2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Court procedure and penalties.
Court procedure and penalties.
1003.27 Court procedure and penalties.—The court procedure and penalties for the enforcement of the provisions of this part, relating to compulsory school attendance, shall be as follows:
(1) COURT JURISDICTION.—The circuit court has original and exclusive jurisdiction of all proceedings against, or prosecutions of, students under the provisions of this part. Proceedings against, or prosecutions of, parents or employers as provided by this section shall be in the court of each county having jurisdiction of misdemeanors wherein trial by jury is afforded the defendant.
(2) NONENROLLMENT AND NONATTENDANCE CASES.—
(a) In each case of nonenrollment or of nonattendance upon the part of a student who is required to attend some school, when no valid reason for such nonenrollment or nonattendance is found, the district school superintendent shall institute a criminal prosecution against the student’s parent. However, criminal prosecution may not be instituted against the student’s parent until the school and school district have complied with s. 1003.26.
(b) Each public school principal or the principal’s designee shall notify the district school board of each minor student under its jurisdiction who accumulates 15 unexcused absences in a period of 90 calendar days. The district school superintendent must provide the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the legal name, sex, date of birth, and social security number of each minor student who has been reported under this paragraph and who fails to otherwise satisfy the requirements of s. 322.091. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may not issue a driver license or learner’s driver license to, and shall suspend any previously issued driver license or learner’s driver license of, any such minor student, pursuant to the provisions of s. 322.091.
(c) Each designee of the governing body of each private school and each parent whose child is enrolled in a home education program may provide the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with the legal name, sex, date of birth, and social security number of each minor student under his or her jurisdiction who fails to satisfy relevant attendance requirements and who fails to otherwise satisfy the requirements of s. 322.091. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may not issue a driver license or learner’s driver license to, and shall suspend any previously issued driver license or learner’s driver license of, any such minor student pursuant to s. 322.091.
(3) HABITUAL TRUANCY CASES.—The district school superintendent is authorized to file a truancy petition, as defined in s. 984.03, following the procedures outlined in s. 984.151. If the district school superintendent chooses not to file a truancy petition, procedures for filing a child-in-need-of-services petition shall be commenced pursuant to this subsection and chapter 984. In accordance with procedures established by the district school board, the designated school representative shall refer a student who is habitually truant and the student’s family to the children-in-need-of-services and families-in-need-of-services provider or the case staffing committee, established pursuant to s. 984.12, as determined by the cooperative agreement required in this section. The case staffing committee may request the Department of Juvenile Justice or its designee to file a child-in-need-of-services petition based upon the report and efforts of the district school board or other community agency or may seek to resolve the truant behavior through the school or community-based organizations or agencies. Prior to and subsequent to the filing of a child-in-need-of-services petition due to habitual truancy, the appropriate governmental agencies must allow a reasonable time to complete actions required by this section and s. 1003.26 to remedy the conditions leading to the truant behavior. Prior to the filing of a petition, the district school board must have complied with the requirements of s. 1003.26, and those efforts must have been unsuccessful.
(4) COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS.—The circuit manager of the Department of Juvenile Justice or the circuit manager’s designee, the district administrator of the Department of Children and Families or the district administrator’s designee, and the district school superintendent or the superintendent’s designee must develop a cooperative interagency agreement that:
(a) Clearly defines each department’s role, responsibility, and function in working with habitual truants and their families.
(b) Identifies and implements measures to resolve and reduce truant behavior.
(c) Addresses issues of streamlining service delivery, the appropriateness of legal intervention, case management, the role and responsibility of the case staffing committee, student and parental intervention and involvement, and community action plans.
(d) Delineates timeframes for implementation and identifies a mechanism for reporting results by the circuit juvenile justice manager or the circuit manager’s designee and the district school superintendent or the superintendent’s designee to the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Education and other governmental entities as needed.
(e) Designates which agency is responsible for each of the intervention steps in this section, to yield more effective and efficient intervention services.
(5) ATTENDANCE REGISTER AS EVIDENCE.—The register of attendance of students at a public, parochial, religious, denominational, or private school, or of students taught by a private tutor, kept in compliance with rules of the State Board of Education is prima facie evidence of the facts which it is required to show. A certified copy of any rule and a statement of the date of its adoption by the State Board of Education is admissible as prima facie evidence of the provisions of the rule and of the date of its adoption.
(6) PROCEEDINGS AND PROSECUTIONS; WHO MAY BEGIN.—Proceedings or prosecutions under this chapter may be commenced by the district school superintendent, by a designated school representative, by the probation officer of the county, by the executive officer of any court of competent jurisdiction, by an officer of any court of competent jurisdiction, or by a duly authorized agent of the Department of Education or the Department of Juvenile Justice. If a proceeding has been commenced against both a parent and a child pursuant to this chapter, the presiding courts shall make every effort to coordinate sanctions against the child and parent, including ordering the child and parent to perform community service hours or attend counseling together.
(7) PENALTIES.—The penalties for refusing or failing to comply with this chapter shall be as follows:
(a) The parent.—
1. A parent who refuses or fails to have a minor student who is under his or her control attend school regularly, or who refuses or fails to comply with the requirements in subsection (3), commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. The continued or habitual absence of a minor student without the consent of the principal or teacher in charge of the school he or she attends or should attend, or of the tutor who instructs or should instruct him or her, is prima facie evidence of a violation of this chapter; however, a showing that the parent has made a bona fide and diligent effort to control and keep the student in school shall be an affirmative defense to any criminal or other liability under this subsection and the court shall refer the parent and child for counseling, guidance, or other needed services.
3. In addition to any other punishment, the court shall order a parent who has violated this section to send the minor student to school, and may also order the parent to participate in an approved parent training class, attend school with the student unless this would cause undue hardship, perform community service hours at the school, or participate in counseling or other services, as appropriate. If a parent is ordered to attend school with a student, the school shall provide for programming to educate the parent and student on the importance of school attendance. It shall be unlawful to terminate any employee solely because he or she is attending school with his or her child pursuant to a court order.
(b) The principal or teacher.—A principal or teacher in any public, parochial, religious, denominational, or private school, or a private tutor who willfully violates any provision of this chapter may, upon satisfactory proof of such violation, have his or her certificate revoked by the Department of Education.
(c) The employer.—
1. An employer who fails to notify the district school superintendent when he or she ceases to employ a student commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(d) The student.—
1. In addition to any other authorized sanctions, the court shall order a student found to be a habitual truant to make up all school work missed and may order the student to pay a civil penalty of up to $2, based on the student’s ability to pay, for each day of school missed, perform up to 25 community service hours at the school, or participate in counseling or other services, as appropriate.
2. Upon a second or subsequent finding that a student is a habitual truant, the court, in addition to any other authorized sanctions, shall order the student to make up all school work missed and may order the student to pay a civil penalty of up to $5, based on the student’s ability to pay, for each day of school missed, perform up to 50 community service hours at the school, or participate in counseling or other services, as appropriate.
History.—s. 122, ch. 2002-387; s. 366, ch. 2014-19; s. 4, ch. 2018-134.