7:70 - Attendance and Truancy

Policy 7:70

Students

Attendance and Truancy

Attendance Excuses

Students are expected to be in attendance at school on a daily basis. Principals are directed to obtain satisfactory explanation from the parent(s)/ guardian(s) for the absence of a pupil for all or any part of the school day. The explanation may be obtained in person, by telephone, or in writing.

Registration

Prior to the beginning of each school year the administration shall take such steps as are necessary to inform the residents of the school district about the details of registration for the admission of new pupils to schools of the District.

Compulsory School Attendance

This policy applies to individuals who have custody or control of a child: (a) between the ages of 6 (on or before September 1) and 17 years (unless the child has graduated from high school) or (b) who is enrolled in any of grades, kindergarten through 12, in the public school regardless of age.

Subject to specific requirements in State law, the following children are not required to attend public school:

  1. any child attending a private school (including a home school) or parochial school,
  2. any child who is physically or mentally unable to attend school (including a pregnant student suffering medical complications as certified by her physician),
  3. any child lawfully and necessarily employed,
  4. any child over 12 and under 14 years of age while in confirmation classes,
  5. any child absent because his or her religion forbids secular activity on a particular day, and
  6. any child 16 years of age or older who is employed and is enrolled in a graduation incentives program.

The parent/guardian of a student who is enrolled must authorize all absences from school and notify the school in advance or at the time of the student’s absence. A valid cause for absence includes illness, observance of a religious holiday, death in the immediate family, family emergency, other situations beyond the control of the student, other circumstances that cause reasonable concern to the parent/guardian for the student’s safety or health, or other reason as approved by the Superintendent or designee.

Absenteeism and Truancy Program

The Superintendent or designee shall manage an absenteeism and truancy program in accordance with the School Code and School Board policy. The program shall include but not be limited to:

  • A protocol for excusing a student from attendance who is necessarily and lawfully employed. The Superintendent or designee is authorized to determine when the student’s absence is justified.
  • A process to telephone, within 2 hours after the first class, the parents/guardians of students in grade 8 or below who are absent without prior parent/guardian notification.
  • A process to identify and track students who are truants, chronic or habitual truants, or truant minors as defined in the School Code, Section 26-2a.
  • Methods for identifying the cause(s) of a student’s unexcused absenteeism, including interviews with the student, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s), and staff members or other people who may have information.
  • The identification of supportive services that may be offered to truant or chronically truant students, including parent-teacher conferences, student and/or family counseling, or information about community agency services. See Board Policy 6:110.
  • A process to request the assistance and resources of outside agencies, such as, the juvenile officer of the local police department or the truant office of the appropriate Regional Office of Education, if truancy continues after supportive services have been offered.
  • A protocol for cooperating with non-District agencies including County or municipal authorities, the Regional Superintendent, truant officers, the Community Truancy Review Board, and a comprehensive community based youth service agency. Any disclosure of school student records must be consistent with Board Policy 7:340, Student Records, as well as State and federal law concerning school student records.
  • An acknowledgement that no punitive action, including out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, or court action, shall be taken against a chronic truant for his or her truancy unless available supportive services and other school resources have been provided to the student.
  • The criteria to determine whether a student’s non-attendance is due to extraordinary circumstances shall include economic or medical necessity or family hardship and such other criteria that the Superintendent believes qualifies.

Release Time for Religious Instruction/Observance

A student shall be released from school, as an excused absence, to observe a religious holiday or for religious instruction. The student’s parent/guardian must give written notice to the Building Principal at least 5 calendar days before the student’s anticipated absence(s). This notice shall satisfy the District’s requirement for a written excuse when the student returns to school.

The Superintendent shall develop and distribute to teachers appropriate procedures regarding student absences for religious reasons and include a list of religious holidays on which a student shall be excused from school attendance, how teachers are notified of a student’s impending absence, and the State law requirement that teachers provide the student with an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement.

Adopted: November 10, 1997
Revised: October 24, 2016

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