A truancy officer monitors school attendance and works with school administrators, students, parents, and their communities to keep students in school. Truancy officers act as law enforcement specialists to the extent that they enforce school attendance laws established by state and local governments.
Truancy officers: slackers’ public enemy #1
Local school districts are generally eligible for federal funding, which is typically measured by the success levels of a school, including how many days the school conducts classes and how many students are attending. Schools with lax attendance may lose eligibility for funding.
State and local laws typically require students to attend school between kindergarten and high school grades. Truancy officers assist schools with keeping students in compliance with these laws.
Truancy Officers: doing more than ruining a day off
Truancy is the official term for ditching school during grades K-12. Truancy officers contact truant students and their parents or guardians for determining why Rocky Rocket Science isn’t in school. These officers are typically not sworn peace officers. Duties of a truancy officer include:
- Understanding and updating knowledge of applicable school district, community and state laws concerning school attendance
- Determining and documenting reasons for absences by students chronically absent
- Preparing and filing case reports for students investigated and/or apprehended for truancy
- Working as a team with school administrators and teachers for educating students, parents and the community about laws and benefits related to school attendance
- Meeting with students, their parents, and school administrators for determining reasons for truancy and developing plans for improving student attendance
Truancy officers don’t physically pursue truant students, but may contact school police or community law enforcement agencies for apprehending them.
Preparing for a truancy officer job
Although truancy officer positions may not require more than a high school education, taking courses in education, sociology and child psychology can be helpful for landing a truancy officer position. Skills required for truancy officers include excellent communication skills, organization and record keeping, competent computer and Internet skills for completing reports, reading e-mail and maintaining and monitoring school attendance records.
Experience working with children and teens is helpful. Being bi-lingual can be a benefit in school districts with significant immigrant populations. Truancy officers working with students of diverse backgrounds can benefit from studying cultural diversity and awareness. This is helpful for investigating absences caused by cultural celebrations or family events not recognized by your school as authorized holidays or acceptable reasons for being absent.
Most truancy officers are employed by school districts on a part-time basis, but truancy officers may qualify for health insurance, paid leave, and retirement benefits.