California students are required by law to attend school between the ages of six and eighteen. Children who are sixteen or seventeen and who have either graduated from high school or passed the California High School Equivalency Exam can be out of school if they obtain parent permission. School attendance is a serious issue. Children who miss school frequently are far more likely to fail, drop out, and commit crime. Because of this, in 1974, California’s legislature created Student Attendance Review Boards (SARB).
California Education Code (EC) Section 48320 is intended to allow enhanced enforcement of the state’s compulsory education laws Further, it attempts to keep chronically truant students or those with behavior problems from entering the juvenile justice system. The companion law, EC Section 48321, provides several organizational structures for SARBs at the local and county level to create a safety net for students with persistent attendance or behavior problems. The goals SARB is to have students stay in school and obtain an education. When the SARB process does not work though, SARB has to the authority to Although the goal of SARBs is to keep students in school and provide them with a meaningful educational experience, SARBs do have the power, when necessary, to require students and their guardians/parents to go to court.
Parents who are called before a SARB board should not take the experience lightly. While the goals of SARB are admirable, it sometimes is not understanding of the plight of parents who have children with special needs. Parents called to SARB hearing who really feel that there are legitimate reasons why their child is missing school are advised to contact my office, The Law Office of Gregory R. Branch. We can represent you at SARB and assist you in ensuring that your child’s rights are supported.