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California Schools Send Truancy Letters for Family Vacations. Some Parents Think That Isn’t Right.

California’s strict truancy laws are rubbing some parents the wrong way.

A student only needs to be 30 minutes late for school three times to be labeled a truant and have a letter sent home threatening their parents with prosecution. Being tagged a chronic truant – after missing 10 percent or more of the school year – could mean up to a $2,000 fine and jail time for parents or the student.

California school districts have a new urgency to increase attendance now that truancy will be officially counted as a measure of school performance on the state’s new dashboard, which will replace the Academic Performance Index score in December.

But some parents believe that districts should give parents more discretion to take kids out of school.