Regular attendance is paramount to student success. One of the primary responsibilities of the student is to attend school with consistency and punctuality. Not only is regular attendance required by law, but we in the South Monterey County Joint Union High School District believe that consistent attendance gives students more opportunities to acquire the basic education necessary to become a mature, knowledgeable, and productive member of society. Consistent attendance has a direct, positive effect on student achievement, promotion, graduation, sense of worth and employment potential. Parents/guardians of children subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education are responsible for sending their student to school full time (Ed. Codes 48200 and 48400).
1. EXCUSED ABSENCES
A student’s absence shall be excused for the following reasons:
- Personal illness (Education Code 48205)
- Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer (Education Code 48205)
- Medical, dental, optometrical, or chiropractic appointment (Education Code 48205)
- Attendance at funeral services for a member of the immediate family, which shall be limited to one day if the service is conducted in California, or three days if the service is conducted out of state (Education Code 48205)
Immediate family shall be defined as mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, spouse, son/son-in-
law, daughter/daughter-in-law, brother, sister, or any relative living in the student’s immediate
household. (Education Code 45194, 48205)
- Jury duty in the manner provided by law (Education Code 48205)
- The illness or medical appointment during school hours of a child to whom the student is the custodial parent (Education Code 48205)
- Upon advance written request by the parent/guardian and the approval of the principal or designee, justifiable personal reasons including, but not limited to (Education Code 48205):
- Appearance in court
- Attendance at a funeral service
- Observation of a holiday or ceremony of his/her religion
- Attendance at religious retreats not to exceed four hours per semester
- Attendance at an employment conference
- Attendance at an educational conference on the legislative or judicial process offered by a
- nonprofit organization.
- Service as a member of a precinct board for an election pursuant to Elections Code 12302 (Education Code 48205)
- Participation in religious exercises or to receive moral and religious instruction in accordance with district policy (Education Code 46014)
- In such instances, the student shall attend at least the minimum school day.
- The student shall be excused for this purpose on no more than four days per school month.
Method of Verification
When a student who has been absent returns to school, he/she shall present a satisfactory explanation verifying the reason for the absence. Absences shall be verified by the student’s parent/guardian, other person having control of the minor, or the student if age 18 or over (Education Code 46012; 5 CCR 306).
The following methods may be used to verify student absences:
- Written note, fax, or email from parent/guardian or parent representative
- Conversation, in person or by telephone, between the verifying employee and the student’s parent/guardian or parent representative. The employee shall subsequently record the following:
- Name of student
- Name of parent/guardian or parent representative
- Name of verifying employee
- Date(s) of absence
- Reason for absence
- Visit to the student’s home by the verifying employee, or any other reasonable method which establishes the fact that the student was absent for the reasons stated. The employee shall document the verification and include the information specified in item #2 above.
- When excusing students for confidential medical services or verifying such appointments, district staff shall not ask the purpose of such appointments but may contact a medical office to confirm the time of the appointment.
- When a student has had 14 absences in the school year for illness verified by methods listed above, any further absences for illness shall be verified by a physician.
Note: Missed school time due to school activities such as athletic events will not be counted as absences. The principal or his designee must approve all school activities.
The Governing Board believes that excessive student absenteeism and tardiness, whether caused by excused or unexcused absences, may be an early warning sign of poor academic achievement and may put students at risk of dropping out of school. The Board desires to ensure that all students attend school in accordance with the state’s compulsory education law and take full advantage of educational opportunities provided by the district.
2. UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
All absences which do not meet the above definitions of excused absences will be considered unexcused, including those absences that were not excused within 72 hours.
Examples: Oversleeping, vacations, failure to sign out when leaving school grounds, running errands with or for parents/friends/self, or driving other persons somewhere for their medical appointments.
3. TARDY POLICY
All students should be in their seats and prepared to begin work when the tardy bell rings. All students who are not in a classroom or locker room will receive after school detention. Excessive tardies will result in a School/Parent Attendance Mediation conference.
4. MAKE-UP WORK FOR ABSENCES
Students who request make-up work the day they return from an excused absence, school activity, or off-campus suspension shall be allowed to complete any tests or assignments missed that can be reasonably made up. If necessary, the teacher may assign reasonably equivalent alternative assignments for make-up. Upon satisfactory completion of make-up, full credit shall be granted for work. (Education Code 48205, BP 6154a)
5. CONSEQUENCES FOR UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
- Upon returning to school, a student has three school days to clear absences. Those absences left uncleared will remain unexcused (for grading purposes).
- After the fourth unexcused absence, the instructor may lower a student’s grade by 1/3 of a grade point for each unexcused absence.
- Teachers who withhold class credit because of excessive absences shall so inform students and parents/guardians at the beginning of the school year or semester.
- Each time an unexcused absence occurs, the student and parent/guardian shall again be notified of the district’s policy regarding excessive unexcused absences.
- Students having unexcused absences for two or more periods in one day will be assigned. Saturday School. Students failing to attend Saturday School may be suspended.
- Students with habitually 3 or more unexcused absences will be referred to the Monterey County District Attorney. (Education Code 48262, 48264.5)
6. SATURDAY SCHOOL
Saturday School is an opportunity to make up unexcused absences (one Saturday School for each absence). Also, if a student is considered “truant,” he/she may attend Saturday School voluntarily instead of receiving a truancy citation (this is for first-time offenders only—repeated truancies will be cited). Saturday School may also be assigned to students for violation of school or classroom rules.
Students that are assigned Saturday School must report to the designated room on their assigned date no later than 7:55 AM. Saturday School is from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The list of students assigned Saturday School will be posted outside the Main Office and the cafeteria no later than Thursday morning. If a student or parent feels that there is an error in the assignment they must get it cleared by the site administrator.
A student who has been labeled as truant may be assigned Saturday School without parent permission.
Truant: A student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times, or who is absent from school three full days without a valid excuse in a single school year, or any combination thereof.
Note: If a student misses, is late, or is asked to leave Saturday School by the instructor in charge, he or she must make up that day of Saturday School, or he or she may be suspended or cited (as appropriate). In addition, an absence from Saturday School will result in the student being restricted from any or all co-curricular activities
7. Habitually Truant
As required by law, habitually truant students shall be referred to a truancy mediation program operated by
the county’s District Attorney or Probation Officer, and/or a juvenile court.