Truancy is any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. The term typically describes absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to medical conditions. The term's exact meaning differs from school to school, and is usually explicitly defined in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. It has no relation to homeschooling, although sometimes parents who practice homeschooling have been charged with this.[1]

It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes.

In some schools, truancy may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school.

Truancy is a frequent subject of popular culture; perhaps most famously Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which is entirely about the titular character's (played by Matthew Broderick) day of truancy in Chicago with his girlfriend and best friend. Truancy is also the title of a 2008 novel about a student uprising against a dictatorial educational system.


List of slang expressions

There are a number of expressions in English which refer to truancy. In South Africa, the slang used is bunking, skipping or jippo. In Jamaica, it is called skulling. In Guyana skulking. In Antigua and Barbuda, it is called skudding. In Australia truancy is called wagging, ditching, or skipping school. It is called bunking (off) or skiving or wagging in England and India, mitching, wagging or on the knock in Wales, sagging in Liverpool, bunking or cutting class, doggin, skiving, playing tickie or puggin in Scotland and on the hop, on the bunk, mitching, beaking, on the beak, scheming dossing,or on the duck in Ireland. In the United States and Canada expressions include hookey, playing hookey, ditching, dipping, jigging, sluffing, skipping, cutting class, or simply just cutting. In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the act of truancy is known amongst youths as "pipping off", and truant students are described as being "on the pip". In Trinidad and Tobago, it is referred to as breaking biche. In Singapore and Malaysia, it is referred to as fly, and in Malay, ponteng, or simply just pon...

Punishments imposed for truancy

In Australia, schools, in most cases, contact and keep a close relationship with local police to combat 'wagging'. Most schools, who have a nearby police station, have police vehicles monitoring the areas around the school grounds who look for truant students. In most cases the students are returned to the schools. The Australian Government threatened to take action on parents who have truanting students by withdrawing child support payments to any parent whose child is caught multiple times. Recently, schools have started a system whereby if students are not marked as present, the school computers will automatically text the parent(s) of the child to notify of their absence. Also, the use of marking present lists at schools has been taken over by that of computers. This way of checking if a student is absent, is a more accurate way to identify if the student is wagging and in what class.[citation needed]

In many Canadian provinces, a police officer who suspects a child of the correct age to be deliberately missing school for no legitimate reason has the authority to take that child to the school he or she is supposed to attend.[citation needed]

In Denmark, some welfare benefits can be confiscated for a period if the child does not attend school. However, not all cities use this approach to keep the children in school.[2] Most cities watch for families who have not returned their children to school after the summer vacation because some groups exiled their children to their ethnic home countries for behavior modification. In the city of Aarhus, 155 children had not turned up one week after the school started.[3] April 2009 a research among 4,000 students showed that more than every third student had been absent during the last 14 days.[4]

In Finland truant pupils usually get detention in comprehensive schools. The police are not involved in truancy controlling but the teachers of the school monitor the school area and sometimes the nearby areas during recess to avoid unauthorized leaving from the school area. If the pupil is absent for a long period of time the parents can be fined.[5] The aim of fining is to try to force parents to put their children into school. The child will not be escorted to school or taken from parents.

In Germany, the parents of a child absent from school without a legitimate excuse are notified by the school. If the parents refuse to send their child to school or are unable to control their child, local child services or social services officers may request the police to escort the child to school, and in extreme cases can petition a court to partially or completely remove child custody from the parents. Parents may also be fined in cases of refusal.[citation needed]

In the England and Wales, the legal maximum for truancy is 11 days per term, after which it is a criminal offence for parents.[6] Also, a police officer of or above the rank of superintendent may direct that for a specified time in a specified area a police officer may remove a child believed to be absent from a school without authority to that school or to another designated place. However this is not a power of arrest and it is not a power to detain, furthermore it does not make truancy a criminal offence. This power has existed since 1998.[7] There is a warning given the first time the parents allow the child to commit truancy more than allowed, then there is a fine if continued, starting from £50.

In the United States, the fine for truancy can range from $250 to as much as $5000. In some cities[clarification needed] teenagers found on the streets during school hours are sometimes even handcuffed[citation needed]. About 12,000 students were ticketed for truancy in 2008 in Los Angeles.[8] Many states provide for the appointment of local truancy officers who have the authority to arrest habitually truant youths and bring them to their parents or to the school they are supposed to attend. Many states[clarification needed] also have the power to revoke a student's driver's license. It is an office which, where it exists, is often held by a person also a constable or sheriff. However, the position of a full-time truancy officer is generally viewed[weasel words] as being a relic from the 19th century when mandatory school attendance was relatively new. Truancy regulations today are generally enforced by school officials under the context of parental responsibility. New automated calling systems allow the automated notification of parents when a child is not marked present in the computer, and truancy records for many states are available for inspection online.[citation needed]

Truant's Day

In Poland, the first day of spring (March 21) is an unofficial occasion popular among children, who traditionally play truant on that day.[9] Similarly, students in the United States and Canada have Senior Skip Day. The date for skip day varies among different schools. [10]

Related articles

  • AWOL (Absent Without Leave)


  1. ^ "Home-school mom charged with allowing truancy". 25 April 2005. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Det virker at inddrage børnechecken (It works confiscating the child benefit check), by Anette Sørensen, Denmarks Radio, October 25, 2008
  3. ^ 155 elever er ikke mødt op (155 children have not started), by Majken Klintø,, August 26, 2008
  4. ^ Børn pjækker mere fra skole, DR News, April 30, 2009
  5. ^ "Äidille sakkoja lasten oppivelvollisuuden laiminlyömisestä - - Kotimaa" (in Finnish). Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  6. ^ S.7 Education act 1996
  7. ^
  8. ^ Ehrenreich, Barbara (9 August 2009). "OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR; Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?". The New York Times: p. 9. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  9. ^ Public Holidays in Poland
  10. ^ Dyer, Elisabeth (14 April 2006). "Life's a beach for many students on senior skip day". St. Petersburg times. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Truancy — Tru an*cy, n. The act of playing truant, or the state of being truant; as, addicted to truancy. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • truancy — index absence (nonattendance), dereliction, nonappearance, nonperformance Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • truancy — 1784, from TRUANT (Cf. truant) + CY (Cf. cy) …   Etymology dictionary

  • truancy — [tro͞o′ən sē] n. 1. pl. truancies the act or an instance of playing truant 2. the state of being truant …   English World dictionary

  • truancy — noun (esp. BrE) ADJECTIVE ▪ persistent VERB + TRUANCY ▪ combat, tackle ▪ measures to combat persistent truancy in our schools ▪ cut …   Collocations dictionary

  • truancy — [[t]tru͟ːənsi[/t]] N UNCOUNT Truancy is the practice of children staying away from school without permission. Schools need to reduce levels of truancy …   English dictionary

  • truancy — tru|an|cy [ˈtru:ənsi] n [U] when students deliberately stay away from school without permission ▪ the school s truancy rate …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • truancy — noun the Board of Ed wants to know why truancy in the high school is at an all time high Syn: absenteeism, nonattendance, playing truant, truanting; informal playing hooky, skipping; booking out …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • truancy — truant ► NOUN ▪ a pupil who stays away from school without permission or explanation. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ wandering; straying. ► VERB (also play truant) ▪ (of a pupil) stay away from school without permission or explanation. DERIVATIVES truancy noun …   English terms dictionary

  • truancy — noun (plural cies) Date: 1784 an act or instance of playing truant ; the state of being truant …   New Collegiate Dictionary