HOUSE BILL 132
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
Luis M. Terrazas and James G. Townsend and Tanya Mirabal Moya and Brian G. Baca and Jared A. Hembree
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS; ENHANCING AND EXPANDING ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS TO REDUCE EXCESSIVE ABSENTEEISM; MAKING IT A CRIME FOR A PARENT OF AN EXCESSIVELY ABSENT STUDENT TO ALLOW THAT STUDENT TO CONTINUE BEING ABSENT FROM SCHOOL; PROVIDING PENALTIES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 22-12A-12 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2019, Chapter 223, Section 12) is amended to read:
"22-12A-12. EXCESSIVE ABSENTEEISM--ENFORCEMENT--CRIME FOR PARENT TO ALLOW CONTINUED ABSENCES--PENALTIES.--
A. Each local school board and each governing body of a charter school or private school shall initiate the enforcement of the provisions of the Attendance for Success Act for excessively absent students.
B. If [unexcused] absences continue after written notice of excessive absenteeism as provided in Section [11 of the Attendance for Success Act] 22-12A-11 NMSA 1978, the local school board or governing body of a charter school or private school, after consultation with the local superintendent or head administrator of a charter school or private school, shall report the excessively absent student to the juvenile probation services office of the judicial district in which the student resides for an investigation as to whether the student should be considered to be a neglected child or a child in a family in need of family services because of excessive absenteeism and, thus, subject to the provisions of the Children's Code. The record of the public school's interventions and the student's and parent's responses to the interventions shall be provided to the juvenile probation services office. The local superintendent or head administrator of a charter school or private school shall provide the documentation to the juvenile probation services office within ten business days of the student being identified as excessively absent. In addition to any other disposition, the children's court may order that an excessively absent student's driving privileges be suspended for a specified time not to exceed ninety days on the first finding of excessive absenteeism and not to exceed one year for a subsequent finding of excessive absenteeism.
C. If the juvenile probation services office determines that the student is a child in a family in need of family services, a caseworker from the child or family in need of family services program shall meet with the family at the public school in which the student is enrolled to determine if there are other intervention services that may be provided. The meeting shall involve the school principal or other school personnel and, unless the parent objects in writing, appropriate community partners that provide services to children and families. The children, youth and families department shall determine if additional interventions, including monitoring, will positively affect the student's behavior.
D. It is a violation of the Attendance for Success Act for a parent of an excessively absent student to cause or allow that student to continue to be absent from school. The local school board or governing body of the charter school or private school that the student attends shall, after consultation with the local superintendent or head administrator of the charter school or private school that the excessively absent student attends, refer the parent of that student to the local office of the district attorney for prosecution if that student continues to be absent after having been referred to the juvenile probation services office as provided in Subsection B of this section.
E. If a parent who is referred to the local office of the district attorney for prosecution pursuant to Subsection D of this section is found to have caused or allowed that parent's excessively absent student to continue to be absent from school, the parent is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Upon the first conviction, the parent shall be subject to a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) or more than one hundred dollars ($100), or the parent may be ordered to perform community service. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the parent is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) or imprisonment for a definite term not to exceed six months, or both."
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