Extending Your Student Visa

A student visa that lets you study at the university of your choice is a terrific thing for you. But what happens if your studies take longer than you planned? On top of exams and term papers, you may have to worry about your student visa expiring. That’s where an immigration lawyer can be your best friend. Understanding how immigration laws work can be the first step to making sure that you keep your student visa in good standing. My blog is all about immigration issues, especially those faced by foreign students. Check out the articles for more information that you can use to complete your studies in the country you chose to study in.

Parent Of A Truant? Know Your Responsibilities


Are you the parent of a teenager who seems to think that hanging out at friends' houses during the school day is preferable to homeroom and class presentations? Have you received multiple phone calls from the school advising you that your child was absent without excuse yet again? Maybe, even though you watched your son or daughter walk through the school doors at morning drop-off, the police called a few hours later to inform you that your child shoplifted from the local mall. Truancy isn't just a frustrating concern for school officials and you; it's a juvenile offense that could land you and your teen in court. For this reason, it's important you understand your responsibilities.

What exactly is truancy?

Many people think of truancy as simply "ditching" school once in a while during warm spring days when better things beckon than the classroom. Truancy is defined differently from state to state, but always involves being absent from school without parent/guardian permission more than an established number of days in a certain period. For example, a school district may label a child truant who has more than three unexcused absences in a month. If you get a recorded message from the school indicating your child was absent that day, clear it with the office if your child was absent for a legitimate reason.

Why does it matter?

Truancy is more than just the school keeping tabs on teens. Truancy matters because

  • the law mandates that children must be in school until they earn a diploma or turn 18

  • the amount of federal funding a school receives depends on daily attendance reports

  • truant teens often spend school hours using drugs, drinking, and/or committing crimes such as vandalism, shoplifting, and burglary

Therefore, staff in school attendance offices spend a portion of every school day accounting for every student. If your teen is late to school because of a family commitment, call the office and send a note with him/her to bring for documentation.

What happens when kids are truant?

There is an established process for dealing with teens who decide to skip algebra class and roam the mall.

  1. Call parents. Many truancy cases do not get beyond this point because parents address the situation within the confines of the family, and the teen does not ditch school again.

  2. Call a meeting. If truancy is a continual problem for a particular student, the school will schedule a truant meeting. This meeting involves parents, teachers, a school administrator, and the student to determine why truancy is happening and how to stop it. Together, the adults will consider more information and devise a behavioral plan the student has to fulfill.

  3. Call the court. If, after the truancy meeting, the teen continues to be absent without excuse, the school will file a truancy petition. At this point, jurisdiction over the teen's behavior shifts to juvenile court; a hearing is scheduled to address truancy through legally enforceable consequences.

The juvenile court judge may assign one or more of the following consequences to the teen: probation, community service, additional school, counseling, and drug testing.

Lastly, the judge may decide parents are partly responsible for the teen's continued misbehavior and assess fines, counseling, or parenting courses. For this reason, if you are addressing your child's behavior at home, document your interventions so that the judge can see you have made an earnest attempt to keep your child in compliance with state law.

If you are frustrated with your truant teen and the consequences you are giving at home are not deterring bad behavior, don't give up. Be proactive: ask the school to schedule a truancy meeting. If your child isn't following through with a truancy plan already in effect, don't wait for school officials to become aware of the noncompliance. Call and ask them to file a truancy petition with juvenile court, and then secure a family law attorney to represent your family. An attorney will help you negotiate the juvenile justice system and direct you to community-based resources for your family. Together with the school and the court, you can get your child back to school once again.


2 February 2015