Except as provided under par. (b)
or if a person has been found guilty of a misdemeanor under s. 948.45
, whoever violates this section may be penalized as follows, if evidence has been provided by the school attendance officer that the activities under s. 118.16 (5)
have been completed or were not required to be completed as provided in s. 118.16 (5m)
For the first offense, by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both.
For a 2nd or subsequent offense, by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days or both.
The court may require a person who is subject to subd. 1.
to perform community service work for a public agency or a nonprofit charitable organization in lieu of the penalties specified under subd. 1.
Any organization or agency to which a defendant is assigned pursuant to an order under this subdivision acting in good faith has immunity from any civil liability in excess of $25,000 for any act or omission by or impacting on the defendant.
The court may order any person who violates this section to participate in counseling at the person's own expense or to attend school with his or her child, or both.
In a prosecution under par. (a)
, if the defendant proves that he or she is unable to comply with the law because of the disobedience of the child, the action shall be dismissed and the child shall be referred to the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48
History: 1971 c. 40
; 1973 c. 89
; 1975 c. 39
; 1979 c. 221
; 1981 c. 20
; 1983 a. 512
; 1985 a. 29
; 1987 a. 36
; 1989 a. 31
; 1991 a. 39
; 1993 a. 223
; 1995 a. 27
, 9145 (1)
; 1995 a. 77
; 1997 a. 27
; 2001 a. 109
; 2005 a. 344
; 2007 a. 222
; 2009 a. 41
; 2011 a. 161
; 2021 a. 34
See also ch. TCS 9
, Wis. adm. code.
Compelling Amish parents to send their children to high school infringed upon their religious liberties. State v. Yoder, 49 Wis. 2d 430
, 182 N.W.2d 539
Compulsory school attendance laws are not safety statutes. Riemer v. Crayton, 57 Wis. 2d 755
Under the facts of this case, parents' refusal, on claimed religious grounds, to send children to school was a personal, philosophical choice by parents, rather than a protected religious expression. State v. Kasuboski, 87 Wis. 2d 407
, 275 N.W.2d 101
(Ct. App. 1978).
This section permits VTAE [now technical college] instructors to teach a limited number of courses to public school students, under certain circumstances, without Department of Public Instruction certification. Green Bay Education Ass'n v. DPI, 154 Wis. 2d 655
, 453 N.W.2d 915
(Ct. App. 1990).
The trial court erred in ruling that this section requires a conviction under sub. (5) (a) before sub. (5) (b) is triggered. The disobedience exception in sub. (5) (b) 2. was an affirmative defense to the charge here and should have been presented to the fact-finder during the trial for resolution. State v. McGee, 2005 WI App 97
, 281 Wis. 2d 756
, 698 N.W.2d 850
The Amish and compulsory school attendance. 1971 WLR 832.
Children at risk of not graduating from high school. 118.153(1)(a)
“Children at risk" means pupils in grades 5 to 12 who are at risk of not graduating from high school because they are dropouts or are 2 or more of the following:
One or more years behind their age group in the number of high school credits attained.
Two or more years behind their age group in basic skill levels.
“Dropout" means a child who ceased to attend school, does not attend a public, private, or tribal school, technical college, or home-based private educational program on a full-time basis, has not graduated from high school, and does not have an acceptable excuse under s. 118.15 (1) (b)
Every school board shall identify the children at risk who are enrolled in the school district and annually by August 15 develop a plan describing how the school board will meet their needs.
If in the previous school year a school district had 30 or more dropouts or a dropout rate exceeding 5 percent of its total high school enrollment, the school board may apply to the state superintendent for aid under this section.
Every school board that applies for aid under sub. (2) (b)
shall make available to the children at risk enrolled in the school district a program for children at risk.
Upon request of a pupil who is a child at risk or the pupil's parent or guardian, a school board described under subd. 1.
shall enroll the pupil in the program for children at risk. If the school board makes available more than one program for children at risk, the school board shall enroll the pupil in the program selected by the pupil's parent or guardian if the pupil meets the prerequisites for that program. If there is no space in that program for the pupil, the school board of the school district operating under ch. 119
shall place the pupil's name on a waiting list for that program and offer the pupil another program for children at risk until space in the requested program becomes available.
A program for children at risk shall be designed to allow the pupils enrolled to meet high school graduation requirements under s. 118.33
. The school board of the school district operating under ch. 119
shall ensure that there are at least 30 pupils and no more than 250 pupils in each program and that a separate administrator or teacher is in charge of each program.
Each school board shall identify appropriate private, nonprofit, nonsectarian agencies located in the school district or within 5 miles of the boundaries of the school district to meet the requirements under pars. (a)
for the children at risk enrolled in the school district.
The school board may contract with the agencies identified under subd. 1.
for the children at risk enrolled in the school district if the school board determines that the agencies can adequately serve such children.
The school board shall pay each contracting agency, for each full-time equivalent pupil served by the agency, an amount equal to at least 80 percent of the average per pupil cost for the school district.
Annually in August, a school board that applied for aid under this section in the previous school year shall submit a report to the state superintendent. The report shall include only information about the pupils enrolled in a program for children at risk in the previous school year that is necessary for the state superintendent to determine the number of pupils who achieved each of the objectives under par. (c)
Upon receipt of a school board's annual report under par. (a)
the state superintendent shall pay to the school district from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (bc)
, for each pupil enrolled in a program for children at risk who achieved at least 3 of the objectives under par. (c)
in the previous school year, additional state aid in an amount equal to 10 percent of the school district's average per pupil aids provided under s. 20.835 (7) (a)
, 1991 stats., and s. 20.255 (2) (ac)
in the previous school year.
The pupil, if a high school senior, received a high school diploma.
The pupil earned at least 4.5 academic credits or a prorated number of credits if the pupil was enrolled in the program for less than the entire school year.
The pupil has demonstrated, on standardized tests or other appropriate measures, a gain in reading and mathematics commensurate with the duration of his or her enrollment in the program.
If the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (bc)
in any fiscal year is insufficient to pay the full amount of aid under par. (b)
, state aid payments shall be prorated among the school districts entitled to such aid.
“Alternative school" means a public school that has at least 30 pupils and no more than 250 pupils, has a separate administrator or teacher in charge of the school and offers a nontraditional curriculum.
“School within a school" means a school that has at least 30 pupils and no more than 250 pupils, has a separate administrator or teacher in charge of the school and is housed in a space specifically dedicated to it in a public school.
Subject to sub. (3) (c) 3.
, a school board receiving funds under this section shall provide a specific sum to each program for children at risk in which pupils enrolled in the school district are enrolled based on the ability of the program to meet the objectives under sub. (4) (c)
A school board receiving funds under this section shall give preference in allocating those funds to programs for children at risk provided by alternative schools, charter schools, schools within schools and agencies identified under sub. (3) (c) 1.
The state superintendent shall promulgate rules to implement and administer this section. The rules shall not be overly restrictive in defining approved programs and shall not serve to exclude programs that have demonstrated success in meeting the needs of children at risk.
See also ch. PI 25
, Wis. adm. code.
Released time for religious instruction. 118.155(1)(1)
Any school board shall, without approval of the state superintendent, permit pupils with written permission of a parent or guardian to be absent from school at least 60 minutes but not more than 180 minutes per week to obtain religious instruction outside the school during the required school period. The supervisor of such religious instruction shall report monthly, to the principal of the school regularly attended, the names of the pupils who attended such weekly religious instruction. The school board may deny the privilege of released time to pupils who absent themselves from such religious instruction after requesting the privilege. The time period, or periods, allotted for the pupil to be absent from school for the purpose of religious instruction shall be determined by the school board.
Any transportation to religious instruction or from religious instruction to the public school shall be the responsibility of the parents or of the organization sponsoring the religious instruction.
The school district shall be released from all liability for a pupil who is absent from school in accordance with sub. (1)
School attendance enforcement. 118.16(1)(a)
“Habitual truant" means a pupil who is absent from school without an acceptable excuse under sub. (4)
and s. 118.15
for part or all of 5 or more days on which school is held during a school semester.
“School attendance officer" means an employee designated by the school board to deal with matters relating to school attendance and truancy. “School attendance officer" does not include an individual designated under sub. (2m) (a)
to take into custody a child who is absent from school without an acceptable excuse under s. 118.15
unless that individual has also been designated by the school board to deal with matters relating to school attendance and truancy.
“Truancy" means any absence of part or all of one or more days from school during which the school attendance officer, principal or teacher has not been notified of the legal cause of such absence by the parent or guardian of the absent pupil, and also means intermittent attendance carried on for the purpose of defeating the intent of s. 118.15
The period during which a pupil is absent from school due to a suspension or expulsion under s. 120.13
is neither an absence without an acceptable excuse for the purposes of sub. (1) (a)
nor an absence without legal cause for the purposes of sub. (1) (c)
Shall determine daily which pupils enrolled in the school district are absent from school and whether that absence is excused under s. 118.15
Except as provided under pars. (cg)
, shall notify the parent or guardian of a child who has been truant of the child's truancy and direct the parent or guardian to return the child to school no later than the next day on which school is in session or to provide an excuse under s. 118.15
. The notice under this paragraph shall be given before the end of the 2nd school day after receiving a report of an unexcused absence. The notice may be made by electronic communication, personal contact, 1st class mail, or telephone call of which a written record is kept. The school attendance officer shall attempt to give notice by personal contact, telephone call, or, unless the parent or guardian has refused to receive electronic communication, electronic communication before notice by 1st class mail may be given.
Shall notify the parent or guardian of a child who is a habitual truant, by registered or certified mail or by 1st class mail, when the child initially becomes a habitual truant. The school attendance officer may simultaneously notify the parent or guardian of the habitually truant child by an electronic communication. The notice shall include all of the following:
A statement that the parent, guardian or child may request program or curriculum modifications for the child under s. 118.15 (1) (d)
and that the child may be eligible for enrollment in a program for children at risk under s. 118.153 (3)
A request that the parent or guardian meet with appropriate school personnel to discuss the child's truancy. The notice shall include the name of the school personnel with whom the parent or guardian should meet, a date, time and place for the meeting and the name, address and telephone number of a person to contact to arrange a different date, time or place. The date for the meeting shall be within 5 school days after the date that the notice is sent, except that with the consent of the child's parent or guardian the date for the meeting may be extended for an additional 5 school days.
A statement of the penalties, under s. 118.15 (5)
, that may be imposed on the parent or guardian if he or she fails to cause the child to attend school regularly as required under s. 118.15 (1) (a)
After the notice required under par. (cg)
has been given, shall notify the parent or guardian of a habitual truant of the habitual truant's unexcused absences as provided in the plan under s. 118.162 (4) (a)
. After the notice required under par. (cg)
has been given, par. (c)
does not apply.
May visit any place of employment in the school district to ascertain whether any minors are employed there contrary to law. The officer shall require that school certificates and lists of minors who are employed there be produced for inspection, and shall report all cases of illegal employment to the proper school authorities and to the department of workforce development.
Except as provided in par. (f)
, shall have access to information regarding the attendance of any child between the ages of 6 and 18 who is a resident of the school district or who claims or is claimed to be in attendance at a private school located in the school district.
Shall request information regarding the attendance of any child between the ages of 6 and 18 who is a resident of the school district and who claims or is claimed to be in attendance at a tribal school, or who is not a resident of the school district and who claims or is claimed to be in attendance at a tribal school located in the school district.
A school district administrator may designate any of the following individuals to take a child who resides in the school district and who is absent from school without an acceptable excuse under s. 118.15
into custody under s. 938.19 (1m)
An employee of the school district who is directly involved in the provision of educational programs to the truant child.
An employee of the school district who is directly involved in the provision of a modified program or curriculum under s. 118.15 (1) (d)
, a program for children at risk under s. 118.153
or an alternative educational program under s. 119.82
or any other alternative educational program to children who attend the school attended by the truant child, if the school district administrator believes that the program or curriculum may be appropriate for the truant child.