How many days of school can you miss before you get held back? How many days of school can you miss before you have to go to court? In this article, I’ll describe how many days of school you or your child can miss – in the US – without an issue.
How many days of school can you miss before being held back? Although some states in the US differ in their rules, most schools consider students truants if their absences exceed more than 10 percent of the total days in a school year. Typically, one school year is equivalent to 180 days; so, 10 percent is 18 days.
How many days can you miss of school before you have to go to court? When a child is not yet 17 years old but has finished 6th grade, the court will consider the child a truant if he or she misses seven consecutive unexcused absences or ten unexcused absences within one academic year.
When your child incurs 18 days of excused or unexcused absences, they will be considered a truant. If you have a continuously absent child, you must know the number of days they are allowed to miss so that you can take appropriate action.
Read on to learn more about how many days of school you can miss before you get held back or go to court.
How Many Days of School Can You Miss Before Court or Are Held Back?
Before proceeding with the discussion, you first have to know some definitions of terms to better understand the topic.
What Is Chronic Absenteeism?
Chronic absenteeism is class absence for a total of 10 percent of the whole academic year, whether excused or unexcused. Generally, there are 180 days per school year. It implies an allowed absence of fewer than 18 days for the whole year.
What Is Truancy?
Truancy is being absent from school without any valid reason. In many states, students who are habitual truants are referred to the juvenile courts or juvenile detention centers. Foster care centers could also take them.
Truancy and absenteeism are both disadvantageous for you or your child. You would be missing quizzes and class activities that could cause you to fail.
Can a Student Fail Due to Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy?
Yes, a student can fail because the teacher conducts quizzes, oral/written reports, recitations, and discussions during classes. Being absent for more than 18 days or more within a school year would significantly affect a student‘s academic performance.
Additionally, you may be dropped or given a failed mark due to your absences, or your child may fail due to his absences.
How Many Days of School Can You Miss Before You Have to Go to Court?
How many days of school can you miss before you have to go to court? In California, a truant is a student that misses more than 30 minutes of instruction three times within the school year without an excuse. California’s state legislature has clearly defined this law.
When your child is not yet 17 years old but has finished 6th grade, he will be considered a truant if he misses seven consecutive unexcused absences or ten unexcused absences within one academic year. The school can consider a half-day absence as one day. You will have to verify it from your school.
When your child has not finished 6th grade and is at least seven years old, he will be considered a truant under the following circumstances:
- First, if he incurred seven unexcused absences within one school year.
- Second, if he incurred five consecutive unexcused absences.
In South Carolina, the state requires a child to attend school from ages 6 to 17. He also has to attend at least 170 days of the required 180 days of schooling. The laws on truancy are stricter. A child becomes a truant if he has three consecutive unexcused absences or has five unexcused absences during the year.
How many days of school can you miss in high school? How many days of school can you miss in elementary school? The same applies to both high school and elementary school.
Most schools consider students truants if their absences exceed more than 10 percent of the total days in a school year. Typically, one school year is equivalent to 180 days; thus, 10 percent is 18 days.
When a child is not yet 17 years old but has finished 6th grade, the court will consider the child a truant if they miss seven consecutive unexcused absences or ten unexcused absences within one academic year.
What Are Considered Excused Absences?
Excused absences fall in these categories:
- A family emergency
- An illness
- Educational activity approved by the school
- An unavoidable medical appointment
- Religious holiday
All absences that don’t fall in these categories are considered unexcused.
According to some state laws, children ages 7 to 17 must be in school. The state of Maine follows this law. Additionally, as the parent or adult living with your child, you are responsible for ensuring that he goes to school. If you don’t make sure that your kid goes to school, the court can charge you with a civil violation.
Also, the school has a responsibility to ensure that your child attends classes. Both of you have to work together to guarantee that truancy does not happen. You can do this by:
- Monitoring the absences of your child
- Cooperating and communicating with the teachers regularly
- Taking action at the first sign of absenteeism or truancy
- Seeking guidance and counseling, especially when you can’t solve issues immediately
- Referring to the school’s dropout prevention committee
- Consulting other appropriate organizations concerning the specific case of your child
In summary, you may be summoned to court when the following conditions occur:
- Your child has been identified as a truant by the school
- The school has sent a written notice about your child’s truancy and how you can resolve it
- You live with your child, who’s under your control
What Happens When You Are Summoned to Court?
Don’t worry! You won’t be charged with a crime. However, the court will consider it a civil violation. Thus, the court can implement any or all of the following:
- A fine of up to USD$250
- An order to accompany your child to school
- A mandate to do community service
- An order to cooperate with the school’s intervention program
- A request to attend counseling sessions or other proper services
- An order to institute an effective plan to make your child attend school
Primary Causes of Absenteeism and Truancy
The US Department of Education (ED) has reported that chronic absenteeism is a hidden academic crisis. Researchers found out that around 14 percent of students nationwide have been chronically absent. They have also identified the four major causes of truancy.
If you are a parent, it’s beneficial for you to know these primary causes to prevent your child from experiencing such problems. The primary causes are:
1. Family-related Factors
These factors usually affect younger children, such as those in kindergarten. An example is when a parent is extremely busy with work or is dependent on drugs. He won’t be able to send his child to school. Also, parents and their kids tend to lose interest in school when parents are unable to provide adequate food and secure home.
2. Student-related Factors
Student-related factors affect teenage students the most. Some examples of these factors are when students bully their classmates or other students. Bullying can create fear and anxiety, especially when victims are alone to tend for themselves. At times, some students tease other students. Another factor is the anxiety of earning bad grades and similar factors.
Here are other specific reasons:
- Depression or Mental Illness – Children with depression and other mental illnesses are more likely to miss classes because of their condition.
- Chronic Illnesses – Some children suffer from diabetes mellitus and asthma, which are the most common chronic illnesses that kids have.
- Autism and ADHD – Researchers also found out that autism and ADHD were two of the reasons why children miss their classes.
- School-related Factors – Students cut classes or prefer to be absent when teachers fail to arouse the student’s interest in their subjects. Moreover, students could also perceive the lack of concern or meanness of the teacher.
- Community-related Factors – These are factors that originate from the community where the child lives and interacts. An example is a discriminating community, which discourages families from sending their kids to school. Also, an unsafe community could discourage parents and their children from attending school.
We’ve answered, “how many days of school can you miss before you get held back”, and “how many days of school can you miss before you have to go to court”; next, let’s look at tips on how you can prevent your child from being absent.
Tips on How You Can Prevent Your Child’s Chronic Absenteeism or Truancy
1. Conduct a Medical Checkup
First, consult your physician and determine if your child has any underlying conditions you are not aware of. Make sure to consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist as well. This checkup is to make sure that your child is mentally and physically healthy. You can never prevent him from being absent from school if he is sick.
2. Have a Heart-to-Heart Talk with Your Child
After ensuring that your child is healthy, you should have a heart-to-heart talk with him and find out his problems. Show that you respect him by listening carefully. Also, don’t interrupt while your child is talking. Perhaps, he is enduring school bullying, or maybe his teacher singled him out. Let him feel comfortable in sharing his thoughts.
Avoid using negative words and encourage him to talk. Let him speak freely about his thoughts until he finishes before you open your mouth. And when you open your mouth, let him know that you understand his feelings.
If his reasons are not valid, you should explain why they are not enough reason for him to be absent. Give him an alternative that he could choose from and let him feel that his ideas matter.
You may want to write down his complaints/thoughts so you can discuss them with his teacher.
3. Let Your Child Feel Your Love
The most important thing that you should communicate to your child is that no matter what happens, you love him and always be there for him. This gesture will make him more self-confident and more courageous to face whatever problems he has. He would also be secure and feel safe, knowing that someone understands him.
4. Meet with His Teacher/s
Now, you have a good grasp of what’s going on with your child. Schedule a meeting with his teacher. Be candid about how your child feels and inform the teacher/s of these concerns.
You are there to solve the problem and not condone your child’s wrongdoing or blame him for everything. It’s a complex problem that involves your child, the teacher, the school staff, and the community. Let the teachers understand that you will willingly do your part to resolve the issue. But you also expect them to perform their responsibilities.
5. Be Willing to Spend Time Giving Moral Support to Your Child
You can show this by accompanying him to school in the mornings and visiting him as often as allowed. Attend parent-teacher meetings and actively participate in your child’s activities or programs, too
6. Get to Know His Classmates and Their Parents
Although your child is a victim of bullying, the bully may also have some problems of his own. Reaching out your hand can give them a chance to change for the better. Informing their parents could also bridge the gap and be beneficial to all concerned.
However, if there is an existing school protocol to follow for specific issues, you must abide by them. Whatever actions you decide on, you have to do it legitimately.
7. Remember to Follow Through
After resolving the problem, you should continue monitoring your child’s progress. Keep in contact with the school as well. This step would ensure that you correct the situation before it starts to worsen.
Conclusion – How Many Days Can You Miss of School Before Court or Are Held Back?
To summarize, how many days of school can you miss before you get held back or before you go to court? Most schools in the US consider students truants if their absences exceed more than 10 percent of the total days in a school year.
How many days can you miss of school? Since most schools in the US have 180 school days, the number of allowed absences must not be over 18 days in a year, whether these are excused or unexcused.
Knowing these facts would help you prevent being called to courts or have your kid obtain failing marks due to his absences. Also, you have to know the school’s policies regarding absences as there may be some deviations from the standard practice.