The Importance of School Attendance

  • Learning is a progressive activity, and each day's lessons build upon the previous days.
  • Students with good attendance generally achieve higher grades and enjoy school more.
  • Children who do not attend school regularly are often unable to keep up with the work.
  • School helps children build friendships and essential socialization skills.
  • Attending school regularly teaches children life skills, such as the capacity to understand, follow directions, and plan for the future.

Parents and legal guardians are responsible for student school attendance, and students who miss school may be defined as "truant."

A truant is a student who misses school without a valid excused absence for:

  • Three unexcused absences and/or;
  • Three tardies and/or;
  • Three absences of more than 30 minutes.

A student that is habitually truant* may be referred to the district attorney's office for legal action, and parents who fail to ensure their student's attendance may be subject to prosecution.

Who does truancy affect?

Students: When a truant student returns to school, they require more individual attention from the teacher and deprive other students of the teacher's attention.

Schools and districts: State financial support for schools is directly linked to student attendance. The more absences, the less revenue to the district. With less revenue, the district has less ability to offer educational programs for all students.

The community: The community loses a productive contributor when a student does not receive an education and studies show that criminal activity increases when students are not in school.

Are there legal consequences for truancy?

Parents of truant students may be subject to fines, parenting classes, loss of welfare benefits, and/or jail time. Consequences for truant students may include fines, community service work, loss of a work permit, or suspension or delay of a California driver's license.

​* Six unexcused absences, or six tardiness or absences of more than 30 minutes, or any combination thereof