California State Law requires that a students attend school EVERY day, ALL day.
48200 from the Education Code of the State of California states the following:
“Each person between the ages of 6 and 18 years is subject to compulsory full-time education…..and shall attend the public full-time day school or continuation school for the full school day.”
Who is a truant?
A truant is a student who is absent from school 3 times in a school year without having a good reason (an excused absence) or permission from home or school. (Education Code 48260)
Who is considered a habitual truant?
A habitual truant is a student who is absent from school 5 times in a school year without having a good reason (an excused absence) or permission from home or school (Education Codes 48260, 48261, and 48262).
How can I clear an absence for my student?
If a student is ill or has an excused or warranted reason for his/her absence, a parent may call the school within 72 hours (3 school days) to clear the absence.
What happens if I don’t clear my student’s absence?
If the parent/guardian fails to clear a student’s absence within the 72-hour period (3 school days), the absence will automatically turn into a cut, or an unexcused absence. Three cuts will result in truancy, and the student will automatically be placed on the next STEP of the KHSD Truancy Program.
What if I’m having a problem with my student attending school?
Parents are encouraged to seek immediate help from the school if they are having a problem with their student attending school. Schools want to help!
What can students do to avoid the consequences of truancy?
- Attend school every day, for the full school day.
- Be on time to class; don’t be tardy.
- Actively participate in class; do your work and do your best.
- Complete your homework.
- Follow the school’s discipline and attendance policies and procedures.
- Be a leader; do what’s right.
- Take charge of your education.
What can parents do to help their student succeed in school?
- Stay in touch with your student; know what’s going on.
- Provide a quiet place for them to study, and a regular, healthy routine.
- Stay in touch with your student’s school; visit.
- Monitor your student’s attendance.
- Seek help from the school when you need it. The Deans and Counselors want to help you and your student.
What actions may be taken against the student?
- An infraction under Welfare and Institutions Code 601 (b) may be filed against the truant student.
- Penalties against the student may include:
- 20 to 40 hours of community or school service.
- $50 fine with penalty assessments.
- Suspension or revocation of driving privileges.
What penalties may be imposed on the parent or guardian?
- The penalties with court may include a fine with penalties assessments of $420 for first offense, $570 for second offense, and $820 or more for the third offense.
- For a misdemeanor, the penalties may include a fine of $50 to $500; 5 to 25 days in jail with up to one year probation; and parenting classes
- Contributing to the delinquency of a minor under the age of 18 years is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by law. In addition to imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, a parent may be fined up to $2500 and receive up to 5 years of probation (Penal Code section 272)
- Welfare and Institutions Code, section 11253.5 authorizes the County Cal-WORKS office to reduce a family welfare grant if it is determined that the child is not “regularly attending school as required”.
The following STEPS are a series of progressive measures and interventions set by the KHSD to improve student attendance. Though each student will be held accountable for his/her actions and each parent held responsible for his/her student’s truancy, it is an overall goal of each school to increase daily attendance for the purpose of ensuring student achievement and success.
It is the goal of the KHSD that each student graduate from high school and receive a diploma.
||Student is contacted. Parent is notified. Student is labeled as a Truant (CA Ed. Code Section 48260.5)
||Student is contacted. Parent is notified. Intervention strategies may be implemented.
||Parent is required to meet with School Site Truancy Administrator. Intervention strategies may be implemented. Student may be placed on school probation. Student is labeled as Habitually Truant (CA Ed. Code Section 48262).
||Student and parent required to meet with Student Attendance Review Team (SART). Community and/or school service may be assigned.
||Student and parent are required to meet with the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) at the KHSD District Office.
||Student and/or parent may be issued a citation to appear in court. Student and parent will be required to appear in court. Fines and community service may be imposed.
: Students who were on STEP 5 in a previous school year will skip STEP 4 & 5 and go directly to STEP 6.What Can I do?
- Establish and stick to the basic routines (i.e., setting a bedtime and sticking to it, laying out clothes and packing a backpack the night before, waking up on time, etc.)
- Talk to your student about why going to school every day is critical and important.
- If your student is absent, work with the teachers to make sure she or he has an opportunity to learn and make up the academics missed.
- Reach out for help is you are experiencing tough times( i.e., Transportation, unstable housing, loss of a job, health problems) that make it difficult to get your child to school.
- Enroll in The Parent Project (contact your school for more information).
The Kern High School District allocates many resources helping our students be productive citizens. One of the major indicators of a successful life is consistent school attendance. Because we are committed to student success, we are happy to partner with other agencies helping our students develop positive school attendance patterns working toward a successful life.Bryon Schaefer, Ed.D.