Student attendance is crucial to learning. There are also statutory requirements with which parents must comply. According to Section 299.1 and 299.1A of the Iowa Code, the parent, guardian, or legal/actual custodian is accountable for the school attendance of a child who has reached the age of five and is under sixteen years of age by September 15 of that school year. Students who wish to participate in school-sponsored activities must attend school the entire day on which the activity is scheduled unless permission has been given by the principal for the student to be absent.
1)Parents will be expected to notify the school regarding a student’s absence by the first hour of the school day.
2)Acceptable reasons for a student’s absence from school may include the following:
a. Religious observance;
b. Extended illness, hospitalization, or doctor’s care;
c. Death in the family or family emergency;
d. Court appearance or other legal situation beyond the control of the family; or
e. Family obligation or educational opportunity that could not be scheduled outside of school time. It will be mandatory for all schoolwork to be completed.
3)Classes missed because of attendance at a school-sponsored trip or activity will not be considered an absence. However, the student will be required to make up all missed work.
4)Suspensions from class, either in-school suspensions or out-of-school suspensions, will be treated as school-initiated student absences and will not count toward the days absent. However, the student will be required to make up all missed work.
5)The time allowed for make-up work will be at the discretion of the classroom teacher.
1)A student will be considered tardy when the student appears in the assigned area any time after the designated starting time.
2)Teachers will emphasize the importance of being on time and explain the classroom rules and procedures for tardies. Tardy sanctions may include but are not limited to, warning, assigned detention, parent contact, and referral to the principal for other action.
1)For purposes of this policy, a student will be considered truant when the student is absent from school or an assigned class or classes without school permission. Truancy includes, but is not limited to, the following:
b)Falsely informing the school about the reason(s) for the absence
c)Absences that have not been pre-arranged and pre-approved as excused
d)Excessive requested parental absences
2)Work missed because of truancy must be made up the same as work for all other absences in order to be counted for credit.
3)Incidents of truancy will be recorded as part of a student’s attendance record and will count toward the absences per semester. The number of truant days will determine what, if any, disciplinary action is appropriate including, but not limited to, warning, detention, in-school suspension, or administrative referral.
4)Disciplinary Actions for Truancies:
- Level 1 Meeting– A Level I fact-finding hearing among the parent, student, and school official shall be conducted when there are approximately 1-3 unexcused absences and/or when the building administrator believes that chronic absenteeism (although excused) is evident. The Level I hearing should be viewed as an opportunity to learn how the school and the home can work together to improve school attendance. A copy of the Level I hearing summary, which includes possible interventions, will be maintained in the student’s cumulative folder and a copy provided to the parent. The building administrator will make two attempts to schedule a Level I hearing. If the parent/guardian does not show at the second attempt to schedule a Level I hearing, a Level II hearing will be held.
- Level II Hearing– A Level II hearing will be held when a student has 3-6 days of unexcused absence and when the building administrator determines the student has chronic absenteeism, although excused. A Level I hearing should have been held or attempted prior to a Level II hearing. Appropriate documentation will be filed in the student’s cumulative folder. The building administrator will contact the family to arrange a Level II hearing and will conduct the Level II hearing. If a family needs an interpreter, the administrator will arrange for an interpreter from the ESL office to attend the hearing as well as send a letter to the home (in the language spoken in the home) to confirm the hearing date & time. During a Level II hearing, a written agreement outlining the responsibilities of all parties will be developed. A copy will be given to the parent and student, and a copy will be held in the student’s cumulative folder. If the parent/ guardian does not attend the Level II hearing as scheduled, the building administrator will refer the student to Level III.
- Level III Hearing (Mediation) – If attendance problems continue to persist after a Level II hearing has been held, the building administrator will contact the director of elementary or secondary education to refer the case to mediation. The mediator, appointed by the county attorney, will decide what action to take and determine whether there is a truancy problem. The mediator will work with the parent/guardian to develop another intervention plan in order to prevent legal action from occurring. A mediation agreement will be signed and a copy will be given to the parent as well as put into the student’s cumulative folder. Upon completion of the mediation agreement, the building administrator and the attendance team will continue to monitor student attendance. The building administrator will be responsible for monitoring and notifying the director of elementary or secondary education if a Level IV hearing is needed.
- Level IV Hearing – Legal prosecution will occur at Level IV, and the parent may be charged with a misdemeanor offense. The county attorney may choose to have the parents arrested. A court date will be set and the building administrator or other staff members may be asked to testify. Information and attendance data may be requested by the judge prior to the trial date. It is important that the attendance data is accurate and that the attendance process is followed with complete documentation.