About Chronic Absenteeism and School Discipline

What are the nature and extent of chronic absenteeism and school discipline in California?

During the 2018-19 school year, nearly 12 percent of all California public school students—more than 650,000—were chronically absent, meaning that they missed more than ten percent of the total school instruction days. Just under 220,000 students accounted for more than 350,000 suspensions. African American and Native American students were disproportionately likely to be chronically absent or suspended. (Source: California Department of Education)

Truancy Demographic Bart Chart indicating Student population, Suspensions and Expulsions for White, Black/African American and American Indian or Alaska Native.

For more statistics and research on the nature and prevalence of truancy and school discipline, including county-level and district-level data, see:

What are the problems associated with truancy and school discipline?

Truancy and school discipline are associated with a host of negative consequences, including a decline in academic achievement, a greater likelihood of dropping out of school, poor health and well-being outcomes, and an increased risk of involvement in the juvenile justice system.

For more information on the impact of truancy and school discipline on children, families, and communities, see:


Following are links to research reports, program evaluations, policy papers, and data sources that may be useful to courts and justice partners interested in addressing truancy and school discipline issues in their communities.

School-Based Restorative Justice as an Alternative to Zero-Tolerance Policies: Lessons from West Oakland

Teen Court Sign

"In Teen Courts, A Second Chance"
 California’s 75 teen courts let youth face a jury of their peers – and steer cases away from the juvenile justice system.

Restorative Practices: A Guide for Educators