Alaska Attendance Law

Alaska law requires you to attend school from the time you are seven until you are sixteen years old.  If you are home-schooled, which means educated in your home by your parent or guardian, you are exempt from this attendance rule.  You and your parents are both responsible for making sure that you do attend school.  If you are less than seven or over sixteen, it is up to your parents whether you have to attend.

What if I just don't want to go to school?

If you are seven through sixteen, and skip school without a valid reason, you are considered truant.  Truancy is a violation of Alaska law.   Some school districts enforce truancy rules more than others, but you may be subject to school discipline, including suspension or expulsion, if you skip school. Adults who help or encourage students to be truant may face large fines and other legal charges.

What are considered excused absences?

  • Illness or medical appointments

  • Injury

  • Observance of religious holiday

  • Absence where parent asks the school ahead of time and the school approves.

Negative Outcomes of Truancy

Missing school in early years (Kindergarten-2nd grade) sets kids up to fall behind in fundamental reading skills that are necessary for later school years. In addition, it also leads to a long-term habit. Kids who are allowed to miss a lot of school in early years are more likely to skip school in later years.

Student dropout is a common result of chronic absenteeism. Students over the age of 16 who have 10 or more consecutive unexcused absences are dropped from school. Mueller and Giacomazzi (2006) stated that, "the most consistent finding regarding truancy and drop out rates is the correlation the behavior has to high rates of delinquency." Truant students are at higher risk of being drawn into behavior involving drugs, alcohol, or violence.


Schedule: Set a time for your child to go to bed, wake up, have a healthy breakfast, arrive at school, and complete his/her homework. Monitor things in your home such as family routines that may prevent you or your child from keeping to the schedule.

Be Alert: Look for early signs of a child’s decision that school is not worthwhile. Monitor changes in friendships, teachers, or classrooms or even the loss of a pet or family member. All of these things contribute to reasons why children dread going to school.

Be Proactive: Regularly contact the school to make sure your child is attending school. Check in with his or her teachers on a regular basis.

Provide Incentives: Reward good attendance

Talk about Consequences: Let your child know that if he or she skips school, there will be consequences such as losing television or video game time, limiting time with friends, or the loss of other privileges.

Monitor Behavior: Look for negative behavior changes such as alcohol use or staying out late. Seek a counselor if your child’s behavior becomes, distant, withdrawn, anxious, depressed, delinquent, or aggressive.

Be Supportive: Encourage your child to take an active role in the school by joining clubs or participating in sports. Teach them when and how to ask for help.

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

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