Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Everything you need to know about Nebraska's Compulsory Education and Mandatory Attendance Laws

A complete list of the official statutes related to the compulsory education of Nebraska's school aged children.

Section 79-201: Compulsory Education Law:


Protections for home school:

Where a juvenile is adjudicated solely on the basis of habitual truancy from school…and the status of truancy is subsequently terminated by the lawful execution of a parental release authorizing discontinuation of school…a juvenile court may terminate its jurisdiction without a finding that such termination is in the best interests of the juvenile.

State Powers:

The state, having a high responsibility for the education of its citizens, has the power to impose reasonable regulations for the control and duration of basic education. Parents have a right to send their children to private schools but do not have the right to be completely unfettered by reasonable government regulations as to the quality of the education furnished and the maintenance of minimum standards.

Protections for parents:

Violation of this law is not, in itself, evidence of neglect under section.

This section did not operate to violate constitutional right of parents to educate their children in accordance with the tenets of their religious faith.

This section has no application to physically or mentally handicapped child attending special school.

Statute 79-209: Mandatory Attendance/ Truancy Law:

"All school districts shall have a written policy on excessive absenteeism developed in collaboration with the county attorney of the county in which the principal office of the school district is located... The number of absences in the policy shall not exceed five days per quarter or the hourly equivalent. School districts may use excused and unexcused absences for purposes of the policy... If the child is absent more than twenty days per year or the hourly equivalent, the attendance officer shall file a report with the county attorney... Nothing in this section shall preclude a county attorney from being involved at any stage in the process to address excessive absenteeism."

Statute 79-527: Reporting and Documentation of Truancy:

“Public school district or a nonpublic school system shall report on a monthly basis to the Commissioner of Education as directed by the commissioner regarding the number of and reason for any long-term suspension, expulsion, or excessive absenteeism of a student.”

Statute 79-527.01: Truancy Intervention Task Force:

“The task force shall study and evaluate the data contained in the reports required…and shall develop recommendations to reduce incidents of excessive absenteeism. The task force may contact a school district or a county attorney for additional information. The task force shall report to the Legislature on or before July 1, 2011, and each July 1 thereafter.”

Statute 79-2121: Superintendent's Plan and the GOALS Initiative:

The superintendents... that are members of a learning community shall develop and participate in a plan... to reduce excessive absenteeism including a process to share information regarding at-risk youth with the goal of improving educational outcomes, providing effective intervention that impact risk factors, and reducing unnecessary penetration deeper into the juvenile justice system. For purposes of this section, at-risk youth means children who are (1) under the jurisdiction of the Office of Probation Administration, are (2) under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services, are (3) otherwise involved in the juvenile justice system, or (4) have been absent from school for more than five days per year or the hourly equivalent except when excused by school authorities or when a documented illness makes attendance impossible or impracticable.


  1. I am terribly offended that my child may be labeled as truant due to excused absences, but even more offended by the idea that that truancy label would earn him the label of "at-risk youth" despite his exemplary academic record, and therefore lumped into the same category as a juvenile delinquent.

  2. Has anyone looked up the definition of truant?

  3. one who stays out of school without permission

  4. The NFF isn't in a battle over the definition of truancy just a battle over who has the authority to give "permission" for a child to be absent from school and how that authority is being used.

  5. This law is not about truancy, it's about attendance. The word "truancy" was crossed out of the original legislation and replaced with "excessive absences." Although politicians, administrators and judges tout the great work they're doing in reducing truancy, the fact of the matter is that truancy reduction is not even being measured. The state of Nebraska is not requesting which types of absences are being reduced because their mandate is to increase attendance, not reduce truancy. This information was provided to me by Roger Breed, Commissioner of Education for the State of Nebraska.