Schools are allowed to enforce attendance laws in accordance with the Education Code and the Penal Code. They are enforcing federal law by holding parents accountable when/if their child is excessively truant.
At what point is a child considered truant? Is there a difference between absence and truancy?
You can't have one without the other. In order for a student to be considered truant they must be absent. However, the problem comes from having unexcused absences. When a student misses an excessive amount of school, and exceed having 3 unexcused absences, they can be considered truant.
Typically, how many unexcused absences are permitted each year?
In the state of California, students are allowed three unexcused absences, OR three unexcused tardies, OR three-thirty minutes segments of class.
What charges can parents expect to face if their child is accused of being truant? What charges can students expect to face?
The charges depend on the degree of the truancy. There are two tiers of truancy: mild truancy and chronic/habitual truancy. Mild truancy; parents can expect a meeting with the school principal, teachers and the student will have to see his counselor. A student is considered chronically truantwhen he/she has missed more than 10% of schooling for that year. The charges for chronic truancy are more severe and can include up to $2,500 in fines, a year in jail, and students can lose driving privileges, be forced to do community service, put on probation and more.
For parents that do want to pull their children out of school for vacation, is there best way to do so?
For one, don't broadcast something in the face of public policy. Be smart about what you're posting on social media. Also, plan ahead. If your child misses class for a legitimate reason, be sure to get that absence excused. That way, you won't be taking away from their allotted 3 unexcused absences. Lastly, be sure to avoid taking your child out of school when they have exams or assignments due. Teachers are not obligated to allow your child to make up the missed assignments.