California compulsory education law requires everyone between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age to attend school. Some students, however, violate compulsory education laws and have a pattern of unexcused absences. Although truancy and excessive absenteeism are not new problems, they cause costly, long-term problems for the students, school, and the community.
In 1974, the Legislature enacted Education Code Section 48320 to enhance the enforcement of compulsory education laws and to divert students with school attendance or behavior problems from the juvenile justice system until all available resources have been exhausted. Education Code Section 48321 provides several organizational structures for School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) at the local and county level to create a safety net for students with persistent attendance or behavior problems. Although the goal of SARBs is to keep students in school and provide them with a meaningful educational experience, SARBs do have the power, when necessary, to refer truant students and their parents or guardians to court. A truant student is defined as any student who has three (3) unexcused absences, is tardy more than 30 minutes three times, or any combination of three unexcused absences or 30-minute tardies. Standard School District, through the SARB process, will address school attendance problems.