Regular school attendance is important for your child. If he or she misses too may days, then he or she will miss out on important instruction. However, it is not common for truancy to become a criminal matter. Schools take many other actions before going to the court. They will work with you to help you get your child to school or to make arrangements for necessary absences. Schools offer different intervention services to try to help get your child back into school. However, if these attempts fail, the school may file a truancy petition.

According to the Florida Statutes, a school may file a truancy petition after your child misses five days within a month or 10 days within a 90-day period unexcused. The petition goes to the circuit court who will then set a hearing where you and your child must attend.

Usually, at the hearing, the judge will ask you why your child missed so much school. He or she wants a legitimate answer that would explain the necessity of the absences. If you do not have a good reason, the court will rule the absences legitimate. Most of the time, the judge will enter a ruling that your child must attend school and that you must ensure your child attends school.

The judge may also make you do community service and make your child attend a different alternative school. He or she can also make you both attend counseling or participate in job training. Attached to this may be conditions that explain what will happen if your child misses more school days. Usually, this means that the court will declare your child a child in need of service. This will provide you and your child to programs and services that can help address the underlying reasons why your child is not attending school.

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