Empty desksCHICAGO – Illinois schools will be required to develop and communicate their truancy policies to families on a yearly basis under legislation by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) that was signed into law today.

“When it comes to chronic absences, we tend to just see the empty desk. The truth is that we need to see the student and the challenges they may face with transportation, family illness, mental health difficulties or disabilities,” said Collins. “This ensures that families are being informed of absence policies that are consistent and are applied consistently. I thank Gov. Pritzker for signing this into law.”

Chronic truancy — when a student misses more than 5% of the school year — has increased in Illinois since 2015, when about 9% of students were considered chronically truant. As many as 13.4% are chronically truant currently. Senate Bill 605 requires schools to develop a truancy and chronic absence policy each year and report it to families, including information on chronic truancy.

The legislation takes effect July 1, 2022.

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