Laws on Excessive Absences in Elementary Schools in Oklahoma

The law requires you, as a parent, to ensure your child attends school on a regular basis. Oklahoma law has set guidelines for the amount of school your child might miss, and violating these guidelines may result in penalties for both you and your child.

Unexcused Absences

Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes considers a child who is absent from school for more than 10 days within a semester or four days within a four-week period without a valid excuse truant. Truancy is defined as the act or condition of being absent without permission 1. An unexcused absence is an absence that does not have an accompanying doctor's note or an absence that is not in observation of a school-sanctioned trip or religious holiday. In most cases, family vacations do not meet the requirements for excused absences, according to the Boone-Apache school district attendance policy. Excessive tardies also count toward unexcused absences, and the amount of tardies that equal one unexcused absence is up to your school district.

Compulsory Attendance

Under Oklahoma law, any child who is over the age of 5 must attend school. This school can be a private school, public school, approved online program or other means of schooling, such as home-school. A child may not withdraw from school until he has completed at least four years of a high school education. The exceptions to that rule are if the child cannot attend due to physical or mental disability or if the child is at least 16 years of age and receives written permission from both the school board and his parent or guardian.

Student Consequences

The student who is in violation of the attendance laws in place in Oklahoma can face penalties. These penalties can include expulsion, suspension and the need to repeat a grade year if there is substantial educational delinquency. In addition, children found to be skipping school can be arrested for truancy.

Parent Consequences

A parent who does not meet the requirements to compel a child to attend school could face both financial and legal penalties. If found guilty, you as a parent will receive a misdemeanor conviction and a fine of no less than $25 and up to five days in jail for a first offense. Second offenses will result in fines of no less than $50 and up to 10 days in jail and a third offense could cost you at least $100 and 15 days in jail. In addition, if the school board determines that your child was absent for more than 20 percent of the school year, you may lose any public assistance offered by the State of Oklahoma.

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