Jackson County Intermediate School District

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Michigan Attendance Law and Jackson County School Justice Partnership Definitions

Michigan Compulsory Attendance Law:
The law in Michigan governing compulsory attendance requires a parent, legal guardian, or other person having control or charge of a child age six to sixteen to send the child to school during the entire school year, except under the limited circumstances specified in subsection (3) of section 380.1561. A child who was age eleven on or after December 1, 2009 or who was age eleven before that date and entered grade 6 in 2009 or later shall attend school from age six to eighteen. The exceptions include, but are not limited to, sending the child to a state-approved, nonpublic school or educating the child at home in an organized educational program. Although the compulsory school attendance law does not apply to children under the age of six, a child who is at least five years of age by December 1 of the school year and is a resident of a school district which provides kindergarten work is entitled to enroll in the kindergarten [MCL 380.1147].

School Justice Partnership Definitions 
Jackson County, in partnership with the School Justice Partnership Committee, is working collaboratively to create clear, county-wide definitions, policies, and steps to improve student attendance. You can find these emerging definitions below.  

Chronically absent means absent for 10% or more of the enrolled school days in a school year, whether absenteeism is due to unexcused, excused, or disciplinary absences. (For instance, missing 3 days of school the first month of the year; 8 days in the first half of the year; or 18 days in the entire school year.) Note: All absences for the school year should be counted, even if they have carried over from a different school.

Disciplinary absence means absences that result from school or district disciplinary action and are neither unexcused nor excused absences.

Excused absences include the following:

  • Student illness/injury with doctor’s note
  • Medical appointments
  • Religious holidays
  • Extreme family emergencies
  • Lice (3 days)
  • Funeral/death in family
  • Mandated court appearances (documented)
  • Placement by Juvenile Court in detention, shelter care, foster care or residential placement.
  • Educational opportunities approved by school officials
  • Homelessness

 Unexcused absence is any absence not accounted for above, examples of unexcused absences include, but not limited to:

  • Staying home to baby-sit
  • Overslept
  • Travel
  • Needed at home
  • Weather
  • Missed bus
  • Child is not immunized
  • Sickness (not documented)
  • Willful truancy (skipping)


Truant means a child who has ten (10) or more unexcused absences per school year. A child should be counted as truant only once in a given school year. Once deemed truant, a child shall be monitored throughout the school year until improved attendance is consistent.

Tardy/Late Absences A student who enters a classroom after the bell is considered tardy, unless excused. Tardy students not only miss learning time, but also interrupt the learning of other students in class.