JED - Student Absences/Excuses/Dismissals

File:  JED






I.  Student Attendance Policy        


            Student attendance is a cooperative effort and the School Board shall involve parents and students in accepting the responsibility for good attendance.


            Each parent/guardian or person having control or charge of a child within the compulsory attendance age shall be responsible for such child's regular and punctual attendance at school as required under provisions of the law.


            A reasonable effort shall be made to contact a parent/guardian of each absent student every day, and to obtain an explanation for the student’s absence, where there is no indication that the student’s parent is aware of and supports the absence. A log will be kept of call attempts.


            Students who are absent must bring a valid note stating the reason for absence upon returning to school. Unexcused absences shall be handled according to regulations issued by the superintendent.   Written excuses for absences will not be accepted if the family is not knowledgeable of the student’s absence upon initial phone contact.


            Students shall attend school for a full day unless otherwise excused. Secondary students shall be scheduled for a full school day unless they are enrolled in a cooperative work‑study program.  All other exceptions to a full day schedule must be approved on an individual basis by the superintendent or designee.


            Nothing in this policy shall be construed to limit in any way the authority of any attendance officer or the division superintendent to seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance law.


II. Compulsory Attendance Procedures


            A.        Upon Fifth Absence without Parental Awareness and Support


            If (1) a student fails to report to school for a total of five scheduled school days for the school year, and (2) there is no indication that the student’s parent is aware of and supports the absence; and (3) reasonable efforts to notify the parent of the absences have failed, then the Principal or designee shall make a reasonable effort to ensure that direct contact is made with the parent, either in person or through telephone conversation, by the attendance officer to obtain an explanation for the pupil’s absence and to explain to the parent the consequences of continued nonattendance.  The attendance officer, the pupil, and the pupil’s parent shall jointly develop a plan to resolve the pupil’s nonattendance.  Such plan shall include documentation of the reasons for the pupil’s nonattendance.


Upon Sixth Absence without Parental Awareness and Support


      If the pupil is absent an additional day after direct contact with the pupil’s parent and the attendance officer has received no indication that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the pupil’s absence, the attendance officer shall schedule a conference within ten school days, which must take place no later than the fifteenth school day after the sixth absence.  At the conference, the pupil, his parent, and school personnel, shall meet to resolve issues related to the pupil’s nonattendance.  Other community service providers may also be included in the conference.  


C.        Upon Additional Absence without Parental Awareness and Support


            Upon the next absence after the conference without indication to the attendance officer that the pupil’s parent is aware of and supports the pupil’s absence, the Principal or designee shall notify the attendance officer or Superintendent who shall enforce the compulsory attendance rules by either or both of the following:  (i) filing a complaint with the juvenile and domestic relations court alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision as defined in § 16.1-228 or (ii) instituting proceedings against the parent pursuant to § 18.2-371 or § 22.1-262.  In filing a complaint against the student, the attendance officer shall provide written documentation of the efforts already undertaken to resolve the pupil’s absence.  If the student’s parents have joint physical custody of the student and the school has notice of the custody arrangement, then both parents shall be notified at their last known addresses.


            D.        Parental Cooperation in Remedying Excessive Unexcused Absences


            It is expected that parents will cooperate with the attendance officer and other school officials to remedy the student’s attendance problem.  Where direct contact with a parent cannot be made, despite reasonable efforts, or where parents otherwise fail to cooperate in remedying the student’s attendance problem, the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee may seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance laws. The attendance officer, with the knowledge and approval of the Superintendent, shall institute proceedings against any parent who fails to comply with the requirements of the compulsory attendance laws.  Where the complaint arises out of the parent’s failure to comply with the requirements of § 22.1-258, the attendance officer shall document the school division’s compliance with this Code section.


III.       Attendance Reporting


            Student attendance shall be monitored and reported as required by state law and regulations.  At the end of each school year, each public school principal shall report to the Superintendent the number of pupils by grade level for whom a conference was scheduled pursuant to Part II (B) above.  The Superintendent shall compile this information and provide it annually to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.


IV.    Dismissal Precautions


            Principals shall not release a student during the school day to any person not authorized by the student's parent/guardian to assume responsibility for the pupil.  Students shall be released only on request and authorization of parent or guardian. The superintendent shall provide procedures for release of pupils who are not residing with or under the supervision of a parent/guardian. The burden of proof on the authority of the person to receive the student is on the requesting party. A formal check‑out system shall be maintained in each school.



Adopted:        08/23/04; 02/22/07





Legal Ref.:            Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, sections 22.1‑254 and 22.1‑258 through 22.1‑269, 22.1-279.3.


                                8 VAC 20-110-10 et seq.


Cross Ref. :           JFC         Student Conduct



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