Truancy is a crime that applies to minors who skip school too many times without a valid excuse. While this might not sound like a big deal, it is a law that is taken very seriously and can lead to consequences for both the student skipping school as well as the minor's guardians.
According to Kansas law, a number of conditions can constitute truancy. A student is truant if they are between the ages of seven and 18 and missed three consecutive days in a row without an excuse, five unexcused absences in a semester or seven unexcused absences in a school year. A student who meets any of those conditions can be reported for truancy.
First Time Offenders
The District Attorney receives notice from the school about a student's truancy, and an investigation is launched to determine the cause. Sometimes charges are dismissed if the reasons are found to be legitimate and medical, but reporting just wasn't done in a timely fashion. If this is the student's first violation, then the parents will be sent a notice letter and the student can avoid punishment by taking a Truancy Diversion class. Perfect attendance is expected after completion of the class.
Consequences for Repeat Offenders
If a student is truant on more than one occasion, then the consequences of a reported truancy can be more severe. The parents can be fined for neglect in certain cases. Students can be removed from their parents and their homes and placed in the custody of the Kansas Department of Social Rehabilitation Services (SRS). If a student wants to drop out after the age of 16 to avoid the truancy punishments, this is allowed under Kansas law but only if the student and a parent attend a counseling session at the school and the parent signs a legal disclaimer.
Monty Dayton is a professional freelance writer who has worked for the ACLU, Touchstone Publishing LLC, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and many other employers. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska and loves writing about travel, the outdoors and health topics.