Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Truancy, or unexcused absence from school, is a major problem among American youth. Many cities report daily truancies numbering in the thousands, and some report absence rates as high as 30%. No national data on truancy rates are available, in part because no uniform definition of truancy exists, but in a 1998 report, public school principals nationwide identified student absenteeism, cutting class, and tardiness as their primary disciplinary problems. Truants are more prone to teen pregnancy; drug abuse; gang membership; and crimes committed during school hours, such as burglary, auto theft, and vandalism. Truants frequently drop out of school, and in adulthood, they have greater difficulty earning an adequate income, raising children, and keeping within the bounds of the law. Society pays other costs as well, such as the loss of attendance-based federal and state funds, and the expense to businesses of training an undereducated, unprepared workforce. School attendance has ...