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CRA Decision - Millis Public Schools vs MP

MA Supreme Judicial Court

Under the children requiring assistance (CRA) statute, a child “willfully fails to attend school” if the child’s repeated failure to attend school arises from reasons portending delinquent behavior.

In this case, the Millis public schools filed a habitual truancy CRA alleging that M.P. was a child requiring assistance on the grounds that she was habitually truant. M.P. failed continually to attend school due to a combination of physical and mental disabilities. After a hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated M.P. a child requiring assistance. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter to the juvenile court for entry of an order dismissing the CRA petition, holding that the evidence in the record did not support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that M.P. “willfully fail[ed] to attend school.”

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