Research shows that absences add up and that good attendance is essential to student achievement and graduation. In contrast, missing too much school (chronic absence and truancy) can lead to school drop-out, academic failure and juvenile delinquency.
State law requires school districts and schools to have specific policies and procedures regarding students who are truant. A truant is defined as a student who has has 4 unexcused absences from school in one month (30 consecutive calendar days) or 10 unexcused absences in one school year.
If a student becomes truant, their school is required to have a meeting with the student’s parent/ guardian within 10 school days. In this meeting, the school should work with the student and guardian to help the student return to school. Schools should also work with community agencies providing child and family services to address the student’s barriers to coming to school.
Ultimately, the most effective strategy for helping student be present in school is prevention. Attendance monitoring, enhancing school culture and community, increasing student engagement, and mentoring students for academic success are effective school-based strategies for preventing truancy.
NOTE: For more detail on determining if an absence is excused or unexcused, download the Connecticut State Department of Education's (CSDE) Guidelines for Excused and Unexcused Absences.
Truancy vs. Chronic Absence
Chronic absence and truancy are not interchangeable terms. They describe different aspects of the absence problem and require different approaches. Truancy is a term that generally refers to unexcused absences. Chronic absence, on the other hand, incorporates all absences: excused, unexcused absences, and suspensions and expulsions served.