Educating Your Child About the Legal Ramifications of Truancy

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So many kids these days play truant – because they can easily get away with it. They skip classes because they want to do other things other than study; and there are also some who just want to sit around and do nothing. But truancy or being absent from class has some serious consequences, especially if there’s no valid reason for an absence. Parents of truant kids could be fined, or worse, go to jail. Truant students could also be punished. Apart from punishment, children who don’t regularly go to their classes fall behind in class. This could lead to a variety of academic problems. For instance, they won’t be able to attain the grades that they need in order to get accepted into a good university, and they might also fail or get low scores on assessments and other examinations.

The Chronic and Habitual Truant

Is your child absent from school for 10% or more of the school days in a designated school year? If so, then he is classified, under Education Code Section 48263.6, as a chronic truant. Also, a child who has been reported for truancy 3 or more times in one school term is a habitual truant. In case a student is a habitual truant, the school will most likely have reported or have tried to communicate the truancy to the child’s parents, guardian or custodian.

Students – Penalties or Punishment for Truancy


Education Code 48264.5 defines the punishments for kids who play truant. In general, punishments for first-time offenders are not as severe compared with what’s in store for habitual or chronic truants. Schools can use several methods to punish truants, but actions should still be in accordance with EC 48264.5. For instance, the punishment for a teenager who plays truant for the first time will most likely include a written warning, and the student will have to go to makeup classes. Kids who always fail to attend their classes will endure more serious consequences. More serious penalties include community service, payment of fines, or suspension of learner’s permit or driver’s license. Some students may also be required by the court to attend truancy prevention programs.

Parents – Punishment for Child Truancy

The parents or guardians of a truant child can be punished under the Education Code and Penal Code. Parents of first-time truants will likely pay fines. But penalties will progress in case truancy persists. Fines will increase, and there is also possibility of conviction. Depending on the court’s decision, parents will also be required to meet with school representatives, including teachers, counselors, or psychologists. If parents have existing problems, such as addiction or lack of finances, the court might also refer them to government services, like those that help with child care and housing, or substance abuse treatment.

Dealing with Truancy

In order for parents to know the activities of their kids in school, they should regularly communicate with teachers and other school authorities. It is also essential for parents and children to have open lines of communication. This way, a child will be able to inform his parents why he doesn’t want to go to school. There might be issues regarding bullying or inability to cope with academic activities.

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Claire Brown is a freelance writer. She blogs for many legal websites. She also writes for Bail Bonds Direct, CA which is a company that provides bail assistance to those who are having problems with the law.





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