The California school system takes truancy very seriously. They define a truant as a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant and reported to the proper school authority. If a student is truant, the parents/guardians of that student will be notified, and California schools make it the responsibility of the child and the parents to correct this behavior.
Both a student and his/her parents can be prosecuted for truancy. Penalties against parents apply when any parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of any student fails to compel the student to attend school. The penalties against parents become progressively severe with a second and third conviction. The penalties for parents of a truant read as follows:
- Upon a first conviction, by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100).
- Upon a second conviction, by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
- Upon a third or subsequent conviction, if the person has willfully refused to comply with this section, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500). In lieu of the fines prescribed in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), the court may order the person to be placed in a parent education and counseling program