What is Truancy?

According to, definitions of truancy are usually established by school district policy and may vary by state and school districts. Any unexcused absence from school is considered a truancy, but states enact their own school attendance laws. Truancy is a status offense – an act that is a crime due to the young age of the actor, but would not be illegal for someone older. The other most common status offenses are running away from home, alcohol use, curfew violations, and ungovernability.

Our hope is to receive additional funding in the near future to allow us to take this training on the road again to other areas in the Commonwealth. Please bookmark this site and check back with us periodically. Information on additional training topics will be posted as soon as they are available.

What does Virginia law say about school attendance?

Virginia law requires:

  • parents to send children to school;
  • students to attend school; and
  • schools to take specific action when children are not enrolled or students fail to attend.

State law also authorizes law enforcement officers to pick up students who are skipping school, and juvenile courts to take action against parents and/or children for failure to attend. For more information on attendance laws and exceptions, go to the "Offenses" section of the Juvenile Law Handbook.

Other Truancy Resources

  • Attendance Works is a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice concerning school attendance. Their goals are to promote tracking chronic absenteeism and providing assistance to families and agencies to guide and intervene on behalf of problem schools or children.
  • Improving School Attendance (a Resource Guide for Virginia Schools) is an information resource by which Virginia schools can try to improve school attendance.
  • National Center for School Engagement provides resources and research to schools and government agencies on several levels.
  • Center for School Community Collaboration
  • School of Education @ Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Mailing Address:
  • VCU Box 980626
  • Richmond, Virginia 23298-2020
  • Physical Location:
  • 3600 West Broad Street
  • First Floor, Suite 117
  • Richmond, Virginia 23230
  • Phone: (804) 828-1482
  • Fax: (804) 827-0480
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