The County Attorney also oversees diversion programs which allow juvenile offenders to receive consequences involving minor offenses without going to court. These programs are intended to hold the juvenile accountable and often include an educational component to reduce repeat offenses. Due to public safety concerns, for more serious offenses the County Attorney may ask the court to certify a juvenile to stand trial as an adult. Upon conviction, the juvenile could then receive all potential adult sanctions, including a prison sentence.
The County Attorney works with the Chisago County Health and Human Services to initiate CHIPS (Child in Need of Protection or Services) petitions or Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) petitions to protect abused or neglected children in the county. The County Attorney works with Chisago County schools to initiate CHIPS - Truancy petitions.
School Attendance & Truancy
School attendance is significantly related to school achievement and therefore the community, the school, parents / guardians and students share in the responsibility to promote regular attendance.
The school determines whether the absences are excused or unexcused. When absences become excessive for any reason, parents / guardians will be contacted to develop a plan to support regular school attendance.
Minnesota state law requires that every child between 7 and 18 years of age shall attend a public or private school and that the parent/guardian is obligated to compel the attendance of the child.
A student who is absent without the consent of his / her parent or guardian is truant. A truancy is 1 full day of unexcused absence for elementary students and one (1) or more hours of unexcused absence, in one (1) school day, for secondary students. This is considered an unexcused absence and the student may not be readmitted to the school unless and until a parent / guardian is contacted.
A student is truant or unexcused if he/she:
- Becomes ill and goes home or stays in the restroom instead of reporting to the health office
- Comes to school but does not attend classes
- Is absent from class without permission (skipping)
- Is absent without prior permission from a parent / guardian
- Leaves the school without a pass
- Leaves the school without signing out in the principal's office
- Obtains a pass to go to a certain place and does not report there
Students who accumulate seven (7) or more unexcused absences may be summoned to Juvenile Court if a CHIPS - Truancy Petition is filed. If a student is adjudicated as a truant, he or she will be under the Court's jurisdiction for monitoring.
Attendance Intervention Meetings
The Chisago County Attorney's Office provides monthly informational meetings for students and parents of students with attendance concerns. Meetings are scheduled one evening each month at the Chisago County Government Center. Students and families are referred to the County Attorney's Office for this program as an intervention to a truancy petition.