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How Many Days Of School Can You Miss?

Each school district has its own rules governing how many days a student can miss school. Additionally, certain extreme circumstances may allow students to stay absent longer than they would typically be permitted. 

This article will explain when and how long you are allowed to skip school and answer several related questions. 

How Many Days Of School Can You Miss?

How Many Days Of School Can You Miss

Attendance policies differ in certain states and schools. It is always best to ask either the teacher or the administration about attendance in your school.

There is a difference between excused and unexcused absences. The former are those for which you have a valid reason for skipping school. The latter are those for which you skipped school without any reason.

Missing school is allowed for several valid reasons, such as illness, death of immediate family, recognized religious holidays, or family military deployment. 

Most schools allow school students to miss school for a maximum of 10% of the school year. If the school year lasts 180 days, students would be allowed to miss a maximum of 18 school days. 

However, it is important to note that any absence in excess of 10 days must be approved or disapproved by the district board of trustees, or its designee (principal), in order to qualify for class credit, regardless of whether those absences are lawful or unlawful.

You should also be aware that children ages 6 to 17, who have three consecutive unlawful absences or five unlawful absences of missed school time in total, are considered truant.

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How many days of school can you miss in high school?

You can miss up to 18 days of school in a year, which is 10 % of the total school days in a year. This can vary from one district to the other but generally applies to most high schools. 

If you’re absent for more than 10 days, your school principal will need to approve your credits for the year for you to pass the grade.

Students whose absences are approved should be allowed to make up any work missed to satisfy the credit requirement.

You are considered as being truant if:

  • You have three consecutive unlawful absences 
  • You have five unlawful absences in total per year

According to the State Board of Education, lawful absences include but are not limited to:

(1) absences caused by a student’s own illness and whose attendance in school would endanger his

or her health or the health of others,

(2) absences due to an illness or death in the student’s immediate family,

(3) absences due to a recognized religious holiday of the student’s faith, and

(4) absences due to activities that are approved in advance by the principal.

Unlawful absences include but are not limited to

(1) absences of a student without the knowledge of their parents, or

(2) absences of a student without acceptable cause with their parent’s knowledge.

Suspension is not to be counted as an unlawful absence for truancy purposes.

Some states calculate excessive absences in hours rather than days. For more information regarding each U.S. state’s minimum compulsory school age and attendance laws, have a look at the State Compulsory School Attendance Laws.

How many days of school can you miss in middle school?

Students are expected to attend school every day. You can have three unexcused absences in a row or five unexcused days in total per year. You will be considered truant if you exhaust these three to five days off school without excuses. If you miss more than 10 days (excused or unexcused) in a year, then any further absences will need to be approved by your principal.

According to most districts’ rules, you can miss up to 10% or 18 days of school a year. This varies from state to state, district to district, and school to school. 

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How many days of school can you miss in elementary school?

Kids in elementary school can miss up to 10% or 18 days a year, but missing three days without a valid excuse is considered truancy. Remember that it is important to attend school regularly and to discuss any issues leading to absenteeism with your school teacher, administration, or principal.

Reasons To Miss School

Reasons To Miss School

Students must attend school regularly in order not to fall further behind. The cumulative effect of frequent absences beginning in elementary school dramatically increases the likelihood of a child dropping out of high school.

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What would warrant you to miss school? Below are reasons to miss school, both unexcused and excused. You can use these as a general guideline on what could cause you to miss school. 

Excused Absence From School

Excused absence from school includes events you have little or no control over. This also encompasses events that have been planned way in advance and have no room for change to accommodate your school schedule.


You can miss school if you fall sick, especially if your attendance in school would endanger your health or the health of others. Once you have started on medication and are feeling better, you should resume school to avoid lagging behind. If you miss school for an extended period, your teacher may send you homework to keep you updated with classwork. You will need to bring a doctor’s note within two days of returning to school to verify your illness. 

Medical Appointments

If you have a scheduled medical appointment, you can miss school and see your doctor. Your doctor may only be available on a school day, which would be a valid reason to be away from school. 

A Death in the Family

If a loved one dies, you can miss school to mourn and attend the funeral. This must be verified by a statement from the parent within two days of the student’s return to school. 

Religious Reasons

If you need to observe a religious holiday that the school does not necessarily observe, you are allowed to miss school. However, your request must be made to the principal in writing.

A Family Emergency

If your family has an emergency that disrupts your regular schedule, you can miss school. Make sure you alert your teacher of the emergency and communicate when you will be back.

Military Deployment

A student may request to be excused from school if their parents/guardians are experiencing a military deployment. Up to five days of excused absences may be granted to a student if the absence is preapproved, the student is in good standing, the student has a prior record of good attendance, and the missed work is completed and submitted within the school’s designated time frame.

It is important to note that any absence in excess of 10 days is subject to approval or disapproval by the district board of trustees, or its designee (principal), regardless of whether the absence is lawful, unlawful, or a combination of both.

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Unexcused Absence From School

An unexcused absence is when you miss school without a valid reason or without the knowledge of your parents. 

When you don’t want to go to school, you set yourself up for disciplinary action from the school administration. 

When you miss school for no reason, you risk being suspended from school. Two to three absences from school may declare you truant and put you at risk of losing a school year. 

Additionally, you miss out on valuable coursework and lag behind, affecting your grades. You also waste time you can hardly recover as the rest of the students continue with the syllabus. 

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What Is Truancy?

What Is Truancy

Truancy is a term used to refer to the act of staying away from school without good reason. It is also used to refer to missing school without seeking permission, even though your reason for missing school is valid. Different states have varying laws on school attendance and what is acceptable regarding missing school.

Even though most states only require students to attend 170 of the 180 days of school, parents and students should know that the SC Code of Regulations – Chapter 43-274 stipulates that a child between the ages of 6 and 17 years is considered truant if they have three consecutive unlawful absences, or if they have five unlawful absences per year.

A habitual truant is a child aged 12 to 17 years who fails to comply with the intervention plan and accumulates two or more additional unlawful absences.

A chronic truant is a child whose attendance record shows repeated unexcused absences from class. They have been referred to family court and ordered to go to classes regularly. However, they continue to miss classes without an excuse.

What is a truancy officer?

A truancy offer is a person that is employed by a school or a school governing system to investigate the continued absence of a student. A truant officer ensures that the student in question is indeed truant and to what extent following the state laws on school attendance. They aim to try and help the student get back to school as soon as possible.

Do I need a lawyer for truancy court?

You need a lawyer for truancy court, usually a government lawyer, to help you understand the laws governing school attendance and truancy. A lawyer will also answer questions associated with your state’s truancy laws helping you understand your situation and the way forward. 

Truancy Consequences For Parents

Some of the truancy consequences for parents include paying fines, taking educational courses on parenting, and attending counseling as a family. Parents may also be required to attend parent-teacher conferences to discuss the truancy of their kids and create a plan to prevent it in the future. 

How To Get Out Of Truancy Charges

  1. Get your child’s Attendance Records. Ask the school for a copy of your child’s attendance records. Double-check to ensure they match yours and that there are no differences. 
  2. Read the School’s Truancy and Attendance policies. Make sure you understand what your school says regarding attendance and truancy. Also, look up state laws and determine if your school district has a Truancy Prevention Program. If it does, go through what it entails.
  3. Seek Free Consult with an Attorney. See if you can find free legal aid in your area and if you qualify for one. An attorney will appeal on your behalf to get out of truancy charges. 
  4. Call your State’s Protection and Advocacy Group. If you feel your child is being treated differently from others, call the Protection and Advocacy group for intervention. 
  5. Work with the School. Be on the same page with the school for a higher chance of the judge working with you and getting you off the charges for truancy. If you have the proper documentation and it is clear you have been working with the school, the judge is more likely to waive the charges. 

What Does Tardies Mean In School?

What Does Tardies Mean In School

Tardies are pieces of paper given to students that are late to class, usually after the last bell has rung. A tardy is a term used to define a student that is constantly late to class. The plural of it Tardies is a term used to describe students that are always late to class. 

How many tardies make an absence?

Five unexcused tardies during a 9-week school period count as an unexcused absence. Each tardy after that counts as an absence. Therefore, if you have six tardies, you will have two absences. 

Do colleges look at tardies?

Colleges do not look at tardies, as they expect that you are an adult enough to attend class on time and not miss any classes. They believe that students are independent and know the value of attending class on time and not missing any of them. 

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What Do You Do When Your Teenager Refuses To Go To School?

Most teens don’t enjoy going to school, just like many adults don’t enjoy working every day. However, it is part of life, and regular school attendance is essential.

Try and talk to your child about the importance and benefit of education and why they need to go through it. 

Ask your child about their experience at school and what they like and don’t like about school. There may be valid reasons why your teenager refuses to go to school. These could include bullying or not coping with the workload. If they have a problem, you can try coming up with solutions.

Talk to a school counselor to talk to your child and help them navigate school life. They will help you figure out why your child does not want to go to school and what you can do to encourage them to go.

Encourage your child to nurture hobbies that will help them create a good relationship with the school. These can be sports and games they can engage in with other students away from schoolwork but will motivate them to go anyway. 

Come up with a routine they can follow, especially in the evenings, to ensure they sleep on time and are rested enough to get to school on time. Make sure they have their dinner on time, finish homework early and turn off their devices at bedtime. 

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It might help if you explain the legalities surrounding tardies, truancy, and earning enough credits to pass the school year. Your teenager might agree to attend school if they realize that they might need to attend Summer school if they do not get enough credits to pass the year.

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Are allergies a good reason to miss school?

Minor allergies should not be a reason to miss school, as these can be controlled by allergy medication. However, if allergies or asthma symptoms become severe, a child might need to stay at home. Allergy symptoms can mimic a cold, with sneezing and a runny nose, as well as feeling tired and unable to focus. 

Is depression a valid reason to miss school?

Depression is a valid reason to miss school, as it is a serious mental illness. Those suffering from depression might find comfort in being home rather than being in school. Again, being away from school can provide an opportunity to seek help and recover promptly.

There are mental health services for students with emotional or behavioral issues. Find out from your school about the health services available to you. There is also home or hospital Instruction for students who cannot attend school because of a medical or physical condition or emotional or psychological disability.

Is diarrhea a reason to miss school?

Diarrhea is a reason to miss school, considering it may have developed from a contagious disease. School bathrooms are prone to collecting germs and creating an environment for microorganisms to grow, increasing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses. A child should be kept at home during the duration, and for at least 24 hours after, of a gastrointestinal illness.

Is mental health a good reason to miss school?

Mental health is a good reason to miss school, as students with mental health conditions may have difficulty concentrating in class or relating to others. Since it is hard to examine the extent of a mental health issue a student could be having, you should seek medical attention to get a proper diagnosis, which will determine whether or not you should stay home.

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Does anxiety count as a reason to miss school?

Anxiety is a mental health issue; however, if it is mild and not professionally diagnosed, it might not be a reason to miss school. If you have anxiety, it would be best to seek medical attention to get a proper diagnosis which will determine whether you should stay from school or not. 

Is a cold a good reason to miss school?

Generally, your child can go to school with a mild sore throat, a cough, or a stuffy or runny nose. However, if your child’s cold is accompanied by a fever or an excessive cough that disrupts their learning, you should keep them home to rest.

Is a sinus infection a good reason to miss school?

While a sinus infection might not be contagious, you might not feel well enough to attend school. You may need medication to manage your symptoms. Although you may attend school with a mild sore throat or runny nose, many schools require students to be fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school.

Is IBS a reason to miss school?

IBS is a reason to miss school since the symptoms can be painful and disruptive. Symptoms tend to get worse in the morning when students go to school and in the evening when they leave for home.