a Illinois Compulsory Attendance Law

Illinois Compilied Statutues

School Code (  105 ILCS 5/ 26-1 et seq. )


Sec. 26-1 Compulsory school age-Exemptions
Sec. 26-2 shall cause him to attend- [age <7 or > 16]
Sec. 26-2a  [truancy definitions]
Sec. 26-2b observance of a religious holiday
Sec. 26-3 Teachers furnished list-Report  of  non-attendance
Sec. 26-3a Report of pupils no longer enrolled in school
Sec. 26-3b  [Notification]
Sec. 26-3d All  regional  superintendents  shall collect  data  concerning  truants
Sec. 26-5. Duties of truant officers
Sec. 26-6 List and reports in districts employing truant officers
Sec. 26-7 Notice to custodian-Notice of non-compliance
Sec. 26-8 Determination as to compliance
Sec. 26-9 School officers and teachers to assist truant officers
Sec. 26-10 Fine for noncompliance
Sec. 26-11 Punishment for certain offenses
Sec. 26-12 Punitive action
Sec. 26-13 Truancy policies
Sec. 26-14 Truancy programs
Sec. 26-15 Reporting truants
Sec. 3-33 of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/3-33)  Truant Minor in Need of Supervision

Illinois School Code - Compulsory Attendence

(105 ILCS 5/26-1)
    Sec. 26-1.  Compulsory school age-Exemptions. Whoever has custody or
control of any child between the ages of 7 and 16 years shall cause such
child to attend some public school in the  district  wherein  the  child
resides the entire time it is in session during the regular school term,
except  as  provided  in  Section  10-19.1, and during a required summer
school program established under Section 10-22.33B; provided, that  the
following children shall not be required to attend the public schools:
    1.  Any  child  attending  a  private  or  a  parochial school where
children are taught the branches of  education  taught  to  children  of
corresponding  age  and  grade  in  the  public  schools,  and where the
instruction of the child in the branches of education is in the  English
    2.  Any child who is physically or mentally unable to attend school,
such disability being certified to the county or district truant officer
by a competent physician or a Christian Science practitioner residing in
this  State  and  listed  in  the  Christian  Science Journal; or who is
excused for temporary absence for cause by the principal or  teacher  of
the school which the child attends; the exemptions in this paragraph (2)
do  not apply to any female who is pregnant or the mother of one or more
children, except where a female is unable to  attend  school  due  to  a
complication  arising  from  her  pregnancy  and  the  existence of such
complication is certified to the county or district truant officer by  a
competent physician;
    3.  Any  child  necessarily  and  lawfully employed according to the
provisions of the  law  regulating  child  labor  may  be  excused  from
attendance  at  school  by  the  county superintendent of schools or the
superintendent of the public school which the child should be attending,
on certification of the facts by and the recommendation  of  the  school
board  of  the  public  school  district  in which the child resides. In
districts having part time continuation  schools,  children  so  excused
shall attend such schools at least 8 hours each week;
    4.  Any  child over 12 and under 14 years of age while in attendance
at confirmation classes;
    5.  Any child absent from a public school on  a  particular  day  or
days  or at a particular time of day for the reason that he is unable to
attend classes or to participate  in  any  examination,  study  or  work
requirements on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day,
because  the  tenets  of  his  religion  forbid  secular  activity  on a
particular day or days or at a particular  time  of  day.   Each  school
board  shall  prescribe  rules  and regulations relative to absences for
religious holidays including, but not limited to, a  list  of  religious
holidays  on  which it shall be mandatory to excuse a child; but nothing
in this paragraph 5 shall be construed to limit the right of any  school
board,  at  its  discretion,  to  excuse  an absence on any other day by
reason of the observance of a religious holiday.   A  school  board  may
require  the  parent  or  guardian  of a child who is to be excused from
attending school due to the observance of a religious  holiday  to  give
notice,  not  exceeding  5  days,  of  the child's absence to the school
principal or other school personnel.  Any child excused  from  attending
school  under this paragraph 5 shall not be required to submit a written
excuse for such absence after returning to school.
(Source: P.A. 89-610, eff. 8-6-96.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-2)
    Sec. 26-2.  Enrolled pupils below 7 or over 16.  Any  person  having
custody  or  control of a child who is below the age of 7 years or above
the age of 16 years and who is enrolled in any of grades 1  through  12,
in  the public school shall cause him to attend the public school in the
district wherein he resides when it is in  session  during  the  regular
school  term  unless  he  is  excused  under  paragraphs 2, 3, 4 or 5 of
Section 26-1.
    A school district shall deny reenrollment in its  secondary  schools
to any child above the age of 16 years who has dropped out of school and
who could not, because of age and lack of credits, attend classes during
the  normal  school  year  and  graduate  before his or her twenty-first
birthday. A district may, however, enroll the child  in  an  alternative
learning  opportunities  program established under Article 13B. No child
shall be denied reenrollment for the above  reasons  unless  the  school
district  first  offers  the  child  due process as required in cases of
expulsion under Section 10-22.6.  If  a  child  is  denied  reenrollment
after  being provided with due process, the school district must provide
counseling to that child and  must  direct  that  child  to  alternative
educational  programs,  including adult education programs, that lead to
graduation or receipt  of  a  GED  diploma.   No  child  may  be  denied
reenrollment in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
(Source: P.A. 92-42, eff. 1-1-02.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-2a)
    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 subject to
compulsory school attendance and who is absent without valid cause  from
such  attendance  for 10% or more of the previous 180 regular attendance
    "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 1 through 12
whose name has been removed from the district enrollment roster for  any
reason  other than his death, extended illness, graduation or completion
of a program of studies and who has not transferred to another public or
private school.
    "Religion" for the purposes of this Article, includes all aspects of
religious observance and practice, as well as belief.
(Source: P.A. 84-1308; 84-1420; 84-1424; 84-1438.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-2b)
    Sec. 26-2b.  Any child enrolled in a public school  who  is  unable,
because of the observance of a religious holiday, to attend classes on a
particular  day  or days or at a particular time of day shall be excused
from any examination or any study or work assignments on such particular
day or days or at  such  particular  time  of  day.   It  shall  be  the
responsibility  of  the  teachers and of the administrative officials of
each public school to make available to each child who  is  absent  from
school  because  of  the observance of a religious holiday an equivalent
opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirements which
he has missed because of such absence on any particular day or  days  or
at  any  particular  time  of day.  No special fees of any kind shall be
charged to the child for making available to such child such  equivalent
opportunity.   No  adverse  or  prejudicial  effects shall result to any
child because of his availing himself of the provisions of this Section.
    The provisions of this Section shall apply only  if  the  rules  and
regulations  of  the school board promulgated pursuant to paragraph 5 of
Section 26-1 have been complied with.
(Source: P.A. 84-212.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-3)
    Sec. 26-3. Teachers furnished list-Report  of  non-attendance-Report
of persons not on list.
    The  clerk  or secretary of the school board of all school districts
except those  employing  district  truant  officers  shall  furnish  the
superintendent  of schools at the beginning of the school year a list of
the names and addresses of the children living in the district who  come
under  the  provisions  of this Article and of persons having custody or
control of such children.  The superintendent shall at  the  opening  of
school  and  at other times when required by the regional superintendent
of schools compare the list with the enrollment of the school or schools
and report to the  regional  superintendent  of  schools  the  names  of
persons  having  custody  or  control  of  children  included  under the
provisions of this Article who are truant or who are chronic or habitual
truants for whom supportive services and  other  school  resources  have
failed  to  correct  the  truant  behavior  and  who  are not in regular
attendance at the public school, and the  names  of  such  children  and
their  ages,  stating in each case, if known, the cause of such absence.
The report shall also contain the names of any other  persons  who  were
not  enumerated  in the list at the beginning of school and who have the
custody or control  of  children  not  attending  school.  The  regional
superintendent  shall,  without  delay,  place  such  information at the
disposal of the regional truant officer.
(Source: P.A. 80-908.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-3a)
    Sec. 26-3a.  Report of pupils no longer enrolled in school.
    The clerk or secretary of the school board of all  school  districts
shall  furnish  quarterly  on  the first school day of October, January,
April and  July  to  the  regional  superintendent  a  list  of  pupils,
excluding  transferees,  who have been expelled or have withdrawn or who
have left school and have been removed from the regular attendance rolls
during the period of time school was in regular session from the time of
the previous quarterly report. Such list shall  include  the  names  and
addresses  of  pupils formerly in attendance, the names and addresses of
persons having custody or control of such pupils, the reason, if  known,
such pupils are no longer in attendance and the date of removal from the
attendance rolls. The regional superintendent shall inform the county or
district  truant  officer  who shall investigate to see that such pupils
are in compliance with the requirements of this Article.
    In  addition,  the  regional  superintendent  of  schools  of   each
educational service region shall report to the State Board of Education,
in  January  of  1992 and in January of each year thereafter, the number
and ages of dropouts, as defined in Section  26-2a, in  his  educational
service  region  during  the  school  year that ended in the immediately
preceding calendar year,  together  with  any  efforts,  activities  and
programs  undertaken,  established,  implemented  or  coordinated by the
regional superintendent of schools that have been effective in  inducing
dropouts to re-enroll in school.
(Source: P.A. 87-303.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-3b)
    Sec. 26-3b.  Beginning July 1, 1986, if  any  child  enrolled  in  a
public  school  in  grades Kindergarten through 8 is absent from school,
and there is no record that such  absence  is  for  a  valid  cause,  as
defined under Article 26 of this Code, nor notification that the absence
has been authorized by the parent, legal guardian or other person having
legal  custody  of  such  child,  an  employee or other agent, whether a
volunteer or otherwise, designated by the public  school  in  which  the
child  is  enrolled shall, within 2 hours after the first class in which
the child is enrolled, make a reasonable effort  to  promptly  telephone
and  notify  the  parent,  legal  guardian, or other person having legal
custody of  the  child,  of  the  child's  absence  from  school.   Such
notification shall not be given for an absence authorized by the parent,
legal  guardian  or  other  person  having  legal custody of such child.
Prior to any enrollment of a  child  in  a  public  school,  the  school
district  shall notify parents, legal guardians, or other persons having
legal custody of a child,  of  their  responsibility  to  authorize  any
absence  and  to notify the school in advance or at the time of any such
absence, and that the school requires at least one and not more  than  2
telephone  numbers  be  given  for  purposes of this Section. The school
district shall require that such telephone numbers be given at the  time
of  enrollment of the child in school, which said numbers may be changed
from time to time upon notification to the school.
    The requirements of this Section shall have been met by  the  school
if notification of an absence has been attempted by telephoning the 1 or
2 numbers given the school by the parent, legal guardian or other person
having  legal  custody of a child, whether or not there is any answer at
such telephone number or numbers.  Further,  the  requirements  of  this
Section  shall  have  been  met  if  the said notification is given to a
member of the household of the child's parent, legal guardian  or  other
person  having  legal  custody  of  the  child, which said member of the
household must be 10 years of age or older.
    An employee or other agent designated by the public  school  who  in
good  faith  makes  a  reasonable  effort  to  notify  the parent, legal
guardian or other person having legal custody of a child of the  child's
absence  from  school,  when  required  by this Section, shall not, as a
result of his acts or omissions, except wilful or wanton  misconduct  on
the  part  of  such  employee  or agent in attempting to comply with the
notification requirements of this Section, be liable for civil damages.
(Source: P.A. 84-178; 84-682.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-3d)
    Sec.  26-3d.   All  regional  superintendents   and   all   district
superintendents in any municipality of 500,000 or more inhabitants shall
collect  data  concerning  truants,  chronic  truants,  and truant minor
pupils from school districts and truant officers as  designated  by  the
State Board of Education.
(Source: P.A. 84-1420.)

    (105 ILCS 5/26-4)
    Sec. 26-4.  (Repealed).
(Source: Repealed by P.A. 88-50.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-5)
    Sec. 26-5. Duties of truant officers.
    The truant officer of the school district, whenever notified by  the
Superintendent,  teacher, or other person of violations of this Article,
or  the  county  truant   officer,   when   notified   by   the   County
Superintendent, shall investigate all cases of truancy or non-attendance
at  school  in  their  respective  jurisdictions,  and  if  the children
complained of are not exempt under the provisions of this  Article,  the
truant  officer shall proceed as is provided in this Article. The county
truant officer, within the county  and  the  district  truant  officers,
within their respective districts, shall in the exercise of their duties
be  conservators  of  the peace and shall keep the same, suppress riots,
routs, affray, fighting, breaches of the peace, and prevent  crime;  and
may  arrest offenders on view and cause them to be brought before proper
officials for trial or examination.
(Source: Laws 1961, p. 31.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-6)
    Sec. 26-6. List and reports in districts employing truant officers.
    In school districts  which  employ  truant  officers  the  clerk  or
secretary of the school board shall at the beginning of each school year
furnish  a  copy  of  the  last  school  census to the superintendent of
schools (or principal teacher) in the district, together with the  names
and   addresses  of  the  truant  officers  in  the  district,  and  the
superintendent, (or principal teacher) shall  compare  the  census  list
with  the  enrollment  of  the school or schools and, from time to time,
report to the proper truant officers the names and addresses of  persons
having  custody  or control of children included under the provisions of
this Article who are truant or who are chronic or habitual  truants  for
whom  supportive  services  and  other  school  resources have failed to
correct the truant behavior and who are not  in  regular  attendance  at
public  schools  and also the names of persons having custody or control
of children who are not in regular attendance at school and whose  names
are not included in the census list.
(Source: P.A. 80-908.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-7)
    Sec. 26-7. Notice to custodian-Notice of non-compliance.
    If any person fails to send any child under his custody  or  control
to  some  lawful school the truant officer shall, as soon as practicable
after he is notified thereof, give notice in person or by mail  to  such
person  that  such child shall be present at the proper public school on
the day following the receipt of such notice. The notice shall state the
date that attendance at school must begin and that such attendance  must
be  continuous  and  consecutive in the district during the remainder of
the school year. The truant officer shall at the  same  time  that  such
notice  is  given  notify  the  teacher  or superintendent of the proper
public school thereof and the teacher or superintendent shall notify the
truant officer of any non-compliance therewith.
(Source: Laws 1961, p. 31.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-8)
    Sec. 26-8.  Determination as to compliance -  Complaint  in  circuit
court.)  All Truant officers after giving the notice provided in Section
26-7 shall determine whether the notice has been complied with.  If  the
notice  has not been complied with, and if the persons having custody or
control have knowingly and wilfully permitted  the  truant  behavior  to
continue, the truant officer shall thereupon make complaint against such
person  to  the  state's  attorney or in the circuit court in the county
where such person resides for failure to comply with the  provisions  of
this  Article.  If, however, after giving the notice provided in Section
26-7 the truant behavior has continued, and  the  child  is  beyond  the
control  of  the  parents,  guardians  or custodians, a truancy petition
shall be filed under the provisions of Article III of the Juvenile Court
Act of 1987.
(Source: P.A. 85-1209.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-8a)
    Sec. 26-8a.  The petition for court action shall include the name of
the truant minor, the names and addresses of persons having  custody  or
control  of the student, the dates of the truant behavior, the dates and
nature of contacts or conferences  with  the  student  and  the  persons
having  custody  or  control  of  the  student,  and  the  nature of the
supportive services, alternative programs and other school resources the
school district provided to that child in  an  effort  to  correct  that
child's truant behavior.
(Source: P.A. 80-908.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-8b)
    Sec. 26-8b.  When a petition is  filed,  it  shall  be  set  for  an
adjudicatory  hearing  within  10  days  and  acted upon within 30 days,
subject to the provisions of the Juvenile  Court  Act  or  the  Juvenile
Court Act of 1987 if filed thereunder.
(Source: P.A. 85-1209.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-9)
    Sec. 26-9. School officers and teachers to assist truant officers.
    School officers, superintendents, teachers or  other  persons  shall
render  such assistance and furnish such information as they have to aid
truant officers in the performance of their duties.
(Source: Laws 1961, p. 31.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-10)
    Sec. 26-10.  Fine for noncompliance.)  Any person having custody  or
control  of  a  child  subject to the provisions of this Article to whom
notice has been given of the  child's  truancy  and  who  knowingly  and
wilfully  permits  such  a  child  to persist in his truancy within that
school year, upon conviction thereof  shall  be  guilty  of  a  Class  C
misdemeanor  and  shall be subject to not more than 30 days imprisonment
and/or a fine of up to $500.
(Source: P.A. 80-908.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-11)
    Sec. 26-11. Punishment for certain offenses.
    Any person who induces or attempts to induce any child to be  absent
from  school  unlawfully,  or  who  knowingly  employs or harbors, while
school is in session, any child absent  unlawfully  from  school  for  3
consecutive school days, is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.
(Source: P. A. 77-2267.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-12)
    Sec. 26-12.  Punitive action.  No punitive action including  out  of
school  suspensions,  expulsions or court action, shall be taken against
chronic truants for such truancy unless  available  supportive  services
and other school resources have been provided to the student.
(Source: P.A. 85-234.)

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(105 ILCS 5/26-13)
    Sec. 26-13.  Absenteeism and  truancy  policies.   School  districts
shall  adopt  policies, consistent with rules adopted by the State Board
of Education, which identify the  appropriate  supportive  services  and
available resources which are provided for truants and chronic truants.
(Source: P.A. 84-1420.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-14)
    Sec. 26-14.  Truancy programs for dropouts.  Any dropout, as defined
in Section 26-2a, whose age is 16 or greater, but less than 18 years  of
age,  may  apply  to  a  school district for status as a truant, and the
school  district  shall  permit  such  person  to  participate  in   the
district's  various  programs and resources for truants.  At the time of
the person's application, the district may request documentation of  his
dropout status for the previous 6 months.
(Source: P.A. 85-629.)

(105 ILCS 5/26-15)
    Sec. 26-15.  Truant minors.   When  a  regional  superintendent  has
reason  to  believe that a pupil is a truant minor as defined in Section
26-2a, the regional superintendent  may  report  such  pupil  under  the
provisions of the Juvenile Court Act.
(Source: P.A. 85-1209.)

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Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/3-33)
the rest of Article III of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1987

Sec. 3-33.  Truant Minor in Need of Supervision.
    (a)  Definition.   A  minor  who   is   reported   by   a   regional
superintendent  of schools, or in cities of over 500,000 inhabitants, by
the Office of Chronic Truant Adjudication, as a chronic truant shall  be
adjudged a truant minor in need of supervision.
    (a-1)  There  is a rebuttable presumption that a chronic truant is a
truant minor in need of supervision.
    (a-2)  There is a rebuttable presumption that school  records  of  a
minor's attendance at school are authentic.
    (a-3)  For  purposes  of  this  Section,  "chronic  truant"  has the
meaning ascribed to it in Section 26-2a of the School Code.
    (b)  Kinds of dispositional orders.  A minor found to  be  a  truant
minor in need of supervision may be:
         (1)  committed  to  the appropriate  regional superintendent of
    schools  for  a  multi-disciplinary  case  staffing,  individualized
    educational plan or  service  plan,  or  referral  to  comprehensive
    community-based youth services;
         (2)  required to comply with an individualized educational plan
    or service plan as specifically provided by the appropriate regional
    superintendent of schools;
         (3)  ordered to obtain counseling or other supportive services;
         (4)  subject  to  a  fine in an amount in excess of $5, but not
    exceeding $100, and each day  of  absence  without  valid  cause  as
    defined in Section 26-2a of The School Code is a separate offense;
         (5)  required  to  perform  some reasonable public service work
    such as, but not limited to, the picking  up  of  litter  in  public
    parks  or  along  public  highways  or  the  maintenance  of  public
    facilities; or
         (6)  subject  to  having his or her driver's license or driving
    privilege suspended for a period of time as determined by the  court
    but only until he or she attains 18 years of age.
    A  dispositional  order  may  include  a  fine,  public  service, or
suspension of a driver's license or privilege only if the court has made
an express written finding that a truancy prevention  program  has  been
offered  by  the  school,  regional  superintendent  of  schools,  or  a
community  social  service  agency  to  the  truant  minor  in  need  of
    (c)  Orders  entered  under this Section may be enforced by contempt
(Source: P.A. 90-143, eff. 7-23-97; 90-380, eff. 8-14-97;  90-590,  eff.
1-1-99; 90-655, eff. 7-30-98.)

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Legal Resources for Illinois Homeschoolers
Home school legal references Compulsory Education law Juvenile Court Act Levisen case
Homeschool and Special Education Attorney General Summary Scoma case