Students miss school for many reasons including illness, lack of transportation, work, homelessness, and family responsibilities. Families understand the importance of education, however, they may not realize how quickly absences from school can add up. Schools, families, and communities can work together to improve attendance and support the needs of families and students.
Attending school every day will help children as they progress through their academic career. Preschool is a great time to begin building a habit of good attendance. Young children with poor attendance also lose out on valuable learning time and if chronic absence continues into kindergarten, it can pull down academic achievement. Studies show many children who miss too many days in kindergarten and first grade can struggle academically in later years. They often have trouble mastering reading by the end of third grade. Helping your child get to school on time every day is an important way you can promote your child’s academic success.
Attending school every day will help children as they progress through their academic careers. Helping your child get to school on time every day is an important way you can promote your child’s academic success. KS Statute K.S.A. 72-3121 states that a child is required by law to attend school (see statute below).
K.S.A. 72-3121 (c) (1): Whenever a child is required by law to attend school and is enrolled in school, and the child is inexcusably absent therefrom on either three consecutive school days or five school days in any semester or seven school days in any school year, whichever of the foregoing occurs first, the child shall be considered to be not attending school as required by law. A child is inexcusably absent from school if the child is absent therefrom all or a significant part of a school day without a valid excuse acceptable to the school employee designated by the board of education to have responsibility for the school attendance of such child.
Chronic Absenteeism: According to the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), "being chronically absent means a student is missing 10 percent or more of school, for both excused and unexcused reasons. This puts the student at a higher risk of not graduating high school and possibly becoming a high school dropout." Chronic absenteeism is not the same thing as truancy. Chronic absenteeism considers both excused, and unexcused absences, and truancy considers only unexcused absences.
When a student is absent from school, an attempt shall be made to contact the parent or guardian to determine the reason for the absence. The principal has been designated to determine the acceptability and validity of excuses presented by the parent(s) or the student.
Procedures for notifying parents on the day of a student’s absence shall be published in the student handbook.
The definition of "excused absence" includes the following:
All absences which do not fit into one of the above categories would be considered an unexcused absence. A student serving a period of suspension or expulsion from the district shall not be considered inexcusably absent.
Unexcused Absences from School: A student is unexcused when absent without a valid reason. Leaving without permission will be counted as unexcused when school is in session. Students who skip school or arrive late for unexcused reasons will be addressed in accordance with the building policy.
Excessive Absence: Parents may excuse students up to ten (10) absences per year without the need for documentation of an appointment from a health care provider. Each absence after the ten (10) per year will automatically become an unexcused absence unless a note from the health care provider is given and accepted by the administration. Exceptions: Students who are hospitalized or suffering from a long-term or chronic illness while under the care of a licensed physician will be exempt from this provision. Long-term illness is deﬁned as an illness that keeps a student out of school for at least four consecutive days.
K.S.A. 72-3121 (d) (1): Prior to making any report under this section that a child is not attending school as required by law, the designated employee of the board of education shall serve written notice thereof, by personal delivery or by ﬁrst class mail, upon a parent or person acting as parent of the child. The notice shall inform the parent or person acting as parent that continued failure of the child to attend school without a valid excuse will result in a report being made to the secretary for children and families or to the county or district attorney. Upon failure, on the school day next succeeding personal delivery of the notice or within three school days after the notice was mailed, of attendance at school by the child or of an acceptable response, as determined by the designated employee, to the notice by a parent or person acting as parent of the child, the designated employee shall make a report thereof in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a). The designated employee shall submit with the report a certiﬁcate verifying the manner in which notice was provided to the parent or person acting as parent.
|Daily||An attempt will be made to contact parents for all unexcused absences.|
|3 consecutive (in a row) unexcused absences||Per state law, after three consecutive (in a row) unexcused absences, a truancy report will be made to DCF.|
|5 unexcused absences per semester||Per state law, after ﬁve unexcused absences in a semester, another truancy report will be made to DCF.|
|7 unexcused absences per year||Per state law, after seven unexcused absences per year, another truancy report will be made to DCF.|
|10 excused or unexcused absences||A note from a health care provider may be required, or veriﬁcation by the school nurse may be required to excuse further absences.|
Vacations: All vacations must be pre-arranged with the building administrator at least ﬁve days before the student leaves. The vacation will be excused only if it falls within the district absence limit. Any days, which exceed the limit, will be counted as unexcused. Students who miss classes for vacations need to make arrangements in advance with their teachers for make-up work and may be required to complete assignments before leaving.
Healthcare Provider Appointments: To be excused, all appointments made with a healthcare provider after the district’s absences limit must be veriﬁed by an appointment card. Every eort should be made to ensure that the student does not continue to miss the same class period for these appointments. In most cases, students will be excused for a maximum of one half-day for these appointments.
School-Sponsored Activities: All absences which result from students participating in school-sponsored activities will be excused. These absences do not count toward the district absence limit or will be counted towards chronic absenteeism. Students who miss class for school-sponsored activities need to make arrangements in advance with their teachers for their make-up work.
Military Families in Attendance: Students of active duty personnel shall have additional excused absences at the principal’s discretion for visitations relative to leave or deployment.
Signiﬁcant Part of a School Day/Class: An absence of two or more hours in any school day shall be considered a half-day absence at all elementary buildings (grades K-5). In secondary buildings (grades 6th-12th), students who miss more than 25% of a class period will be considered absent for that class period.
Make-Up Work: It is the student’s responsibility to obtain make-up assignments from teachers following an excused or unexcused absence. In general, two days are given to complete daily work missed due to each day of absence. Exceptions to this rule can be made through special arrangements with the teacher or administration. Tests, which have been scheduled in advance, and long-term assignments, must be completed on arrival back to school.
The building principal (or designee) shall report students who are inexcusably absent from school to the appropriate authority. Truancy is defined as any three consecutive unexcused absences, any five unexcused absences in a semester or seven unexcused absences in a school year, whichever comes first.
School year means the period from July 1 to June 30. Students who are absent without a valid excuse for a significant part of any school day shall be considered truant.
Prior to reporting to either S.R.S. (if the student is under 13) or the county or district attorney (if the student is 13 or more years of age but less than 18 years of age), a letter shall be sent to the student’s parent(s) or guardian notifying them that the student’s failure to attend school without a valid excuse shall result in the student being reported truant.
Waiver of Compulsory Attendance Requirements
Students 16 or 17 years of age may be exempt from compulsory attendance regulations if the parent(s) or person acting as parent attend(s) the counseling session required by law and signs the appropriate consent and waiver form; if the student earns a GED; or if the student is exempt from compulsory attendance requirements pursuant to a court order.
Involvement of Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officers may return truant children to the school where the child is enrolled, to the child’s parent or guardian or to another location designated by the board to address truancy issues.
Reporting to Parents
If a truant child is returned to school by a law enforcement official, the principal shall notify the parent or guardian.
Concurrent Enrollment Students (See IDCE and JQ)
Eligible students who are enrolled in a board-approved dual enrollment program shall not be considered truant, for the hours during the school day they attend classes at a Regent’s university, community college, technical college, vocational educational school or Washburn University.
In accordance with the Kansas Statute K.S.A. 72-3121(c)(1) "whenever a child is required by law to attend school and is enrolled in school, and the child is inexcusably absent therefrom on either three consecutive school days or five school days in any semester or seven school days in any school year, whichever of the foregoing occurs first, the child shall be considered to be not attending school as required by law. A child is inexcusably absent from school if the child is absent therefrom all or a significant part of a school day without a valid excuse acceptable to the school employee designated by the board of education to have responsibility for the school attendance of such child."
An inexcusable absence is an absence for which a parent or guardian has not communicated to the school a valid excuse. If a student has excessive absences, the school has the right not to excuse an absence unless the child has seen his/her physician and brings the appropriate documentation to the school.
In compliance with requirements of the Kansas Compulsory School Attendance Law, Haysville Schools are required to file a report with the appropriate authorities when a child is not enrolled in school or when a child is enrolled and is inexcusably absent.