School attendance is one important measure of student engagement and a strong predictor of student academic achievement. Students who maintain good attendance are much more likely to be successful, both academically and socially. Every student is expected to attend school
for the length of the school day on a daily basis unless there is a valid justification for the absence (Education Code Section 48200). The goal for all students is to have 96% attendance or higher, which means no more than seven (7) absences all year long. Schools are required to
maintain up-to-date attendance records throughout the school year and corrections and updates to student attendance records are not allowed after the school year has closed.
Additional information and resources are available on the Student Health and Human Services (SHHS), Pupil Services website at https://achieve.lausd.net/pupilservices or by phone at 213 241-3844.
California Compulsory Full-Time Education Law
Education Code Section 48200 states that each person between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age not exempted under the provisions of Chapter 2 or Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 48400) is subject to compulsory full-time education. Each person subject to compulsory
full-time education and each person subject to compulsory continuation education not exempted under the provisions of Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 48400) shall attend the public full-time day school or continuation school or classes and for the full time designated
as the length of the school day by the governing board of the school district which the residency of either the parent or legal guardian is located and each parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of the pupil shall send the pupil to the public full-time day school or continuation school or classes and for the full time designated as the length of the school day by the governing board of the school district in which the residence of either the parent or legal guardian is located.
Los Angeles County, Code of Ordinances, Chapter 13.57 - DAYTIME RESTRICTIONS FOR MINORS
- It is unlawful for any minor under the age of 18, who is subject to compulsory education or to compulsory continuation education, to be “absent from school and found in a public place,” as defined in subsection B of this section, unless the minor has one of the valid excuses
specified in Section 13.57.020.
- For purposes of this chapter, a minor is “absent from school and found in a public place” if said minor is found idling, wandering, strolling,
playing, or aimlessly driving or riding about in or upon any public street, avenue, highway, road, curb area, alley, park, playground, or other
public ground, public place of public building, place of amusement or eating place, vacant lot or unsupervised place, or any place open to the public during the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. of the same day on days when said minor’s school is in session. Ord. 96-0009 § 1 (part), 1996]
In 2012, Los Angeles Unified Student Health and Human Services (SHHS), Pupil Services, the Los Angeles School Police Department, and
the City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) established a Truancy Diversion Program to support our students who are found in violation of the Daytime Restrictions Ordinance. Students who are found outside of school grounds by Los Angeles
School Police officers receive a Truancy Diversion Referral, rather than a truancy citation. Identified students and parents then meet with a Los Angeles Unified Pupil Services and Attendance (PSA) Counselor, located at one of several Youth Source Centers throughout the City ofLos Angeles. Students receive an educational assessment to identify strengths and areas of need with respect to academics, attendance, and social-emotional needs/behavior. PSA Counselors then provide appropriate referrals to services in the school and community and
collaborate with staff from the student's school of attendance to coordinate and ensure ongoing support. Absences, whether excused or unexcused, impact our students’ academic achievement. Students are expected to attend school daily unless absence is truly unavoidable.
It is the parent‘s/guardian‘s responsibility to provide documentation to verify reason(s) for absence within ten (10) days after the student returns to school in order to prevent absences from being recorded as uncleared/unexcused and counting towards truancy. Absences include coming to school late, leaving early, and missing class periods. Upon learning from a parent/guardian the reason(s) for a student’s absence, the following staff may verify the validity of an absence due to illness or quarantine (CA Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 421):
- A school or public health nurse;
- An attendance supervisor (e.g., PSA Counselor);
- A physician;
- A principal;
- A teacher;
- Any other qualified employee of a school district assigned to make such verification.
School-site staff authorized to verify absence excuses of any kind may, when presented facts that call into question the authenticity of the excuse, request additional information in support of the absence excuse, and/or may refuse to excuse the absence (CA Code of Regulations,
Title 5, Section 306).
Absences - Excused
California Education Code Section 48205 provides that a student/pupil shall be excused from school when the absence is due to:
- Illness or injury of pupil;
- Medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic services;
- Attending the funeral of an immediate family member e.g., mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, or any relative
living in the immediate household of the student (one day within the state, three days outside the state);
- Jury duty;
- Illness or medical treatment of a child of whom the student is the custodial parent (no doctor’s note required for illness of child).
Justifiable Personal Reasons, which means that the pupil‘s absence has been requested in writing by the parent and approved by the principal
or designee. Absences that fall into this category include, but are not limited to:
- Appearance in court;
- Attendance at a funeral service (extended days);
- Attendance at an educational conference offered by a non-profit organization (legislative/judicial);
- Attendance at an employment conference;
- Attendance at a religious retreat (shall not exceed four hours per semester);
- Entertainment industry work with valid work permit (no more than five consecutive days or a maximum of five absences per school
- Spending time with a family member called to duty for, on leave from, or just returned from active military duty in combat zone
(immediate family member; maximum three days);
- Medical exclusion or exemption;
- Serving as a member of a precinct board for an election;
- Observance of religious or cultural holiday, ceremony, or secular historical remembrance;
- Religious instruction (attend a minimum school day; occurs no more than four days per school month);
- Revoked suspension through appeals procedure;
- Participation in not-for-profit performing arts organization (maximum five days per school year);
- Pre-arranged mental health services (Mental Health Day Treatment);
- Take Your Child(ren) to Work Day;
- Attending the pupil’s naturalization ceremony.
Upon receiving appropriate verification that an absence occurred due to one of the reasons listed above, the school will consider the absence to be excused.
A student who is absent from school for an excused reason shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during the absence
that can reasonably be provided and, upon satisfactory completion, shall be given full credit. The teacher of any class from which a student is
absent shall determine which tests and assignments shall be reasonably equivalent to the tests and assignments that the student missed during the absence.
Absences - Unexcused
Absences for which no explanation is provided or absences for reasons other than those listed as EXCUSED ABSENCES (above) may be considered unexcused. Los Angeles Unified is required by law to seek an explanation from the parent/guardian (a written note or verbal
justification) regarding all absences within ten (10) days. Students with unexcused absences may be classified as truant (refer to Truancysection), and this could be grounds for referral to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) and to the City or District Attorney‘s Office.
Examples of UNEXCUSED absences include:
- Running errands for family;
- Vacations or trips;
- Weather Conditions;
- Transportation problems.
Any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school and/or tardy or absent
in excess of thirty (30) minutes on three occasions in one school year without valid excuse or any combination thereof, is considered to be a
truant under the law [Education Code Section 48260 (a)].
Upon a pupil‘s initial classification as a truant, the school district shall notify the pupil‘s parent/guardian (Education Code Section 48260.5) of
- The pupil is truant;
- That the parent/guardian is obligated to compel the attendance of the pupil at school;
- That parent/guardian who fails to meet these obligations may be guilty of an infraction and subject to prosecution;
- That alternative educational programs are available in the Los Angeles Unified;
- That the parent/guardian has the right to meet with appropriate school personnel to discuss solutions to the pupil‘s truancy;
- That the pupil may be subject to prosecution;
- That it is recommended that the parent/guardian accompany the pupil to school and attend classes with the pupil for one day.
Notification of Truancy
A truancy notification letter will be mailed to parents/guardians of students between the ages of 6 and 18 years when students accumulate three (3) or more unexcused absences, early leaves and/or tardies of 30 minutes or more in the school year. If a valid excuse has not been
provided within ten instructional days of an absence, it will remain uncleared and will be counted toward truancy classification. Unexcused or uncleared absences accumulated at any Los Angeles Unified school within the same school year count towards the classification of truancy.
Parents/guardians who receive a truancy notification may contact their child’s school (the school from which the letter was generated) if they believe that they have received a notification of truancy in error. School site personnel must enter all corrections to attendance records no later than June 30th of the respective school year.
Habitual Truancy and School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
Any pupil is deemed a habitual truant who has been reported as a truant three (3) or more times per school year and an appropriate Los Angeles Unified officer or employee has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one conference with the parent/guardian of the pupil and
the pupil themselves (Education Code Section 48262).
Any pupil who is deemed a habitual truant or is irregular in attendance in school or is habitually insubordinate or disorderly during attendance at school may be referred to a School Attendance Review Board (SARB). The School Attendance Review Board Representative will send a notice to parents/guardians, informing them of the date, time, and location of the School Attendance Review Board Hearing. The notice shall
indicate that the pupil and parents/guardians of the pupil will be required to meet with the School Attendance Review Board (Education Code
In the event that any parent/guardian, student, or other person continually and willfully fails to respond to directives of the School Attendance Review Board or services provided, the School Attendance Review Board may contact the Los Angeles Unified Attorney to notify the
parents/guardians of each pupil concerned, that they may be subject to prosecution (Education Code Section 48263.5). Los Angeles Unified partners with the Los Angeles County Office of the District Attorney and the Los Angeles Office of the City Attorney to provide support to truant students and their families.