A child is truant when he or she is at an age where he or she must, by law, go to school. Often times, a child may only have a limited number of unexcused absences, and exceeding this number may result in the child being declared truant. The exact number of unexcused absences a child must have to be considered truant varies state by state.
The minimum age at which a child can stop going to school varies from state to state. However, as a general rule, no state allows a child under 16 to drop out or otherwise permanently stop attending school. For example, in Iowa, children must attend school until they are 16 years old. In Pennsylvania, by contrast, children must attend until they are 17 years old.
The child’s school is required to keep records of attendance. If a child has enough unexcused absences to be considered truant, the school district will give the child’s parents notice, and then potentialy file a truancy petition with family court.
Depending on where the parents live, there are several penalties they can face as a result of their child’s truancy. These consequences can include:
Depending on the state and how often the courts have found the child truant, a child may be:
Hiring a family lawyer can help make the court experience much easier. An experienced attorney will know the ins-and-outs of family courts, and can help you get the best results possible for you and your child.