JH: Student Absences and Excuses

Regular and punctual school attendance is essential for success in school.  The Committee recognizes that parents of children attending our schools have special rights as well as responsibilities, one of which is to ensure that their children attend school regularly in accordance with state law and in support of positive academic outcomes. Students may be excused temporarily from school attendance for the following reasons:  illness or quarantine; bereavement or serious illness in family; weather so inclement as to endanger the health of the child; and observance of major religious holidays. A student may be excused for other exceptional reasons with approval of the principal or designee. Parents will provide a written explanation for the absence or tardiness of a student, and in advance for types of absences where advance notice is possible.

In instances of chronic or irregular absence reportedly due to illness, the administration may request a physician’s statement certifying such absences be justified.

Student Absence Notification Program

Each principal will notify a student’s parent/guardian within three days of a student’s absence in the event the parent/guardian has not informed the school of the absence.

Each principal or designee will meet with any student, and that student’s parent/guardian, who has missed five or more unexcused school days in a school year (equal to two or more class periods in the same day) to jointly develop action steps intended to improve student attendance. The parties may seek input from other relevant school staff and/or officials from relevant public safety, health and human service, housing, and/or nonprofit agencies.

Dropout Prevention

No student who has been absent from school for ten consecutive days of unexcused absence and who has not yet graduated from high school will be considered permanently removed from school unless the principal has sent notice to the student and that student’s parent/guardian. The notice will be sent within five days of the tenth consecutive day of absence and will offer at least two dates and times within the next ten days for an exit interview with the Superintendent or designee, the student, and the student’s parent/guardian. The notice will be prepared in both English and the primary language of the home, if applicable. The notice will include contact information for scheduling the exit interview and will indicate that the parties will reach an agreement on the date/time of the interview within the ten day timeframe.  The timeframe may be extended at the request of the parent/guardian but will not exceed 14 days.

The Superintendent or designee may proceed with any interview without a parent/guardian present provided the Superintendent has documented a good faith effort to include the parent/guardian.

The Superintendent or designee will convene a team of staff members to participate in the exit interview and will provide information to the student and, if applicable, the student’s parent/guardian on the detrimental effects of early withdrawal from school as well as the alternative education programs and services available to the student.


MSC first vote: 8/26/14
MSC second vote: 9/23/14