What Are The Student Attendance Laws?
California Education Codes
48200 – Children Between Ages of 6 and 18 Years
Each person between the ages of 6 and 18 years, not otherwise exempted, is subject to compulsory full-time education.
48260 (a) - Definition of Truant
Any pupil subject to compulsory, full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without valid excuse three full days in one school year or tardy or absent 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, is a truant and shall be reported to the attendance supervisor or to the superintendent of the school district.
All children between 6 and 18 years of age are required by California’s Education Code to attend school, and their parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child’s attendance. The law also states that a student’s refusal to attend school regularly can result in a referral to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB), Juvenile Probation, and the Juvenile Court System. Additionally, parents who fail to compel their student’s attendance may face criminal prosecution and penalties.
*Please see Resources section for additional Educational and Penal Code sections related to attendance.
What is SART?
Once the student is considered a habitual truant (3rd Step Truant), or has an excessive number of absences for illness, the student will be referred to the Principal/Designee who will arrange for a Student Attendance Review Team (SART) Meeting.
- Team members may consist of administrator, student, parent, school counselor, teacher, attendance liaison and/or Student Services staff.
- A corrective action plan will be developed with parental input.
- The student will again be directed to attend all classes unless excused for legal reason.
- The parents or guardians and student will be informed that failure to follow this directive will be considered “defiance of authority” and the next incident may lead to loss of extracurricular and co-curricular eligibility as well as a referral to SARB.
- Alternative programs, including the need for additional counseling will be discussed.
What is SARB?
The School Attendance Review Board addresses chronic attendance and truancy problems. SARB offers students a last chance to improve attendance before a referral is made to the Kings County SARB Committee.
When Does SARB Get Involved?
When school sites have exhausted their resources and attendance has not improved, a family can be referred to the SARB panel. A meeting will be scheduled for a hearing before the SARB panel and the student and parent/guardian are required to attend.
Who is on the SARB Panel?
At a SARB hearing, students and their parents will meet with a panel that may consist of a:
- SARB Coordinator
- Director of Student Services
- School Administrators
- Attendance Clerks
- School District Health staff
- Mental Health staff
- Lemoore Police Officer (Youth Development Officer)
- Referring School Site Representative
- Community based Organizations
How Does SARB Help?
SARB provides a wide variety of services that are designed to meet the needs of students and their families. The ultimate goal is to help students stay in school, attend regularly, and graduate. To that end, SARB:
- Recommends resources to support students at school
- Recommends parenting classes
- Coordinate transportation to school
- Collaborates with schools and counselors
- Recommends placements
- Connects families with agencies for counseling, tutoring and other services
- Works with probation and law enforcement
- Reinforces parental legal responsibility for student attendance, as required by the California Education Code
What Happens in a SARB Hearing?
A panel of volunteers examines the situation after listening to the student and parent explain why they are not attending school. The panel will develop a plan and the conditions/support that is developed will be added to a legally-binding contract which the student and parent will be required to follow. The SARB case manager has the authority to refer the case to the Kings County SARB panel if truancies and unexcused absences continue to be a problem following the SARB hearing.
PARENTS: You are responsible for your student's school attendance. You must let the school know if your student is out of school and give a legitimate reason for the absence. You must be sure your student attends school regularly and on time every day.
STUDENTS: If you miss school, you miss out on opportunities to learn how to become a good citizen, build lasting friendships and develop the skills and attitudes needed to become a valued employee.
Attendance Manual & Forms