PA Compulsory Attendance Laws

(24 P.S. 13-1333 -- Excerpts & Selected Sections Only)           

ACT 138 – New Truancy Interventions/Penalties for Compulsory Attendance Violations:

House Bill 1907 was signed into law November 3, 2016, changing the provisions of Article XIII of the Public School Code addressing truancy, effective 2017-2018 school year. 

If a student continues to accumulate “unexcused” absences following the First Notice Warning Letter, a request for School Attendance Improvement Conference/Plan is now required, before school may take any additional steps to address truancy, such as filing a truancy citation with a Magisterial District Judge and/or referring to Cumberland County Children and Youth Services.

Act 138 also changes interventions and penalties for truancy.  Schools may not expel or impose an out-of-school suspension, disciplinary reassignment, or transfer for truancy alone.

Habitually truant students under 15 must be referred either to a school-based or community-based attendance improvement program or the county children and youth agency.  For students 15 and older, the citation may be filed against the student or an individual in parental relation living with the student. 

The new penalties for truancy include fines not to exceed:

1.) $300 plus court costs for the first offense

2.) $500 plus court costs for the second offense

3.) $750 plus court costs for the third offense  

Other possible penalties include community service or completion of a course or parenting program designed to improve attendance approved by the judge. Finally, the court has the authority to suspend the sentence, if a child attends school in accordance with the court's plan:

  • The new law states a court may jail a parent who fails to pay a fine/complete court-ordered community service for a period not to exceed (3) three days in any one case. 
  • Referral to CYS for second conviction in three years.  Under the new law, if a parent or student is convicted a second time for habitual truancy within three years, the court must refer the child to CYS for services or possible disposition as a dependent child under the Juvenile Act.  
  • Student Driver’s License Suspension:  When a license has been suspended, student may seek to have his or her eligibility restored by providing DOT with a form that indicates that (1) the child has attended school for a period of at least two months after the first conviction or four months after the second conviction without an unexcused absence or tardy; or (2) is subject to exception to the compulsory school attendance law; or (3) has graduated from school.  

Any questions please contact:

Todd R. McCauslin, M.ED
CASD Attendance Officer/Home and School Visitor, K-12
540 W North Street
Carlisle, PA  17013
Phone: 240-6800, ext. 26828
Fax:  240-6888
[email protected]