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Introduced by   Representatives Botzow of Pownal, Endres of Milton, Barnard of Richmond, Clark of Vergennes, Cross of Winooski, Donaghy of Poultney, Jerman of Essex, Klein of East Montpelier, LaVoie of Swanton, Livingston of Manchester, Mook of Bennington, Morrissey of Bennington and Potter of Clarendon

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Education; human services; attendance; department for children and families

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish a $25.00 fine for truancy to be administered in the manner of a traffic ticket; direct the commissioner of education to determine the attendance rate in each school and to pay $1,000.00 to a school district which increases its rate over a three‑year period; and require school superintendents to report a child who is truant for more than 20 days to the department for children and families for evaluation for child abuse or neglect.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 1130 is added to read:


A pupil between the ages of six and 16 years who is not excused or exempted from school attendance and who fails to attend the school of enrollment shall be subject to a civil penalty of $25.00.  In the case of a failure to pay a penalty, the judicial bureau shall mail a notice to the pupil at the address in the complaint notifying the pupil that failure to pay the penalty within 60 days of the notice will result in action against the pupil’s parent or guardian pursuant to section 1127 of this title.  An action under this section shall be brought in the same manner as a traffic violation pursuant to chapter 24 of Title 23.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 1131 is added to read:


(a)  Annually, the commissioner shall determine the attendance rate in each school and school district.  The state board may adopt rules to collect the necessary data in a timely fashion and regarding how the rate shall be determined.

(b)  The commissioner shall award $1,000.00 to a school that has increased its average attendance rate by five or more percentage points using a three‑year rolling average to determine the average attendance rate.

Sec. 3.  33 V.S.A. § 4912(3) is amended to read:

(3)  “Harm” can occur by:

(A)  Physical injury or emotional maltreatment;

(B)  Failure to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or health care.  For the purposes of this subchapter, “adequate health care” includes any medical or nonmedical remedial health care permitted or authorized under state law.  Notwithstanding that a child might be found to be without proper parental care under chapter 55 of Title 33 this title, a parent or other person responsible for a child’s care legitimately practicing his or her religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not be considered neglectful for that reason alone; or

(C)  Abandonment of the child.

Sec. 4.  33 V.S.A. § 4913(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Any physician, surgeon, osteopath, chiropractor, or physician’s assistant licensed, certified, or registered under the provisions of Title 26, any resident physician, intern, or any hospital administrator in any hospital in this state, whether or not so registered, and any registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dentist, psychologist, any other health care provider, school superintendent, school teacher, school librarian, day care worker, school principal, school guidance counselor, mental health professional, social worker, probation officer, police officer, camp owner, camp administrator, camp counselor, or member of the clergy who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title within 24 hours.  As used in this subsection, “camp” includes any residential or nonresidential recreational program.  In this section, failure to attend school for 20 or more days in one school year when not excused or exempted shall constitute reasonable cause to believe that a child is abused or neglected and shall be reported by the superintendent.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont