Truancy Laws in California
A very important aspect of a child’s life is education. Every child in the state has the right to an education. As well, the law stipulates that education is mandatory and the failure to attend can result in criminal charges. There are some specific exceptions to the law; however, truancy laws apply to those who repeatedly fail to go to school without reason. It is important that parents and students, who face truancy allegations, take the allegations seriously. If you have any questions about your rights, speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
Truancy occurs in specific situations. First, a student can be truant if they are chronically truant. To meet this standard, school records must show that the student missed at least 10 percent of classes for one year. Furthermore, truancy can include students who are absent for at least three days of the school year, are absent for at least 30 minutes three days of the year or are late three times in the school year. You may think this applies to a lot of students, especially if students miss class due to illness or a medical appointment. You’re not wrong, but if a student has a valid excuse, they are not considered a truant. There are many kinds of legitimate excused absences, but the school must be informed.
When a school identifies a possible case of truancy, the first step is not to alert the authorities. Instead, the school issues a notice to the parents, in order to notify them of the student’s absence or lateness. If further truancy occurs, the school can issue additional notices; however, the final notice will result in a meeting with the parents. At this point, a case can be referred to the authorities. If the parents fail to properly adhere to the consequences and fail to take steps to address the truancy, they could face criminal charges, which can require fines and possible jail time.