Absence Unexcused: A Systematic Review on Truancy

Ericka S. Weathers, Karen Babbs Hollett, Zoë R. Mandel, Christine Rickert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Mirroring trends in the legal system, discipline within education has adopted zero-tolerance policies in an attempt to curb undesired behaviors in school. K–12 schools have expanded the use of exclusionary discipline policies for lesser offenses, giving way to the phenomenon known as the school-to-prison-pipeline (STPP), which disproportionately affects black and Latinx students. While much is known about the link between exclusionary discipline policies and subsequent involvement in the juvenile legal system, less attention has been given to other education policies and practices that may be criminalized in a similar manner. In this systematic review, we argue that truancy policies and practices contribute to the STPP for black and Latinx students. We synthesize the research on school truancy to better understand the characteristics of students who experience truancy; predictors of truancy; the relationship between truancy, truancy policies, and various student outcomes; and the impact of truancy interventions and school disciplinary responses. Implications for improving research on truancy and disrupting the relationship between truancy and the STPP for black and Latinx youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPeabody Journal of Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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