Truancy is the action of staying away from school without good reason. Is it illegal in the state of Louisiana? The answer is YES! Can a parent go to jail if they don't abide by this law? Again, the answer is YES! The Truancy Law in Louisiana has been effect, since 1964. Since then it's been amended several times, with the last adjustment being in 2014. So this law has been around for a long time.

Why are parents in Calcasieu Parish getting letters from the school board pertaining to this law? Student attendance is becoming a problem in some districts in the parish, and parents need to be aware of attendance requirements in the state. That said, it's equally important for parents to understand the consequences of breaking this state law. KPLC 7 did a story on the Calcasieu Parish Truancy Policy recently, and this is what they reported:

KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Louisiana law requires students age 7 to 18 to attend school on a regular basis, until they graduate from high school. A student must go to school a certain number of days in order to be promoted to the next grade, and/or earn credit for a course. Bottom line... a student must attend school at least 167 days to earn required credits to be eligible for promotion to the next grade.

As parents/guardians, it is your responsibility to get your children to school. A student who is consistently tardy, or absent raises a "red flag." Their situation will be referred to an intervention program, or investigated by the TRUANCY ASSESSMENT AND SERVICE CENTER (TASC). If they find the parent/guardian is at fault, this can result in stiff fines, up to 30-days in jail, or both. Some states are striping families of welfare for violating truancy laws, while others are serving warrants and taking parents to jail. Can a student's habitual tardiness result in these penalties? Yes.  According to state law on tardiness, school districts may have their own policy.

Truancy laws are being enforced across the country, in a effort to keep the nation's dropout rates in check. The good news is the, dropout rate in Louisiana is at an all-time low! Sometimes poverty, the breakdown in the family, or lack of resources can be the reason a child misses school. If you know of a child/children who are at risk, or living in crisis, click here for contact services. If you or someone you know is in need, click here for help.

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