In Tehama County, schools monitor student attendance and identify children that have an unusual amount of unexcused absences. Obviously, accountability is essential for children to be successful students, which is why parents of children that are habitually truant can be held responsible for a child's unexcused absence(s) from school. In Tehama County there is a Truancy Officer who is primarily responsible for conducting these inquires.

Truancy can be described as any unauthorized absence from school, cutting school, skipping school, ditching school, ect. When school officials discover a pattern of truancies it will generally trigger a letter being forwarded to the student's parents advising them of the unexcused absences. Rhoads says that letter is basically a first notice to inform the parents of the truancies, which can sometimes be cleared up by an explanation of the absence(s). Any subsequent truancy could result in further administrative action by the school in a Student Attendance Review Board hearing (S.A.R.B).

The Student Attendance Review Board (S.A.R.B.) is comprised of different school officials who meet with the parents and student after a pattern of truancy has been identified and brought to the attention of the parent/guardian. "The purpose of the meeting is to determine why the student is not attending school and to offer services to aid in the child's attendance," says Investigator Rhoads.

What happens if a parent doesn't comply and their child is continually truant? If a student continues to have unexcused absences after a Student Attendance Review Board meeting, Investigator Rhoades is notified and conducts an investigation. That investigation could result in the parent/guardian of a habitually truant student being issued a citation. The citation would require the parent to appear in Superior Court and face criminal charges. Investigator Rhoads said most parents and students comply; however, there have been some recent instances where Investigator Rhoads has issued parent(s) citations for their children being habitually truant from school.

Anyone with question regarding truancy can contact Investigator Rhoads by calling the Tehama County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigations at 530-529-3053.

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