The Plumas County Truancy Prevention Team (TPT) supplements school truancy programs by offering early intervention designed to identify and correct the root cause of truancy.
California has mandatory education. Children 6 to 18 must attend school regularly, arrive on time, and remain in school until dismissed. Students who are absent from school on three nonconsecutive days or are late more than 30 minutes for three days in a school year (without an accepted excuse) are considered truant. Should absences or tardiness continue after warnings from the school, the student may be considered habitually truant and be required to attend a School Attendance Review Board (SARB). Should SARB intervention fail, the student and his or her parent or guardian may be criminally prosecuted.
While education is the key to success, truancy has been demonstrated to be a gateway to economic hardship, and worse. Truancy has been linked to school dropouts and poor academic performance, an increase in the likelihood that youth will engage in drug and alcohol use, fighting, theft, and more serious forms of delinquency. Over the long term, adults who were truant as adolescents are more likely to have poorer health outcomes, lower-paying jobs, and a greater chance of being incarcerated during their lifetimes. San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office reports that 78% of prison inmates had truancy as their first entry on their arrest record. Truancy also impacts the truant’s classmates. A 2001-2008 study in New York found students with a high attendance rate suffer academically from attending a school with high absenteeism.
Upon a student becoming truant, and contemporaneous to a notification letter, the TPT will be alerted and arrange a meeting with the truant and the truant’s parent or guardian that school week. The goal of the meeting is threefold: 1) educate the truant and parent/guardian as to legal responsibilities of education; 2) Identify the root cause for the truancy; and 3) Provide resource options to the truant and parent/guardian to address the root cause of the truancy.
Continual contact with the truant will occur during the school year as appropriate. Further instances of truancy will be met with a same-day response. The TPT will contact a school point of contact as appropriate to monitor the student’s attendance and performance. Support and resources will continue to be assessed and offered.
The TPT will track identified truants during their education in Plumas County. The intent is to obtain attendance and performance records during the truant year as well as subsequent years.