CHRONIC ABSENCE AND TRUANCY
Chronic absentee means a student who is absent for any reason on 10 percent or more of the school days in the school year, when the total number of days the student is absent is divided by the total number of days the student is enrolled and school was actually taught in the regular day schools of the district, exclusive of Saturdays and Sundays.
Truant means a student who is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year, or tardy or absent for more than any 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof. (Education Code 48260)
Habitual truant means a student who has been reported as a truant three or more times within the same school year, provided the district has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one conference with the student and his/her parent/guardian. (Education Code 48262, 48264.5)
Chronic truant means a student who has been absent from school without a valid excuse for 10 percent or more of the school days in one school year, from the date of enrollment to the current date, provided the district has met the requirements of Education Code 48260-48263 and 48291. (Education Code 48263.6)
The Superintendent or designee shall appoint an attendance coordinator as necessary to coordinate the attendance of district students. Such coordinator shall perform duties related to compulsory full-time education, truancy, and any additional duties prescribed by the Superintendent. (Education Code 48240, 48243, 48244)
Addressing Chronic Absence
When a student is identified as a chronic absentee, the attendance coordinator shall communicate with the student and his/her parent/guardian to determine the reason(s) for the excessive absences, ensure the student and parent/guardian are aware of the adverse consequences of poor attendance, and jointly develop a plan for improving the student’s school attendance.
The student may be referred to a student success team or school-site attendance review team to assist in evaluating the student’s needs and identifying strategies and programs that may assist him/her.
A student who is struggling academically may be offered tutoring or other supplemental instruction, extended learning opportunities, and/or alternative educational options as appropriate.
Whenever chronic absenteeism is linked to a nonschool condition, the attendance coordinator may recommend community resources and/or collaborate with community agencies and organizations to address the needs of the student and his/her family.
An attendance coordinator, peace officer, probation officer, or school administrator or designee may arrest or assume temporary custody, during school hours, of any minor student found away from his/her home who is absent from school without a valid excuse. Any person arresting or assuming temporary custody of a minor student shall deliver the student and make reports in accordance with Education Code 48265 and 48266. (Education Code 48264, 48265, 48266)
The attendance coordinator shall investigate a complaint from any person that a parent/guardian has violated the state compulsory education laws contained in Education Code 48200-48341. (Education Code 48290)
When a student has been identified as a truant, as defined above, the following steps shall be implemented based on the number of truancies he/she has committed:
1. Initial truancy
a. A student who is initially classified as truant shall be reported to the attendance coordinator. (Education Code 48260)
b. The student’s parent/guardian shall be notified by the most cost-effective method possible, which may include email or a telephone call, that: (Education Code 48260.5)
(1) The student is truant.
(2) The parent/guardian is obligated to compel the student to attend school. If the parent/guardian fails to meet this obligation, he/she may be guilty of an infraction of the law and subject to prosecution pursuant to Education Code 48290-48296.
(3) Alternative educational programs are available in the district.
(4) The parent/guardian has the right to meet with appropriate school personnel to discuss solutions to the student’s truancy.
(5) The student may be subject to arrest or held in temporary custody by a probation officer, a peace officer, a school administrator or attendance coordinator or his/her designee under Education Code 48264 if found away from home and absent from school without a valid excuse.
(6) The student may be subject to suspension, restriction, or delay of his/her driving privilege pursuant to Vehicle Code 13202.7.
(7) It is recommended that the parent/guardian accompany the student to school and attend classes with the student for one day.
c. The student may be required to attend makeup classes on one day of a weekend pursuant to Education Code 37223. (Education Code 48264.5)
d. The student may be given a written warning by a peace officer. A record of this warning may be kept at school for not less than two years or until the student graduates or transfers from the school. If the student transfers, the record may be forwarded to the new school. (Education Code 48264.5)
e. The attendance coordinator may notify the district attorney and/or probation officer of the name of each student who has been classified as a truant and the name and address of the student’s parents/guardians. (Education Code 48260.6)
2. Second truancy
a. Any student who has once been reported as a truant shall again be reported to the attendance coordinator as a truant if he/she is absent from school without valid excuse one or more days or is tardy on one or more days. (Education Code 48261)
b. The student may be required to attend makeup classes on one day of a weekend pursuant to Education Code 37223. (Education Code 48264.5)
c. The student may be assigned to an after-school or weekend study program within the county. If the student fails to successfully complete this study program, he/she shall be subject to item #3 below. (Education Code 48264.5)
d. An appropriate staff member shall make a conscientious effort to hold at least one conference with the student and parent/guardian by communicating with the parent/guardian at least once using the most cost-effective method possible, which may include email or a telephone call. (Education Code 48262)
e. The attendance coordinator may notify the district attorney and/or probation officer whether the student continues to be classified as a truant after the parents/guardians have been notified in accordance with item #1b above. (Education Code 48260.6)
3. Third truancy (habitual truancy)
a. A student who is habitually truant, irregular in school attendance, or habitually insubordinate or disorderly during attendance at school may be referred to, and required to attend, a school attendance review board (SARB) program, a truancy mediation program established by the district attorney or the probation officer, or a comparable program deemed acceptable by the district’s attendance coordinator. (Education Code 48263, 48264.5)
b. Upon making a referral to the SARB or the probation department, the attendance coordinator shall provide the student and parent/guardian, in writing, the name and address of the SARB or probation department and the reason for the referral. This notice shall indicate that the student and parent/guardian shall be required, along with the district staff person making the referral, to meet with the SARB or a probation officer to consider a proper disposition of the referral. (Education Code 48263)
c. If the student does not successfully complete the truancy mediation program or other similar program, he/she shall be subject to item #4 below. (Education Code 48264.5)
d. If the attendance coordinator determines that available community services cannot resolve the problem of the truant or insubordinate student or if the student and/or student’s parents/guardians have failed to respond to the directives of the district or to services provided, the attendance coordinator may so notify the district attorney and/or the probation officer. (Education Code 48263)
4. Fourth truancy
a. Upon his/her fourth truancy within the same school year, the student shall be within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. (Education Code 48264.5; Welfare and Institutions Code 601)
b. If a student has been adjudged by the county juvenile court to be a habitual truant, the attendance Coordinator shall notify the juvenile court and the student’s probation or parole officer whenever the student is truant or tardy on one or more days without a valid excuse in the same or succeeding school year, or is habitually insubordinate or disorderly at school. The juvenile court and probation or parole officer shall be notified within 10 days of the violation. (Education Code 48267)
5. Absence for 10 percent of school days (chronic truancy)
a. The attendance coordinator shall ensure that the student’s parents/guardians are offered language-accessible support services to address the student’s truancy.
b. If a chronically truant student is at least age 6 years and is in any of grades K-8, the attendance coordinator shall notify the parents/guardians that failure to reasonably supervise and encourage the student’s school attendance may result in the parent/guardian being found guilty of a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code 270.1.
The Superintendent or designee shall maintain accurate attendance records for students identified as habitual or chronic truants. The Superintendent or designee also shall document all contacts with a student and his/her parent/guardian regarding the student’s attendance, including a summary of all conversations and a record of all intervention efforts.
The Superintendent or designee shall gather and transmit to the County Superintendent of Schools the number and types of referrals made to the SARB and of requests for petitions made to the juvenile court. (Education Code 48273)