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Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. The term typically refers to absences caused by students on their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. The exact meaning of the term itself is subject to differ from school to school, and is usually explicitly defined in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. Truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

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

Beyond the effect that missed schooling may have on a student's educational attainment, truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education system, or both. Truancy is commonly associated with juvenile delinquency. 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.

Several studies indicate a high correlation between chronic truancy and poverty.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Truancy may also be prevalent in dysfunctional families or among children placed in the care of local authorities.

Truancy has numerous slang terms invented by students:

Country Common Terms
the UK bunking off, bobbing, wagging, dogging (Scotland), skiving, beaking (Northern Ireland) or Mitching
Ireland going on the hop or going on the lang or "mitching" or "going on the mitch"
North America playing hooky, jigging, ditching, skipping, pipping, sluffing, dipping, kidding, cutting class or a self-motivated field trip.
India bunking, cutting class
Jamaica sculling
Australia and New Zealand wagging, bunking, ditching or jigging
Romania chiuli

Dealing with truancy

In the United Kingdom, a police officer who suspects a child of the correct age to be deliberately missing school for no legitimate reason, has the power to take that child to the school he or she is supposed to attend.[1]

In the Unitied States truancy laws are usually enforced by officials of a school or school district. In addition, many states provide for the appointment of local truancy officers who have the power to arrest truant youth and bring them to their parents or to the school they are supposed to attend. 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 as being a relic from the 19th century when mandatory school attendance was relatively new, and truancy regulations today are generally enforced by school officials under the context of parental responsibility.

Students cite boredom and loss of interest in school, irrelevant courses, bullying, depression, suspensions and bad relationships with the teachers as the major factors of truancy.

See also


  1. The Beat Companion, 12 Edition 2006

nl:Spijbelen sv:Skolk