In California every child between the ages of 6 and 18 are required to attend public school full-time, unless subject to an exemption. Every parent of a child ages 6-18 is legally mandated to ensure that his/her child attends school.
The California Legislature defined a truant in very precise language. In summary, it states that a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant and reported to the proper school authority. This classification and referral helps emphasize the importance of school attendance and is intended to help minimize interference with instruction.
Definition of a Truant
Education Code Section 48260 (a) A pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year or tardy or absent for more than a 30 minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof, shall be classified as a truant and shall be reported to the attendance supervisor or to the superintendent of the school district.
Definition of a Chronic Truant
Education Code Section 48263.6: Any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse for ten percent or more of the school days in one school year, from the date of enrollment to the current date, is deemed a chronic truant, provided that the appropriate school district officer or employee has compiled with Education Codes Sections 48260, 48260.5, 48261, 48262, 48263, and 48291.
Belmont-Redwood Shores School District staff believes that every minute of a child’s time at school is important. Children who are absent for even one day, or who arrive later than their classmates, miss valuable instruction time and can easily fall behind in school. They also miss important socialization time and fun with their peers. Our pupil attendance policies include state truancy legal requirements and Intervention strategies.
1st and 2nd unexcused absence or tardy - When a student has a first or second unexcused absence or tardy in excess of 30 minutes, the school may choose to contact the parents to speak about the absence/tardy.
3rd unexcused absence or tardy - The law requires that a 1st Notification of Truancy be provided to a guardian, and reported to the attendance supervisor or superintendent. All additional truancies must be reported to them as well. The notice must include certain information required by law.
4th unexcused absence or tardy- The law requires that a 2nd Notification of Truancy be provided to the district attendance supervisor or superintendent. Guardians will also be notified. The school may choose to hold a Student Study Team Meeting with the guardian and school staff to discuss an attendance plan.
5th unexcused absence or tardy- The law requires that a 3rd Notification of Truancy be provided to the guardian. The district is required to make a conscientious effort to meet with the guardian. After the third report of truancy or if a student has irregular attendance, a student may be referred to a School Attendance Review Board (SARB), a multi-agency board that connects families with services in exchange for plan to improve attendance.
Habitually Truant- Once the school has filled the appropriate reports regarding truancy and made a conscientious effort to meet with the parent, the student is then deemed a “habitual truant”.
Chronically Truant- A student who has missed 10% or more of the school days in one school year—from the date of enrollment to the current date---due to unexcused absences is deemed a “chronic truant”.
consequences for truancy
If the truancy is not corrected, students will be referred to the San Mateo County School Attendance Review Board (SARB). Truancy letters are generated during the school year. For more information on excused/unexcused absence and truancy, contact the school principal.