Truancy Causes Issues in the Present and Future for Students

Truancy remains to be a problem in Louisana and Winn Parish schools.

“Truancy in schools is a HUGE problem. By the time students get to high school, they may have missed the equivalent of two or three years. It is very hard for teachers to build on prior knowledge when the previous knowledge is missing. When students are absent, they are lost, which makes them more reluctant to come to school. It becomes a never-ending cycle. Employers want workers who are present. These attendance habits begin at a young age,” says WSHS Counselor Deona Austin.

According to the Louisiana State Department of Education website, attendance requirements state: Louisiana requires students to attend school for a certain number of days to be promoted to the next grade and earn credit for a course. Under the law, students must attend school from age 7 to 18 or until they graduate from high school. Students are required to attend school regularly and must attend at least 167 days to earn credit and be eligible for promotion to the next grade.

When a student misses school, their absence falls under four categories:

  • Exempted and Excused: The student is allowed to make up the missed work and the absence is not counted against the attendance requirement. Examples are extended illness documented by a doctor or to celebrate religious holidays. There is no limit to these absences.
  • Non-Exempted and Excused: The student is allowed to make up the missed work but the absence is counted against the attendance requirement. An example is personal or family illness documented by a parent’s note. The number of non-exempt and excused absences is based on the number of school days offered. Schools are required to offer 177 days of school, which means a student can be absent for ten days. If more school days are offered, then the number of absences also increases.
  • Unexcused: The student is not allowed to make up the missed work and the absence is counted against the attendance requirement. An example is skipping school.
  • Suspensions: The student is allowed to make up the missed work but the absence is counted against the attendance requirement.

Tardiness is not counted against the attendance requirement. School districts may have their own policy on tardiness.

Students must be in attendance for at least 167 days in order to pass the course or grade and earn credit. Some school districts offer makeup classes that allow students to make up missed instructional time.

If a student has an excessive number of non-exempted absences, parents and legal guardians may make a formal appeal in accordance with the due process procedures established by the local school district or independent charter school. If a school district grants a waiver of the attendance requirement because of extenuating circumstances, students are eligible to make up missed work, receive grades and earn credit as long as they complete the missed work and pass the course.

What is the punishment for truancy in Louisiana?

(i) A first offense shall be punishable by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or the performance of not less than twenty-five hours of community service. (ii) Any subsequent offense shall be punishable in accordance with R.S.

What’s the maximum penalty for not sending your child to school?

Failing to enrol a child comes with maximum penalty is $2,750 for a first offence, and rises to $5,500 for a subsequent offence. The maximum penalty for breaching a compulsory schooling order is $11,000. Children over the age of 15 can face a maximum fine of $110 if they don’t comply with the order,…


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