School Attendance and Truancy
Truancy is the willful, unjustified, and unexcused failure by a minor to attend school. (See Education Code Section 48260.) Truancy may bring a minor within the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 601. In San Diego County, truancy is addressed through a graduated approach that involves schools, the District Attorney's Office, the Probation Department, and local resources.
School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
The law requires parents to send their children between the ages of 6 and 18 to school. If they fail to do so, they can be brought before the School Attendance Review Board which will offer resources to assist the family. If the child's attendance does not improve, the school district will refer the family to the Juvenile District Attorney’s Office for participation in the Truancy Mediation Program or the Truancy Diversion Program.
Truancy Mediation Program
A referral to the Truancy Mediation Program is most often made for children in elementary school but may be made for a child of any age.
The minor and his/her parent(s) will be required to attend a Mediation Meeting with a Deputy District Attorney regarding the minor's truancy issues. These meetings typically take place at a courthouse or a police department. During the meeting, the minor and the parent(s) will discuss their truancy issues and will be required to sign an agreement designed to address those issues.
Failure to succeed in the Truancy Mediation Program will result in a referral to the Truancy Diversion Program.
Truancy Diversion Program
A minor with serious truancy issues may be referred to the Truancy Diversion Program. The Truancy Diversion Program is offered in two locations:
Juvenile Court, Department 4
2851 Meadow Lark Drive
San Diego, CA 92123
North County Regional Center, Department 3
325 South Melrose Drive
Vista, CA 92081
In the Truancy Diversion Program, the minor will face consequences and will also receive assistance with the issues that are causing him/her to be truant. The minor will be assigned a probation officer, social worker, and/or case manager to supervise the minor and work with the family.
Other aspects of the Truancy Diversion Program may include a curfew; community service; tutoring; counseling; drug treatment and testing; parenting classes; the loss of privileges, including a California Driver’s License/Permit or a Work Permit; and any other consequences deemed appropriate.
Citation for Truancy / Daytime Loitering
Any peace officer may issue a citation to a minor who violates the truancy laws. The citation will require the minor to appear in the Juvenile Minor Offense Court. This is a different proceeding, with additional and different consequences than the Truancy Diversion and Mediation Programs.