Truancy Laws             

Below are the compulsory school attendance (truancy) laws for the State of South Dakota. Although most schools have their own policy on when they turn it over to the School Resource Officer, if it does get turned over to the School Resource Officer, it will be investigated and determination will be made as to whether or not the parents, parents and child, or just the child will be charged.

Compulsory School Attendance - Chapter 13-27

13-27-1.   Responsibility of person controlling child--Ages of compulsory attendance--Entire school term--Waiver. Every person having control of a child who is six years old by the first day of September and who has not exceeded the age of sixteen, shall cause the child to regularly and annually attend some public or nonpublic school for the entire term during which the public school in the district in which the person resides, or the school to which the child is assigned to attend, is in session, until the child reaches the age of sixteen years, unless excused as provided in this chapter.
Any child under age six enrolled in any elementary school or kindergarten program is subject to the compulsory attendance statutes of this state. A waiver of the compulsory attendance requirement for children under the age of seven years of age shall be granted by the school district upon the request of the parents.

13-27-11.   Failure to send child to school as misdemeanor. Any person having control of a child of compulsory school age who fails to have the child attend school as required by the provisions of this title, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor for the first offense. For each subsequent offense, a violator of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

13-27-20.  Complaints against persons responsible for truancy--Contents of complaint-- Verification. Each truancy officer shall make and file truancy complaints, and any teacher, school officer, or any citizen may make and file a truancy complaint, before a circuit court judge, against any person having control of a child of compulsory school age who is not attending school or whose attendance is irregular. The complaint shall state the name of the parent, guardian, or person responsible for the control of the child. The complaint shall be verified by oath upon belief of the complainant.

13-27-6.   Child excused because of illness in family. A school board may excuse a child from school attendance, pursuant to  13-27-2, because of serious illness in his immediate family, making his presence at home an actual necessity, or his presence in school a menace to the health of other pupils. The school board may require the submission of medical evidence as a condition of granting an excuse pursuant to this section

13-27-16.   Warnings by school boards to send children to school--Report to truancy officer. Each school board shall warn parents or persons in control of children of compulsory school age that the children must enter school and attend regularly, and shall report the parents or persons in control of the children to the truancy officer for the district if the warning is not heeded. All school board members, superintendents, and teachers shall cooperate in the enforcement of the school attendance laws.

13-27-14.   Truancy officer employed by district--Duties--President of board acting where no officer employed. The school board of each school district shall annually appoint and provide for the remuneration of one or more truancy officers, to enforce, under the school board's direction, the compulsory attendance laws within the district. In a school district failing to provide a truancy officer, the president of the school board is the truancy officer and is responsible for the enforcement of the compulsory attendance laws within the school district.

13-27-17.   Investigations and records of truancy officer. Each truancy officer shall carefully check the attendance and nonattendance of all persons required by law to attend school in the district or districts within his jurisdiction and shall keep an accurate record of those persons not in attendance or whose attendance is irregular.

13-27-19.   Power of truancy officers to apprehend truant children--Supervisory control by secretary. Each truancy officer has the powers of a deputy sheriff in the exercise of his duties, and shall apprehend without warrant children of compulsory school age who absent themselves from the place where the children are required to attend without an excuse, and place the children in the custody of the person having charge of the place where the children are by law required to attend. In the administration of his duties, each truancy officer is subject to the general supervisory control of the secretary of the Department of Education.

13-27-21.   Warrant for arrest of parent, guardian, or responsible person--Summons of witnesses. Upon filing of a complaint, the judge of a circuit court shall issue a warrant of arrest to the sheriff of the county directing him to bring the defendant before the court and to summon witnesses required to ascertain the facts in the case.