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Can a Parent be Prosecuted for their Child’s Lack of Attendance in School?

Children are required to attend school in California by law. If a child is absent from school, their parent can be prosecuted for truancy under the education code. Therefore, parents should understand the consequences of violating this law and make sure they know what counts as an excused absence for their child’s needs. Parents are often unsure about whether or not they can be prosecuted for their children’s lack of attendance at school in California.

What Are the Truancy Laws in California?

The Education Code contains California’s truancy laws. Students can be persistently absent. Chronic truants are children who have missed 10% of the school year, according to California Education Code. A truant is defined by this law as a child who, without a valid excuse, has:

  • 3 days of absence
  • 3 tardies
  • Absent 3 times for 30+ minutes

What are the Penalties of Failing to Supervise a Child’s School Attendance

Failure of parents or guardians to provide appropriate supervision and enforcement of their child’s school attendance is a criminal crime in California. The law applies to students in kindergarten through eighth grade who are six years old or older. Under Penal Code 270.1, the violation would be considered a misdemeanor. If proven guilty of the crime, the punishments’ would consist of; imprisonment for no more than one year in the county jail and/or a maximum fine of $2000. 

Criminal Penalties on Truancy?

Criminal offenses are frequently associated with a lack of student attendance. They are as follows for parents:

  • Failure to monitor a child’s attendance at school (Penal Code 270.1a PC)
  • Contributing to a minor’s delinquency (Penal Code 272)
  • Domestic abuse

A minor accused of skipping class could face charges for related juvenile offenses such as:

  • Marijuana Possession (Health and Safety Code 11357)
  • DUI stands for Drunk Driving (Vehicle Code 23152)
  • Violating the zero-alcohol policy for underage drivers (Vehicle Code 23136)
  • DUI by a minor with a BAC of 0.05 percent or higher (Vehicle Code 23140)

Schools attempt to schedule meetings between students and parents, as well as school officials such as the attendance supervisor, to discuss how to solve the truancy problem. Schools make every effort to connect families with local support services. Alternative educational programs may also be available.

Could a Parent be Prosecuted for their Child’s Lack of Attendance in School?

In order to form a valid case important requirements must be met; the student must be a “chronic truant” meaning the student is absent, without valid excuse, for 10 or more percent of the school days in one school year. The defendant must be a parent or guardian of a six year or older student in any grade from 1st through 8th. The child is subject to continuation education or compulsory full- time education. Along with the defendant failing to supervise the students attendance reasonably. 

What are Some Legal Defenses? 

There are several legal defenses a person can use if accused of failing to supervise a child’s school attendance, such as, the accused being able to provide proof of “reasonable” supervision, if the child in question was not considered a “chronic truant”, and if the defendant provided a coerced confession. To prove “reasonable” supervision the defendant may highlight the details in a case where, under the circumstances, their supervision was reasonable. If a coerced confession takes place, when the police use overbearing measures to get a confession, and can be proved, a judge may exempt the confession from evidence. A proved coerced confession may also lead the case to be dropped completely. 

Have more Questions about Failure to Supervise a Child’s School Attendance?

Truancy laws in California require children to attend school. Parents are required to provide their children with an education and follow truancy laws. The laws of the state applies to children aged 6 to 18. These children are required to attend school in their school district, whether elementary, middle, or high school. In California, it is against the law for children to not attend school and parents can face jail time for this act. Give KAASS LAW a call to get the compensation you need. To reach our office line, dial 310.943.1171 to book a consultation.

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