What is an excused absence?
The Governing Board has approved policies regarding excusing absences based on the California Department of Education sanctions. A student’s absence shall be excused for the following reasons:
1. Personal illness (Education Code 48205)
2. Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer (Education Code 48205)
3. Medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic appointment (Education Code 48205)
4. 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)
5. Jury duty in the manner provided by law (Education Code 48205)
6. The illness or medical appointment during school hours of a child to whom the student is the custodial parent (Education Code 48205)
7. 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)
a. Appearance in court
b. Attendance at a funeral service
c. Observation of a holiday or ceremony of his/her religion
d. Attendance at religious retreats not to exceed four hours per semester
e. Attendance at an employment conference
f. Attendance at an educational conference offered by a nonprofit organization on the legislative/judicial process
8. Service as a member of a precinct board for an election pursuant to Elections Code 12302 (Education Code 48205)
9. To spend time with his/her immediate family member who is an active duty member of the uniformed services, as defined in Education Code 49701, and has been called to duty for deployment to a combat zone or a combat support position or is on leave from or has immediately returned from such deployment (Education Code 48205)
10. Participation in religious exercises or to receive moral and religious instruction in accordance with district policy: (Education Code 46014)
a. In such instances, the student shall attend at least the minimum school day.
b. The student shall be excused for this purpose on no more than four days per school month.
What is a truancy letter?
1st Truancy: After a student has three unexcused absences, the school will send the first truancy letter home. A tardy that is over 30 minutes, or an early pick-up greater than 30 minutes prior to the end of the school day, is counted as a truancy.
2nd Truancy: If the student accrues an additional truancy from the time the first truancy letter was sent, a second truancy letter should be sent.
3rd Truancy: Once the student accrues an additional truancy after the second truancy letter has been sent and a SART has been held, a third truancy letter should be sent. This letter is the letter that declares the student as being an Habitual Truant.
*For middle and high school students, multiply the number of periods in a day by three for the equivalent to three full day absences*
What is a School Attendance Review Team (SART)?
SART is a School Attendance Review Team which should include the parent and the student, Principal and other staff. The goal of this team is to identify possible solutions to improving the student’s attendance and/or behavior. At this meeting the student and parent are asked to abide by the directions of the School Attendance Review Team (SART) as outlined and communicated through a SART contract.
What is a School Attendance Review Board and/or District Attorney Mediation?
If a third letter has been sent declaring the student an “habitual truant,” the student and parent may be referred to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) or District Attorney Mediation (DA Mediation). SARB is generally for students who are kindergarten through 6th grade; Students in 7th through 12th grades will be referred to D.A. Mediation in lieu of SARB.
Students who do not improve their attendance after SARB or D.A. Mediation will be referred to the local police department for a truancy citation (both the student and the parent may be cited).
What is Chronic Absenteeism?
Chronic absenteeism is based on total days of school missed, including both excused and unexcused absences. This is critical because the evidence indicates that it is how many days a student misses that matters, not why they miss them. In other words, the detrimental impacts of missing school occur if a student misses because of illness, suspension, the need to care for a family member, or any other reason.
Chronic absenteeism is not the same as truancy. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days. When taking into account an entire school year, a student is considered chronically absent if they miss 18 or more days.