Benninghoff Bill Would Update Truancy Laws, Combat School Dropouts
3/23/2016
HARRISBURG – Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) has introduced a bill to substantially amend the state’s truancy laws, which have not been fundamentally changed since the early 1990s. Benninghoff’s legislation, House Bill 1907, would update these laws and policies to more effectively combat truancy and school dropouts.

“Just as important as directing dollars to the classroom is keeping students in the classroom, which is why I am working with parents, school administrators and school board officials to lead the effort to tackle changes to the state’s truancy law,” Benninghoff said.

The bill clarifies the procedure schools must follow with respect to children who are truant, having three or more days of unexcused absences during a school year, and habitually truant, having six or more days of unexcused absences during a school year. Benninghoff’s legislation would require schools to offer families an attendance improvement conference before referring the child’s case to the county children and youth agency or a magisterial district justice.

House Bill 1907 would also clarify the procedures to be followed by a magisterial district justice when a truancy citation is filed, and grant magisterial district justices discretion when imposing available penalties.

“Our Commonwealth invests billions of dollars annually in educating our children, but for young people to benefit from this investment they must be in school,” Benninghoff said.

The legislation puts into place many of the recommendations from the Joint State Government Commission’s comprehensive study on the issues of truancy and school dropout prevention in the Commonwealth, which was released in October 2015. The report was the product of House Resolution 1032, which passed unanimously during the 2013-14 session.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
House Majority Policy Committee Chairman
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Morgan Wagner
717.260.6281
mwagner@pahousegop.com
KerryBenninghoff.com / Facebook.com/RepBenninghoff
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