The ultimate goal of truancy prevention programs provided by School Attendance and Review Boards (SARBs) and prosecutions by the district attorneys is to help reduce the number of dropouts in the state's education system and increase the number of high school graduates.
California's compulsory education laws require children between six and eighteen years of age to attend school, with a limited number of specified exceptions. Under state law, a pupil who, without a valid excuse, is absent from school for three full days in one school year, or is tardy or absent for more than 30 minutes during the school day on three occasions in one school year, is considered truant. Once a student is designated a truant, state law requires schools, districts, counties, and courts to intervene to ensure that parents and pupils receive certain services to assist them in complying with attendance laws. When these various interventions fail—meaning parents or guardians still do not send a child to school or a student misses an unlawful amount of school—the matter is referred to the courts. Courts can then use penalties or other measures to seek compliance. Essentially, these various interventions exist to ensure that pupils remain in school and that a pattern is not established that could lead to their dropping out of school later in their educational career.
Students who are absent from school for any reasons provided in 48205 are not in violation of the compulsory attendance law upon verification by the district of the reason for the absence.
This regulation states a student may be excused legally from school when the absence is due to: