foster care system
- Loss of their drivers’ license
Can a Parent Go to Jail for Truancy in Ohio?
Parents are legally obligated to ensure their children attend school and receive an education. In some cases, you may be required to attend school with your child and/or adhere to the school’s intervention plan. After your child is deemed truant in juvenile court, you can be charged with child neglect (also known as Nonsupport of Dependents) and/or contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child, which can result in criminal fines and jail time. A conviction for nonsupport of a dependent can result is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Other penalties include:
- Mandatory parenting and/or education courses
- Community service
- Court-ordered counseling
Get Legal Help
If a complaint has been filed concerning your child’s truancy, you should consult with our attorneys as soon as possible. At Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC, our skilled attorneys are here to help protect the rights of you and your child and advise you of your legal options.Learn more about our services and schedule a case consultation today. You can reach our office by calling (937) 403-9033 or completing this online form.