The state mandates that school districts send a truancy letter to parents if a student has three unexcused absences of 30 minutes or longer. Please understand that an unexcused absence does not necessarily mean that the absence was not cleared by a parent or guardian. According to the California education code, an absence may be recorded as excused for the following reasons only:
- Medical appointments
- Court appearances
- Religious holidays
- Pre-approved independent study contract
An absence for any other reason is noted as unexcused and could result in the student receiving a truancy letter.
Truancy & Excessive Absences
An important part of academic success is good attendance. The school district has an attendance protocol to track truancy and excessive absences. Parents will be notified if students have a certain number of unexcused absences or an excessive number of excused absences.
You’ve received a Truancy letter. What does that mean?
This is to help explain what it means if you have received a truancy letter. While “truancy” appears to sound negative and accusatory, it is simply meant to be a notification that, for various reasons, your student has missed important instructional minutes during their absence from school. An “absence” can be a single period OR all day. It takes three instances of absence to issue a truancy letter.
Please note that no truancy information is included on student transcripts.
An “absence” can be a single period OR all day.
3 instances* of unexcused absences
1st Truancy Letter
2 additional instances* of unexcused absences (5 total absences)
2nd Truancy Letter
2 additional instances* of unexcused absences (7 total unexcused absences)
3rd Truancy Letter (Habitual)
*Instances = any absence between one period through one full day OR a tardy of 30 minutes or more.
The State of California defines what is considered an excused absence. Absences that are medical in nature or for bereavement are the ONLY reasons the state considers valid.
All other absences are considered non-excused, even if a parent or guardian called to report the absence. It is still important that you call in the absence, even if the reason is not one recognized by the state. The following are examples of non-excused absences:
- Personal reasons or business
- DMV or Passport appointment
- Going out of town
- College visits (unless you have completed a Pre-Approved Absence form)
- Unspecified appointment
- No reason given at the time absence was reported
- Sleeping in
- Studying at home
- Working on college applications
If your student believes they have been marked absent in class IN ERROR, before contacting their vice principal, they must pick up an attendance correction slip at the Attendance Office and take it to their teacher for correction. Teachers are “locked out” of Q after a certain length of time and are unable to go back and make any updates or changes. Students then bring this correction slip back to the Attendance Office for processing. Please have them do this as soon as you get a notification that your student has been absent or tardy to a class, but they were actually present the entire period. If you are unsure what period the absence notification refers to, please check Q, go to “Attendance Detail” to view the absences. Please have your student fix the absence even if they believe it was an error, so that it is reflected correctly in the system.