Student Absences/Excuses

1Student Attendance, Absenteeism, and Truancy  -  NASD Policy JED 

Absences The Board requires that school-aged children in the District attend school in accordance with state laws. The educational program offered by the District is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation in order for students to achieve academic standards and consistent educational progress. Attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in the District during the days and hours that school is in session, except that the Principal may excuse a student for temporary absences when receiving satisfactory evidence of conditions or reasons that may reasonably cause the student’s absence. Evidence in writing of reasonable extenuating conditions for absences will normally be requested. 

The Board considers the following to be excused absences:

1. Illness

2. Recovery from an accident

3. Required court attendance

4. Medical and dental appointments

5. Death in the immediate family

6. Observation or celebration of a bona fide religious holiday

7. Such other good cause as may be acceptable to the Principal or permitted by law 

Any absence which has not been excused for any of these reasons will be considered an unexcused absence. 

In the event of an illness, parents/legal guardians must call the school the day it occurs and inform a school district employee of the student’s illness and absence. For other absences, parents/legal guardians must provide written notice or a written excuse that states one of the reasons for non-attendance. The Principal may require parents/legal guardians to provide additional documentation in support of their written notice, including but not limited to doctor’s notes, court documents, obituaries, or other documents supporting the claimed reason for non-attendance. 

Principal’s Additional Documentation: 

Reason for Absence                                                                                              Required Documentation

#3 Court attendance                                                                                              Court documentation

#4 Medical and Dental appointments                                Doctor/Dentist note

#7 Cause acceptable for Principal review     Written explanation of unforeseen or extenuating   circumstances 

Review Process

If parents/legal guardians wish for their child to be absent for a reason not listed in # 1-6, the parent/legal guardians must provide a written explanation of the reason for such absence. The Principal will make a determination as to whether the stated reason for the child’s absence constitutes good cause. The Principal’s decision will be communicated in a timely manner. If the Principal determines that good cause does not exist, the parents/legal guardians can meet with the Principal for further consideration. At this juncture the Principal’s decision shall be final. 

Family Vacations

Generally, absences other than for illness during the school year are discouraged. Parents/legal guardians are requested to schedule family vacations during school vacations. The School District calendar is published so that students and parents/legal guardians can plan accordingly. The school Principal or designee may grant special approval of absence for family vacations providing approval is solicited a minimum of two weeks in advance and in writing. Ordinarily there must be unforeseen and/or extenuating circumstances to gain such approval. 

Truancy

Truancy is defined as any unexcused absence from class or school. Any absence that has not been excused for any of the reasons listed above will be considered an unexcused absence. 

Ten half-days of unexcused absence during a school year constitute habitual truancy. 

A half-day absence is defined as three class periods. 

The Principal or designee is hereby designated as the District employee responsible for overseeing truancy issues. The services of a Truant Officer may be included in the process. 

Intervention Process to Address Truancy

The Principal shall insure that the administrative guidelines on attendance properly address the matter of truancy by including a process that identifies students who are habitually truant, as defined above. 

When the Principal identifies a student who is habitually truant or who is in danger of becoming habitually truant, the Principal shall commence an intervention with the student, the student’s parents/legal guardians, and other staff members as may be deemed necessary. The intervention process shall include but not be limited to:

1. investigating the cause(s) of the student’s truant behavior;

2. considering, when appropriate, modification of the student’s educational program to meet particular needs that may be causing the truancy;

3. involving the parents/legal guardians in the development of a plan designed to reduce the truancy; 4. seeking alternative disciplinary measures, but still retaining the right to impose discipline in accordance with the District’s policies and administrative guidelines on student discipline. Determination as to whether school record keeping practices and parental notification of the student’s absences have an effect on the child’s attendance. 

Parental Involvement in Truancy Intervention

When a student reaches habitual truancy status or is in danger of reaching habitual truancy status, the Principal will send the student's parent a letter which includes:

1. A statement that the student has become or is in danger of becoming habitually truant;

2. A statement of the parent's responsibility to ensure that the student attends school; and

3. A request for a meeting between the parents and the Principal to discuss the student's truancy and to develop a plan for reducing the student's truancy. 

Developing and Coordinating Strategies for Truancy Reduction 

The Board encourages the administration to seek truancy-prevention and truancy-reduction strategies along the recommendations listed below. However, these guidelines shall be advisory only. The Superintendent is authorized to develop and utilize other means, guidelines and programs aimed at preventing and reducing truancy. 

1. Coordinate truancy-prevention strategies based on the early identification of truancy, such as prompt notification of absences to parents.

2. Assist school staff to develop site attendance plans by providing development strategies, resources, and referral procedures.

3. Encourage and coordinate the adoption of attendance-incentive programs at school sites and in individual classrooms that reward and celebrate good attendance and significant improvements in attendance. 

Parental Notification of Truancy Policy 

Prior to adopting this policy, the Board will place the item on the agenda of a public school board meeting and will allow two weeks for public input as to the policy's provisions. Any public input shall be advisory only and final adoption as to the policy's provisions will remain solely with the Board. 

The Superintendent shall also ensure that this policy is included in or referenced in Student/Parent Handbooks and is mailed to parents annually at the beginning of each school year. 

Legal References: RSA 189:34, Appointment RSA 189:35-a, Truancy Defined RSA 193:1, Duty of Parent; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil RSA 193:7, Penalty RSA 193:8, Notice Requirements RSA 193:16, Bylaws as to Nonattendance NH Code of Administrative Rules, Section Ed 306.04 (a)(1), Attendance and Absenteeism NH Code of Administrative Rules, Section Ed 306.04 (c), Policy Relative to Attendance and Absenteeism 

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