TROUBLE AT SCHOOL: SCHOOL THREATS AND TRUANCY
Under Arizona Law (ARS 13-2911), there are very specific penalties for any person who commits “interference or disruption” to an educational institution. As you read the new law, you will notice that we have underlined some specific words or phrases. If you click on these words, it will take you to their legal definition. We did this to help you understand how the legislature has defined this words because the law will be applied under these definitions.
A person commits interference with or disruption of an educational institution by doing any of the following:
1. Threatening to cause physical injury to any employee of or any person attending an educational institution.
2. Threatening to cause damage to any educational institution, property of any educational institution, or property of any person attending an educational institution.
A person found to be in violation of this law as described in paragraphs 1 or 2 above may be charged with a Class 6 Felony. It does not matter if the above actions were not directed to any specific individual, educational institution or property of an educational institutional.
3. Knowingly goes onto or remains on the property of an educational institution for the purpose of interfering with or disrupting the lawful use of the property, or in any manner that interferes with the lawful use of the property by others.
4. Knowingly refuses to obey a lawful order to leave the property by a school official, officer or employee of an educational institutional.
A person found to be in violation of this law as described in paragraphs 3 or 4 as described above may be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
In addition to the existing reasons for expulsion, a school district or charter school is now required to expel from school for at least one year, a pupil who is determined to have violated any section of this statute. A school district or charter school may modify the expulsion requirement on a case by case basis if the pupil participates in a mediation, community service, restitution or other programs in which the pupil takes responsibility for the results of the threat. A parent or guardian may also be required to participate in mediation, community service, restitution or other programs in which the parent or guardian takes responsibility with the pupil for the threat. A school district may also reassign a pupil to an alternative education program (ARS 15-841).
It is against the law for anyone between the ages of six and sixteen to not attend school. However, there are some exceptions through excused absences, home school, etc. Even if you miss just one class period without an excuse, you are considered truant.
If you miss school a lot (5 days, unexcused) you are considered to be habitually truant (ARS 15-803). An attendance officer can enforce this law. The officer can give you a ticket requiring you and a parent to appear before an official of the court (ARS 15-805). If you are habitually truant you could be put on probation, have your driver’s license taken away, or have to attend counseling or educational classes (ARS 8-323).
Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated. The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.