One of the most important things families can do to help children succeed is to make sure they attend school regularly. In Minnesota, students must attend school until age 16. Teens ages 16 and 17 may withdraw from school only if their parents give written permission following a meeting with school personnel.
Students are considered truant when they miss school or class without a valid excuse. Truancy is often defined as five to seven days in a row of unexcused absences. Different schools and states may have different policies.
Unexcused Absences—reasons a student usually cannot miss school include:
Staying home to take care of siblings or visit with family members.
Missing the school bus.
Refusing to go to school.
Skipping school for the day or for a class period.
Working at a job that is not part of a class for school.
Sleeping too late
When your child is absent with a valid excuse, contact the school secretary the day of the absence. When your child returns to school make sure you give the school a written note explaining the absence.
Valid or Excused Absences—reasons a student usually can miss school include:
Illness or family emergency
Death of a family member
Doctor or dentist appointments
Here are some strategies to encourage school attendance:
Insist that your teenager or child goes to school every day.
Talk to your child about school and ask how you can help.
Discuss your concerns with your child's teachers.
Ask for referrals if necessary.
Ask the school to contact you immediately if your child is absent without a valid excuse.
Check-in with your child's teachers to find out how things are going for your child.
Get to know your child's friends and their families.
Truancy can have strong negative effects on students' lives. Students who are truant often end up using drugs and doing daytime crime.