Truancy is when
when a school-age child or adolescent frequently misses school without an
adequate excuse. Each state has its own laws about missed school days and the
exact definition of truancy.
face problems with truancy. While absenteeism and truancy are more common among
middle school and high school students, truancy also occurs in elementary
students, especially in inner city schools.
Truancy is not a
crime. It is a status offense and involves law enforcement and the court
system. Youth who are on probation and become truant could go to jail. In some
cases, parents can be charged for allowing a child to become truant. Law
enforcement agencies are often involved in youth truancy cases because truancy can
be a precursor to delinquent behaviors and low-level crimes. It can also
indicate family problems.
can be caused by a wide range of factors. Often, multiple factors may cause
school is responsible for creating a safe learning environment, tracking
student attendance, communicating with parents, and ensuring that all policies
are clear, consistent, and communicated. Common ways a school may cause truancy
mental health issues and bullying
schools often cite parenting and home life as the cause of truancy, truant
youth often report school issues as the cause—for example, poor relationships
with teachers, boring classes, and lack of interest in school.
or guardians are responsible for sending minors to school, every day and on
time. Ways a parent or guardian may encourage truancy include:
to supervise children
to stay home or work to help the family
little value on education
youth also has a responsibility to show up at school, help create a positive
environment, and follow instructions from staff, teachers, and other adults.
Some youth-related causes for truancy are:
in to peer pressure to skip school
grades (especially being held back a grade)
behind on schoolwork
and alcohol use
in gang activity
no friends or social involvement at school
routinely miss school have an increased risk of:
- falling behind in school
- not graduating
- becoming socially isolated
- engaging in delinquent behaviors
- breaking the law
- substance abuse
- unstable relationships
- mental health issues
- going to jail
can lead to dropping out of school, which is related to low wages, high
unemployment, living in poverty, and criminal behaviors.
truancy requires a multifaceted approach that considers the school, the parents,
and the youth.
Rather than just
punishing truancy with suspension, schools are finding it more effective to
develop programs to work with these students. The most effective programs
The role of the
school starts with clearly communicating attendance policies and upholding
them. Schools also need to keep proper records, communicate problems to parents,
and work to improve poor conditions in the school. Staff should work to ensure that
students are matched with the right teachers and are getting special attention
Outside of the
school, preventing truancy begins at home, with open communication and problem
solving. This will help to determine the cause of the absenteeism.
If you are the
parent of a truant child, talk to school administrators to find ways to solve
the problem. In some cases, transferring classrooms or even a new school may
help. Rather than just punishing, finding actionable solutions is often
effective in reducing truancy.