In public schools, students that do not attend school without having excused absences from school are labeled truant. Truancy simply means that the child is absent from school without providing a valid reason for their absence. However, many occasions arise in which well-intending parents believe their child to be sick and prevent them from attending school, but fail to notify the school in a timely fashion. In addition, schools and parents occasionally get into disagreements about who is responsible for supervising students when they attempt to leave the school premises during the school day.
What Steps Should I Take If My Child Is Sick?
Parents that believe their child is sick but are in disagreement with schools about excessive absences should take the following steps. These steps include:
- Check the school's record - There are many instances where children with asthma or other illnesses will go to a health room on the school campus to report an illness. The school nurses in the health room will document these illnesses and make a report. These reports provide good documentation for parents to show all occasions where a child left school.
- Develop a plan - Schools are required to develop a health plan to accommodate children with illnesses. These are usually called 504 plans. Working to develop a plan will prevent further discrepancies regarding attendance.
What Happens if My Child Gets Caught?
Much research indicates that high levels of truancy result in students dropping out of school, which can lead to numerous other problems. In addition, research has shown that truancy can lead to crimes such as:
Parents should immediately take steps to learn the school's attendance policy and comply with the regulations. In addition, parents should attempt to think of ways to give incentives to children to stay in school and offer rewards to those that do well.
Should I Consult an Attorney?
An experienced education attorney can help parents deal with any issues with the school that arise from truancy. Many parents whose children have an illness that requires frequent absences, such as asthma, may have problems dealing with school officials regarding excessive absences. An experienced education attorney can also help parents work with schools to prevent their child from becoming truant or to develop a plan to accommodate the child.