Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–207. Authority of police over truant child.

(a)(1) A law enforcement officer who has reasonable grounds to believe, based on the minor's age and other factors, that a minor is truant from any public, independent, private, or parochial school on a day and during the hours when the school is in session shall take that minor into custody and deliver the minor to the public, independent, private, or parochial school where the minor is presently enrolled, so long as the school is located in the District.

(2) If the minor is not currently enrolled at a public, independent, private, or parochial school, the law enforcement officer shall take the minor to the District of Columbia Public Schools placement office.

(3) If a minor is enrolled in a public, independent, private, or parochial school located within the District of Columbia, the educational institution shall receive that minor from a law enforcement officer during the hours when the school is in operation.

(b) On the request of a person who has reached the age of 18 years, graduated from high school, or received a general equivalency diploma, and who has previously been taken into custody pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Metropolitan Police Department shall seal all records relating to custody authorized by subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Within 2 business days of a minor student’s 10th unexcused absence during a school year, the educational institution shall send the minor’s parent:

(1) Information from the Chief of Police about the compulsory attendance requirements and criminal penalties for violations of this chapter; and

(2) A letter notifying the parent that he or she may be in violation of the school attendance requirements under this chapter and may be subject to prosecution.


(Feb. 4, 1925, ch. 140, Art. II, § 6; as added Aug. 25, 1994, D.C. Law 10-159, § 3, 41 DCR 4884; Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-38, § 1906, 46 DCR 6373; Aug. 16, 2008, D.C. Law 17-219, § 4014, 55 DCR 7598; Sept. 19, 2013, D.C. Law 20-17, § 101(b)(1), 60 DCR 9839; June 26, 2014, D.C. Law 20-117, § 17, 61 DCR 2032; July 26, 2016, D.C. Law 21-140, § 2(e), 63 DCR 8207.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-402.1.

1981 Ed., § 38-251.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-38 rewrote this section which formerly required a law enforcement officer to take a student or child into custody and deliver him to the appropriate school and also provided for sealing records pertaining thereto.

D.C. Law 17-219 rewrote subsecs. (a)(1) and (2).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 20-17 added (c).

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-117 rewrote (c).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(e) of School Attendance Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-476, July 21, 2016, 63 DCR 10181).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(e) of School Attendance Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-410, June 1, 2016, 63 DCR 8202).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 1906 of the Service Improvement and Fiscal Year 2000 Budget Support Emergency Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-110, July 28, 1999, 46 DCR 6320).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(b)(1) of the Attendance Accountability Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-133, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11531, 20 DCSTAT 1973).

For temporary (90 days) addition of the Act of Feb. 4, 1925, ch. 140, Art. II, § 7, concerning truancy procedures and inter-agency coordination, see § 101(b)(2) of the Attendance Accountability Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-133, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11531, 20 DCSTAT 1973).

For temporary (90 days) addition of the Act of Feb. 4, 1925, ch. 140, Art. II, § 8, concerning reporting requirements, see § 101(b)(2) of the Attendance Accountability Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-133, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11531, 20 DCSTAT 1973).

Short Title

Short title: Section 4013 of D.C. Law 17-219 provided that subtitle G of title IV of the act may be cited as the “Truancy Centers Amendment Act of 2008”.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-117: Section 18 of D.C. Law 20-117 provided that the act shall apply as of October 1, 2013.