Daily School Attendance is the most important factor tied to academic success. In California, most students attend school only 180 days a year. Irregular attendance disrupts a quality educational program for students. Attendance is taken every day in every class period. When students return to school after being absent, they must bring a note to the Attendance Office, written and signed by the parent/ legal guardian, stating the date(s) and the reason for the absence. Parents/legal guardians may also call the school and verify the dates and the reason for the absence. Students who do not have parents/legal guardians who clear their absences within two (2) school days are considered truant if it is not cleared by the third day. The following methods may be used to verify student absences:
- A written notice from parent/legal guardian or parent representative. Students who are 18 years or older may provide their own excuses for absences.
- Conversation, in person or by telephone, between the verifying employee and the student’s parent/legal guardian or parent representative. The employee shall record the following:
- Name of Student
- Name of parent/legal guardian or parent representative
- Name of verifying employee
- Date(s) of absence(s)
- Reason for absence
Whole day and period absences not cleared within 48 hours (2) days) will be recorded as unverified and/or unexcused on the third day and cannot be cleared after that time. It is the student and parent’s responsibility to see that these absences are cleared. Truancy is any unexcused absence or Very Late/Cut of 30 minutes or more that remains un-cleared for 72 hours (three (3) days). Truant/unexcused students may be assigned to Saturday School and could be subject to other disciplinary action. Chronic truants are students who have missed 10% or more of days in one school year. The absences are excessive and could be a combination of both excused and unexcused.
Attending school between the ages of 6 and 18 is not only a basic right for every person but also a legal obligation. By law, parents are responsible for their children being in school every day during the school year. Compulsory school attendance laws provide all students of certain ages with the benefits of regular schooling, with certain expectations. Although Kindergarten attendance cannot be counted toward truancy, it is really important that we plant the seed early with students and parents/legal guardians that a kindergarten student is expected to attend every day.
Absences allowed by law (Education Code 46010 & 48290)
It is important for parents to inform the school whenever their child is absent. However, under the law, an absence is considered “excused” only for the following reasons:
- Illness: A student is too ill to attend school if he/she has a contagious condition, a temperature of over 100 degrees, documenting the student’s illness and the necessity of having the student stay at home, symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea, or written orders from a doctor to stay at home. If a child is ill five or more days, the school may require a note from a physician
- Health Quarantine
- Medical Appointment or Services
- Attending a funeral of an Immediate Family Member: Three days are allowed for out-of-state funerals, otherwise one day allowed
- Jury Duty
- Illness or Medical Appointment of the Student’s Child
- Justifiable Personal Reasons such as:
- Court appearances
- Observation of a religious holiday or ceremony
- Religious instruction release time (Education Code 46010-46014). The student shall be excused for no more than four hour school days per month
- Attendance at religious retreats for no more than four hours during a semester
- Attendance at an employment conference
Absences for most other reasons are considered unexcused, even if the parent notifies the school. For some allowed absences, the parent or legal guardian must request the absence in advance in writing, and the principal must approve it.
A student absent for reasons allowed by law may complete missed assignments or tests that can reasonably be provided and will not have his/her grade reduced or lose academic credit if the assignments or tests are satisfactorily completed within a reasonable period of time.
Please note: Whether the absence is excused or unexcused the state only provides daily funding if a student is actually at school or in Independent Study. With more funding, we can sustain more programs.
Short Term Independent Study
If a student is out of school for five consecutive days and no longer than 20 school days for an unexcused reason (e.g. funeral, personal/family-related), parents should contact the school, at least 48 hours in advance, about arranging Independent Study. A school-approved Independent Study Contract is an educational alternative and is recorded as a valid absence, but it must be approved by the principal.
Confidential Medical Services (Ed Code 40610.1)
By law, a student may be excused from school for the purpose of obtaining confidential medical information without the consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian. Otherwise, it is the practice of the San Leandro Unified School District not to release students without parental consent.
What is involved in proving the student is a ‘Habitual Truant’?
- First Truancy Letter: The student was absent from school without a valid excuse for three days (E.C. 48260) (or was tardy or absent for more than any 30 minute period during one school day without a valid excuse on each of the three days, or any combination thereof.)
- Second Truancy Notification: The student was again absent from school without a valid excuse on one or more days, or tardy on one or more days. (E.C. 48261) A S.A.R.T. (Student Attendance Review Team) meeting is held with principal, parent and student.
- Third Habitual Truant Notification: The student was again absent from school without a valid excuse on one or more days, or tardy on one or more days. (E.C.48262)
- Notification Letter of S.A.R.B. referral: Attendance has not improved and it has become necessary to refer this matter to the district School Attendance Review Board (S.A.R.B.). Student and parent are brought before the S.A.R.B. when school site and S.A.R.T. interventions have failed to generate improved behavior and attendance.