Student Attendance Review Board (SARB)
Compulsory Attendance Laws
School attendance is required by state law, called Education Code (Ed Code). Ed Code section 48200 requires that every child 6 to 18 years old must attend school every day and on time, unless there is an acceptable reason (defined by Ed Code) for the absence. Acceptable reasons for excused absences include, but are not limited to, illness, medical appointments, and attendance at family funeral services. Unexcused absences include non-bereavement travel (such as for pleasure, business, visa renewal, etc.), attending sporting events or concerts, babysitting, accompanying parents/older siblings on travel, and more. Parents/guardians are responsible for their child's school attendance and must notify the school when their child is not in school and include the reason, regardless of whether it is excused or unexcused.
Ed Code states that a student is truant if that student:
- Is absent from school without an Ed Code-valid excuse three full days in one school year; or
- Is tardy or absent for more than a 30-minute period during the school day without an Ed Code-valid excuse on three occasions in one school year;
or any combination thereof. (Ed Code, 48260(a)). California law requires public schools to send parents notifications of truancy in writing after any three unexcused absences and/ or tardies over 30 minutes. This notification is meant to promote communication between the home and the school. Parents are always encouraged to contact the school site when questions of school attendance arise.
School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
Schools work closely with families whenever a student is experiencing attendance problems. If the problem cannot be resolved by school staff, the school may refer the student and family to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB). The purpose of the SARB is to provide "intensive guidance and coordinated community services" to "meet the special needs of pupils with school attendance problems" (Ed. Code, 48320, subd. (a)). While the intent of the SARB is to provide families with intentional support services, a SARB also has the power to refer students and their parents to the county District Attorney. Such referrals are made to help families understand and meet the requirements of California's compulsory education laws.