NORTH CAROLINA -- A Candler mom is arrested, charged with her daughter's truancy.
There is a law, the North Carolina Compulsory School Attendance Law, which holds the parent(s) responsible for their children's truancy.
In this case, Tonya Charleson, 47, has a daughter with 10 unexcused absences. The social worker filed the charges. The school met with the mom to make their decision whether the mom was making "a good faith" effort to comply. The warrant information stated she did not make that effort.
Parents need to be made aware that this law exists. Here is a portion of the law and the link to read more of the law is below it.
(e) The principal or the principal's designee shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of his or her child's excessive absences after the child has accumulated three unexcused absences in a school year. After not more than six unexcused absences, the principal or the principal's designee shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian by mail that he or she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified under the established attendance policies of the State and local boards of education. Once the parents are notified, the school attendance counselor shall work with the child and the child's family to analyze the causes of the absences and determine steps, including adjustment of the school program or obtaining supplemental services, to eliminate the problem. The attendance counselor may request that a law enforcement officer accompany him or her if the attendance counselor believes that a home visit is necessary.
(f) After 10 accumulated unexcused absences in a school year, the principal or the principal's designee shall review any report or investigation prepared under G.S. 115C-381 and shall confer with the student and the student's parent, guardian, or custodian, if possible, to determine whether the parent, guardian, or custodian has received notification pursuant to this section and made a good faith effort to comply with the law. If the principal or the principal's designee determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has not made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the principal shall notify the district attorney and the director of social services of the county where the child resides. If the principal or the principal's designee determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has made a good faith effort to comply with the law, the principal may file a complaint with the juvenile court counselor pursuant to Chapter 7B of the General Statutes that the child is habitually absent from school without a valid excuse. Upon receiving notification by the principal or the principal's designee, the director of social services shall determine whether to undertake an investigation under G.S. 7B-302.
(g) Documentation that demonstrates that the parents, guardian, or custodian were notified and that the child has accumulated 10 absences which cannot be justified under the established attendance policies of the local board shall constitute prima facie evidence that the child's parent, guardian, or custodian is responsible for the absences. (1955, c. 1372, art. 20, s. 1; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 5; 1963, c. 1223, s. 6; 1969, c. 339; c. 799, s. 1; 1971, c. 846; 1975, c. 678, s. 2; c. 731, s. 3; 1979, c. 847; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985, c. 297; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 769, s. 2; 1998-202, s. 13(aa); 2001-490, s. 2.38; 2003-304, s. 3; 2009-404, s. 1.)
§ 115C-379. Method of enforcement.
It shall be the duty of the State Board of Education to formulate the rules that may be necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this Part. The Board shall prescribe (i) what shall constitute unlawful absence, (ii) what causes may constitute legitimate excuses for temporary nonattendance due to a student's physical or mental inability to attend or a student's participation in a valid educational opportunity such as service as a legislative page or a Governor's page, and (iii) under what circumstances teachers, principals, or superintendents may excuse pupils for nonattendance due to immediate demands of the farm or the home in certain seasons of the year in the several sections of the State.
The rules shall require school principals to authorize a minimum of two excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by the faith of a student or the student's parents. The rules may require that the student's parents give the principal written notice of the request for an excused absence a reasonable time prior to the religious observance. The student shall be given the opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.
It shall be the duty of all school officials to carry out such instructions from the State Board of Education, and any school official failing to carry out such instructions shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor: Provided, that the compulsory attendance law herein prescribed shall not be in force in any local school administrative unit that has a higher compulsory attendance feature than that provided herein. (1955, c. 1372, art. 20, s. 2; 1963, c. 1223, s. 7; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 887; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2007-186, s. 1; 2010-112, s. 1.)
§ 115C-380. Penalty for violation.
Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 115C-379, any parent, guardian or other person violating the provisions of this Part shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1955, c. 1372, art. 20, s. 4; 1969, c. 799, s. 2; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 888; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2005-318, s. 1.)
*editor's note: A criminal charge is an accusation, by law, a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven in a court of law.