Many schools throughout the world have difficulty enforcing mandatory attendance for a variety of reasons. Some students find it more worthwhile to enter the labor force and earn money for their families, while others struggle with coursework and choose simply not to attend. Others have difficulty getting to school because they live in rural areas. The reasons why students do not attend school are complex and seemingly endless, making mandatory attendance difficult to enforce. Some schools base part of a student's grade on attendance, while others make an attendance percentage a requirement for graduation.
In some locales, a student must attend classes a certain percentage of the school year in order to advance to the next grade. The student can be held back in the same grade if he or she fails to meet mandatory attendance requirements, which some critics claim can discourage students from attending school at all. Proponents, however, claim it encourages students to attend class because it means they can progress to the next grade level with their peers.
Other schools enforce mandatory attendance with a rewards system. Students who attend school every day are rewarded with an award, special privileges, and so on. Students who do not attend the mandatory amount of school days may be placed on a sort of probation period in which they must improve their attendance. If they improve, they may be rewarded with certain privileges.
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School districts or schools may implement mandatory attendance policies that apply to students, parents, and staff. If a student misses a day of school, for example, an administrator will call home to find out where the student is. If the student misses several days of school, an administrator or other representative of the school may visit the student's home to learn more about the absence. A determination can then be made as to whether the absence is justified — perhaps due to an illness or family emergency — or if the student is truant for reasons not considered reasonable or vital.
Many countries or locales have laws that require students to attend school until a certain age. If the student fails to report to school, the parents or guardians of that student may be held responsible for the student's absence. Legal action may be taken against the parents, and the student may be forced to enroll in an educational institution. The student may also be forced to enter a detention center, and the parents of that student can be fined or jailed.