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Ask TexCrimLawyer, J.D. Your Own Question
TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
TexCrimLawyer, J.D., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4827
Experience:  Experienced in state and federal criminal litigation.
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Grandsons school just sent letter re california Education

Customer Question

Grandson's school just sent letter re california Education Code 48263, because of over a week's absence in first semester due to Scarlet Fever (Dr verified), and upcoming family emergency - Father's surgery at hospital 3 hours travel time away from home - will be in hospital 8 days and family will be staying in hotel next to hospital. School notified over 3 weeks ahead, with requests for assignments in advance. Teachers all complied, but school issued letter that if any more absences, may lead to jail for parents! Is that appropriate response? (Good grades, not a problem kid, no unexcused absences)
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  TexCrimLawyer, J.D. replied 6 years ago.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Did the letter say that the parents would be charged with truancy?

Customer:

Didn't see it, daughter read it to me (extremely upset - 6 mo pregnant, worried about husband & now this extra stress) - apparently, if any more absences after the hospital absence, a list of 4, Saturday school, or 2 others with undefined acronyms, and finally "parents will face infraction or prosecurtion" - paraphrased.

Customer:

So, not objecting to the upcoming absence, just warning that there cannot be any more this year - but the warning seems over the top and adds unneeded stress. There was no letter mandating that he come to school with an active case of Scarlet Fever - on the contrary, there were voicemail messages sent to parents during flu season warning them to keep the kids home for flu symptoms. Now, a family emergency and they are being warned that any additional absences beyond that and "parents will face infraction or prosecurtion"?

Customer:

Kid is college track, not a discipline problem, praised by teachers for great attitude, and every single absence was listed (all as "excused absences") on the letter, so no truancies and no chance that there were absences that the parents did not know about.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

The only crime the parents can be charged with in this situation is truancy. However, truancy requires that the absences be unexcused.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

From everything you've said, the absences appear to be excused and well documented

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Basically, a truancy charge will not stand up.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Also, to answer your question, that is not an appropriate response. I recommend that your daughter schedule a time to meet with a vice principle at the school and straighten things out, because threatening truancy charges here is not appropriate.

Customer:

Truancy wasn't the issue apparently, simply a threat of "excessive absences" - some threshold that would bring problems.

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX reasonable, but also will add to the stress - If she goes into labor early the date of the husband's essential surgery (which is serious enough to require 5 months recovery) might be threatened.

Customer:

This is to be 4th child, so labor would be very short and difficult to stop.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

While excessive absences may bring problems with your grandson and the school (i.e. moving on to the next grade), any criminal charges would stem from truancy allegations.

Customer:

OK, so excused absences rule out any kind of punitive punishment for parent - and these are obviously excused. Might this be something they have to issue due to the state code 48263?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Perhaps, but letting this situation progress unabated could cause long-term problems, which may lead to more stress.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

48263 deals with truancy.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

In terms of criminal charges, your daughter will be OK. That said, there may be attendance requirements to progress to the next grade level, but that is more of a school district policy issue, and less a true legal issue.

Customer:

Ok, thank you.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

IS there anything else I can help you with?

Customer:

It does say "or is irregular in attendance at school" but it seems reasonable that truancy is the main thrust.

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX do it.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Great. If I've answered your questions, please click the "Accept" button. Good luck.

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