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What is Truancy?
A child is truant when he is at an age where he must, by law, go to school and have a certain number of unexcused absences. The exact number of unexcused absences a child must have to be considered truant varies state by state.
Until What Age Must a Child Attend School?
The minimum age at which a child can stop going to school varies from state to state, although no state allows a child under 16 to drop out. In Iowa, for example, children must attend school until they are 16 years old; in Pennsylvania, children must attend until they are 17 years old.
What Happens if my Child's School Believes my Child is Truant?
The child's school is required to keep records of attendance. If your child has the requisite number of unexcused absences to be considered truant, the school district will give the child's parents notice and then file a truancy petition with family court.
Can Parents Be Punished if a Court Finds the Child Truant?
Depending on where you live, there are several penalties parents can face as a result of their child's truancy. These consequences can include:
- mandatory community service
- mandatory parenting education
Can Children Be Punished if a Court Finds the Child to be Truant?
Depending on where you live and how often the courts have found the child truant, a child may be:
- required to attend a special program (such as an alternative education program)
- required to surrender her driver's license for up to six months
My Child Has Been Declared a Truant. Do I Need a Lawyer?
Hiring a family law attorney can help make the court experience much easier. A family law lawyer will know the ins and outs of family courts and can help you get the best results possible for you and your child.
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Last Modified: 03-01-2011 03:13 PM PST
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