Truancy Intervention

Juvenile Diversion - Truancy Intervention

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Pennington County Truancy Intervention Program is an alternative to the Juvenile Justice System. It is a voluntary program designed to help students and families reduce truant behavior.

Truancy can be a life-long problem

The most far reaching consequences for truancy are not the court sanctions. Children who do not attend school are more likely to become involved in delinquent and ultimately criminal behaviors. These young people are severely limiting their opportunities. The Pennington County Truancy Intervention Program addresses the root causes of truant behavior and links students and families to needed social services or other community-based supports.

What is Truancy?

Truancy is any absence (by a student under the age of 18) for part or all of one or more days from school during which the school has NOT been notified of the legal cause of the absence by the parent/guardian of the absent student. Once a student has accumulated five unexcused absent days, it is the policy of the Rapid City Area School District to refer the name of that student to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Middle School and High School Program

Truancy Workshop: The first step of the program. It is attended by the student and parent or guardian. Truancy Laws and goal setting are discussed. A contract is signed at the end of the workshop. The student’s attendance will be monitored until the end of the school year or until closed by the Truancy Intervention Coordinator.

Truancy Conference: Students that continue to be absent will be required to appear in Truancy Court. Truancy Conference is an informal court attended by a 7th Circuit Judge, Juvenile Diversion Staff, School Administration, the student and parent/guardian. The team will develop a plan to get the student back to school and on the path to graduate. The student is placed on a contract for 60 days. They are required to check in weekly with a Juvenile Diversion Staff member until the contract expires.

Extensive Case Management: The final effort to keep the case out of formal court. The Juvenile Diversion staff will work closely with the family and monitor attendance daily. If the student continues to be absent the case will be sent back for formal charges.

Elementary School Program

Family Meetings: Truancy among elementary aged children is generally due to family issues. The Juvenile Diversion staff works closely with elementary students and their families to connect them with community resources that may be needed to overcome whatever issues the family is facing. The family meets with a Juvenile Diversion staff member and school administration. They are required to sign a contract and the student’s attendance is monitored for 60 days. If the student continues to be absent, the parents can be charged in Magistrate Court for failing to send their child to school.

School Mentors: In the fall of 2012 we will begin partnering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to provide mentors to at-risk elementary students. Students will meet weekly with their mentors after school on early release days. The mentoring program is about starting a friendship, providing guidance and inspiring them to reach their potential.

For questions or additional information please contact:

Kim Morsching
Juvenile Diversion Program
Pennington County States Attorney’s Office
130 Kansas City Street, Suite 300
Rapid City, SD 57701