Date of Award
College of Education
Type of Degree
Dr. Barbara Nicholson, Committee Chairperson
Dr. Tom Hisiro
Dr. Lisa Beck
Compulsory attendance for school-aged children began in Massachusetts in 1852 and spread to every state in America by 1918. More than 100 years later, educators and other stakeholders continue to struggle to get many students to attend school on a consistent basis and at the desired rate. Failure to do so has significant short- and long-term effects for those students, their schools, their communities, and their future families. There are two types of problematic student attendance: truancy and chronic absenteeism. Truancy counts only unexcused absences and focuses on judicial implications; chronic absenteeism, on the other hand, counts all absences and focuses on educational ramifications. This study focused on truancy. One of the ways educators and other stakeholders combat that academic epidemic is legal consequences for truant students and/or their parents or guardians. The purpose of this descriptive, non-experimental study was two-fold. The first purpose was to examine the effectiveness of the use of legal consequences against truant students and/or their parents or guardians and the denial or revocation of driving privileges for truant students in improving student attendance in all 55 West Virginia counties. The second purpose was to compare the perceptions of attendance directors in all 55 West Virginia counties on the effectiveness of the use of legal consequences against truant students and/or their parents or guardians and the denial or revocation of driving privileges for truant students. While there have been many studies about truancy nationwide and worldwide, few have focused on that problem in West Virginia. A web-based survey was distributed to attendance directors from all 55 counties in the state. Also, attendance rate data from all 55 counties for the past five school years were collected from the West Virginia Department of Education. Statistical analysis for this study was largely impossible because the sample was dominated by the district description variable (i.e., rural, suburban, or urban). The findings of this study, therefore, are suggestive rather than conclusive. The data suggest there may be relationships between counties’ use of legal consequences against truant students and parents or guardians of truant students and their attendance rates. The attendance directors who participated in this study also believe legal consequences for truant students are more effective than legal consequences for parents or guardians of truant students, and they reported the denial or revocation of drivers’ licenses and learners’ permits is the most effective punitive measure they can use against truant students. The significance of this study is it may lead West Virginia policymakers to tighten the policies and strengthen the consequences in regard to student attendance and truancy.
School attendance -- West Virginia.
School attendance -- Law and legislation.
Juvenile delinquency -- West Virginia.
Messer, Matthew Jacob, "Consequences for Public School Truancy and Whether They Affect Student Attendance in West Virginia Counties: A Comprehensive Study" (2020). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 1301.