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Truancy Laws in California

Posted by Jarrod M. Wilfert | Dec 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

According to California's truancy laws, every child—between the ages of six and 18 years old—is required to attend school. Failure to adhere to these laws can result in penalties for both students and their parents.

California Education Code 48260 defines a truant as a child who—without a proper excuse—is absent for three full days during one school year, absent three times for over 30 minutes, tardy three times in one school year, or any combination of three examples. In addition, if a student misses 10 percent of the school year, he/she is considered “chronically truant.”

The following are some of the acceptable excuses for truancy:

  • Student is ill
  • Medical, dental, or vision appointment for either student or parent
  • Quarantine issued by a local health officer
  • Attending an immediate family member's funeral
  • Jury duty
  • Personal reasons approved by the school

Students who are truants will be punished by their school's School Attendance and Review Board (SARB). Common forms of punishment include stripped school privileges, parent-teacher meetings that require the student to attend, and counseling.

For more severe cases, the SARB can refer the student to the local juvenile court. The court may issue more serious penalties against the student such as making up missed classes, suspending or revoking his/her driving privileges, or placing him/her in juvenile court probation.

If the SARB believes the parent allows their child to continuously miss school, it can refer the case to the district attorney. If the prosecutor thinks the parents fail to supervise a child's school attendance, a conviction can result in a maximum one-year jail term and a fine no more than $2,500. On the other hand, contributing to a child's delinquency is considered an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $250.

For more information about truancy in Ventura, contact Wilfert Law P.C. today at (805) 994-0560 and schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Jarrod M. Wilfert

Founding Attorney A Reputation of Excellence Jarrod M. Wilfert has been involved in criminal law for over a decade and as a former Police Officer, Prosecutor and certified Drug Recognition Expert, he brings a unique and aggressive perspective to the practice of criminal defense and civil litig...


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