Attendance & Tardies
Regular school attendance is essential. Absences from class may result in serious disruption of a student’s education. The student and parent should avoid unnecessary absences. Two important state laws—one dealing with compulsory attendance and other with how attendance affects the award of a student’s final grade or course credit—are discussed below.
- Compulsory Attendance
- Exemptions to Compulsory Attendance
- Failure to Comply with Compulsory Attendance
Prekindergarten and Kindergarten
Students enrolled in Pre-kindergarten or Kindergarten are required to attend school and are subject to the compulsory attendance requirements if they remain enrolled.
Ages 6 – 18
State law requires that a student who is at least six years of age, or who is younger than six years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached their 19th birthday, shall attend school, as well as any applicable accelerated instruction program, extended-year program, or tutorial session, unless the student is otherwise excused from attendance or legally exempt. State law requires a student in kindergarten – grade 2 to attend any assigned accelerated reading instruction program. Parents will not be notified in writing if their child is assigned to an accelerated reading instruction program based on a diagnostic reading instrument. A student will be required to attend any assigned accelerated instruction program before or after school or during the summer if the student does not meet the passing standards on the state assessment for his or her grade level and/or applicable subject area.
Age 19 and Older
A student who voluntarily attends or enrolls after his or her 19th birthday is required to attend each school day until the end or the school year. If a student age 19 or older has more than five unexcused absences in a semester, the district may revoke the student’s enrollment. The student’s presence on school property thereafter would be unauthorized and may be considered trespassing. [See policy FEA for more information.]
Exemptions to Compulsory Attendance
All Grade Levels
State law allows exemptions to the compulsory attendance requirements for several types of absences if the student makes up all work. These include the following activities and events:
• Religious holy days.
• Required court appearances.
• Activities related to obtaining U.S. citizenship.
• Documented health-care appointments for the student or a child of the student, including absences for recognized services for students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, if the student comes to school or returns to school on the same day as the appointment. A note from the health-care provider must be submitted upon the student’s arrival or return to campus; and
• For students in the conservatorship (custody) of the state,
o An activity required under a court-ordered service plan; or
o Any other court-ordered activity provided it is not practicable to schedule the student’s participation in the activity outside of school hours.
For children of military families, absences of up to five days will be excused for a student to visit a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian going to, on leave from, or returning from certain deployments.
Secondary Grade Levels
The district will allow junior and senior students to be absent for up to two days per year to visit a college or university, provided this has been:
• Authorized by the board under policy FEA(LOCAL) and the student receives approval from the campus principal,
• Follows campus procedures to verify the visit, and
• Makes up any work missed. The district will allow a student 17 years old or older to be absent for up to four days during the period the student is enrolled in high school to pursue enlistment in the U.S. armed services or Texas National Guard, provided the student verifies these activities to the district. The district will allow a student to be absent for up to two days per school year to serve as:
• An early voting clerk, provided the district’s board has authorized this policy FEA(LOCAL), the student notifies his or her teachers, and the student receives approval from the principal prior to the absences; and
• An election clerk if the student makes up any work missed.
The district will allow a student in grades 6-12 to be absent for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral for a deceased veteran.
Failure to Comply with Compulsory Attendance
All Grade Levels
School employees must investigate and report violations of the state compulsory attendance law. 20 A student absent without permission from school, any class, any required special programs, or any required tutorial will be considered in violation of the compulsory attendance law and subject to disciplinary action. Students with Disabilities If a student with a disability is experiencing attendance issues, the student’s ARD or Section 504 committee will determine whether the attendance issues warrant an evaluation, a reevaluation, and/or modifications to the student’s individualized education program or Section 504 plan, as appropriate. Ages 6 and 18 When a student ages 6-18 incurs three or more unexcused absences within a four-week period, the law requires the school to send notice to the parent. The notice will: • Remind the parent of his or her duty to monitor the student’s attendance and require the student to attend school. • Request a conference between school administrators and the parent; and • Inform the parent that the district will initiate truancy prevention measures, including a behavior improvement plan, school-based community service, referrals to counseling or other social services, or other appropriate measures. The truancy prevention facilitator for the district is Scott Stewart. For any questions about your student absences, parent should contact the facilitator or any other campus administrator. A court of law may impose penalties against a student’s parent if a school-aged student is deliberately not attending school. The district may file a complaint against the parent if the student incurs ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period in the same school year. If a student ages 12-18 incurs ten or more unexcused absences within a six-month period in the same school year, the district, in most circumstances, will refer the student to truancy court. [See policies FEA (LEGAL) and FED (LEGAL) for more information.] Age 19 and Older After a student age 19 or older incurs a third unexcused absence, the district is required by law to send the student a letter explaining that the district may revoke the student’s enrollment for the remainder of the school year if the student has more than five unexcused absences in a semester. As an alternative to revoking a student’s enrollment, the district may implement a behavior improvement plan.