Fox Point-Bayside School District Board Policy Manual 431
Compulsory School Attendance
The Fox Point-Bayside School District encourages a strong partnership between the home, school and community. It recognizes that there is a positive relationship between good school attendance and success in school. Parents, students and school personnel must be responsible in assisting regular attendance. Any absence, including family vacations, may have a detrimental effect on the child’s education.
Wisconsin State Statutes require school attendance of a child between the ages of six to eighteen unless he/she: (1) is excused, (2) has graduated, or (3) is enrolled in an alternative education program. The law further requires that any person having under control a child between the ages of six and eighteen shall require the child to attend school regularly during the full period and hours that school is in session until the end of the school term, quarter or semester of the school year in which the child becomes 18 years of age.
It is the responsibility of the parent to provide reasons for their children’s absence. It is the responsibility of the school attendance officer to determine whether the absence is acceptable (excused) or not acceptable (unexcused/truant).
I. School Attendance Officer
- The building principal or his/her designee shall serve as the school attendance officer and shall deal with all matters relating to school attendance and truancy for his/her school.
- Attendance Accounting
- Teachers must record the daily attendance of all students under their charge.
- Each school attendance officer shall determine daily which students enrolled are absent from school and whether that absence is excused.
- Annually, on or before August 1, each school attendance officer shall determine how many students enrolled in his/her school were absent in the previous year and whether the absences were excused. This information will be submitted to the district administrator who will notify the state superintendent of the determination.
- School attendance officers may have access to information regarding attendance of any child between ages six and eighteen who is a resident of the district or who claims or is claimed to be in attendance at a private school located in the district. Private schools must keep a record of required information and have it open for inspection by the school attendance officer at all reasonable times.
II. Student Absences and Excuses
- Reporting Student Absences
- The responsibility for regular school attendance for a student is placed squarely upon the parents or other person(s) having legal custody. Except for absences as noted in The responsibility for regular school attendance for a student is placed squarely upon the parents or other person(s) having legal custody. Except for absences as noted in Section IIC below, a student who is absent from school will be readmitted to class upon proper notification by his/her parent/guardian. Proper notification consists of calling the health office by the school starting time on the day the student is going to be absent and providing the:
- date of absence,
- the anticipated number of days absent,
- the reason for the student being absent, and
- a telephone number where the parent/guardian can be reached to verify the information given.
- If the school does not receive a telephone call by its starting time, efforts will be made to reach the parent prior to noon. This procedure is necessary to verify the student’s safe arrival at school.
- A student is recorded as absent a half day if arriving at school after 10:00 a.m. Tardiness may be treated as a partial absence by the district.
- Parents are requested to submit a written excuse upon the student’s return to school following the absence.
- Excused Absences
- The school attendance officer or designee is authorized to excuse absences for the following reasons:
- illness - evidence that the student is not in proper physical or mental condition to attend school or an education program. The district may ask the parent/guardian to obtain a written statement from a physician or licensed practitioner as proof of the physical or mental condition of the student. Such excuse shall be made in writing, shall state the period of time for which it is valid and shall not exceed 30 school days;
- an emergency in the family, including attendance at the funeral of a relative or close friend, which requires the absence of the student;
- family vacations - any student excused in writing by his/her parent/guardian prior to an absence for the purpose of attending a family vacation is considered excused from school attendance. A student may be excused by the parent/guardian under this provision for not more than 10 days in the school year. Such written excuse is requested to be provided by the parent/guardian to the school not less than 5 days prior to such absence. A student so excused under such provision is required to complete assignments missed during the absence;
- necessary appointments - i.e. dental, are to be made when school is not in session whenever possible;
- religious observance;
- suspension from school;
- special circumstances that show good cause which are approved by the school attendance officer or designee.
- Verification of any of the excused absences specified above may be required by the attendance officer.
- Excessive Absence or Tardiness The parent/guardian shall be notified, either by telephone or in writing, when a student has accumulated excessive absences or tardiness. This may be done whether these incidents are excused or unexcused, unless the student is under doctor’s treatment and a written statement from a physician or licensed practitioner is on file.
- Unexcused Absences (Truancy)
- “Truancy” means any absence of part or all of one or more school days during which the school has not been notified of the legal cause of such absence by the parent/guardian of the absent student and also means intermittent attendance carried on for the purpose of defeating the intent of the compulsory attendance law.
- The parent/guardian shall be notified when a student has an unexcused absence(s). Prior to the end of the second day of an excused absence, a letter will be sent indicating the school’s concern that the student may have been truant and set a meeting to discuss the truancy matter. At that meeting the school attendance officer will notify the parent/guardian of state and local regulations concerning truancy and enlist his/her cooperation in discouraging further unexcused absences.
- Consequences for truancies (unexcused absences) shall be determined by the building principal and may include, but not be limited to, loss of school privileges, referral to district support services and/or referral to other agencies.
III. Habitual Truant
- “Habitual truant” means a student who is absent from school without an acceptable excuse for part or all of five or more days on which school is held during a school semester.
- The parent/guardian of a student who is a habitual truant shall be notified by certified or registered mail when the student initially becomes habitually truant. The notice shall include the following:
- A statement of the parent’s/guardian’s responsibilities under state law to cause the child to attend school regularly.
- A statement that the parent/guardian or child may request program or curriculum modifications for the child and that the child may be eligible for enrollment in a program for children at risk.
- A request that the parent/guardian meet with appropriate school personnel to discuss the student’s truancy. The notice must include the name of the school personnel with whom the parent/guardian should meet, a date, time and place for the meeting and the name, address and telephone number of a person to contact to arrange a different date, time or place. The date for the meeting must be within five school days after the date that the habitual truancy notice has been sent to the student’s parent/guardian. With the consent of the student’s parent/guardian, however, the date for the meeting may be extended for an additional five school days.
- A statement of the penalties under state law that may be imposed on the parent/ guardian if he/she fails to cause the child to attend school regularly as required by state law.
- The district’s truancy plan shall be followed when dealing with habitual truants. This plan shall be reviewed and, if appropriate, revised every two years consistent with state law requirements.
IV. Referral to the District Attorney
Before a referral to the district attorney may be brought against a student for habitual truancy or against his/her parent/guardian for failure to cause the student to attend school regularly, the school attendance officer must provide evidence that appropriate school personnel have, within the school year during which the truancy occurred, done all of the following:
- Met with the student’s parent/guardian to discuss the student’s truancy or attempted to meet with the student’s parent/guardian and received no response or were refused. This requirement does not apply if the meeting with the parent/guardian is not held within 10 school days after the date that the habitual truancy notice is sent.
- Provided an opportunity for educational counseling to the student to determine whether a change in the student’s curriculum would resolve the student’s truancy.
- Evaluated the student to determine whether learning problems may be a cause of the student’s truancy and, if so, has taken steps to overcome the learning problems. The student need not be evaluated if tests administered to the student within the previous year indicate that the student is performing at his/her grade level.
- Conducted an evaluation to determine whether social problems may be a cause of the student’s truancy and, if so, taken appropriate action or made appropriate referrals.
Items B, C and D above do not apply if the school attendance officer provides evidence that appropriate school personnel were unable to carry out the activity due to the student’s absences from school. The district may, as a consequence to a student’s truancy, assign the student to a detention or to a supervised, directed study program in the district.
V. Make-up Assignments/Examinations
All students with absences shall be given the opportunity to make up examinations and work missed in accordance with the guidelines outlined below.
- Excused Absences
- Students who are absent from school for reasons that are determined to be excused by the school attendance officer or designee shall be given the opportunity to make up work missed when they return to school. It is a student’s responsibility to making up work missed during an absence from school. The respective teacher shall identify the make-up work. If any question arises as to the appropriateness and/or feasibility of making up a particular assignment, the teacher shall discuss the situation with the building principal as to the extent to which make-up work and/or substitute assignments are possible.
- Students who are absent from school, with the prior written permission of their parent/guardian at least 5 school days in advance of the absence, are required to make up work missed during the absence. The student may be excused for up to 10 days within the school year with a parent’s/guardian’s written permission. The arrangements for making up course work and examinations shall be the same as for other excused absences. The student’s truancy, discipline or school achievement problems or disabilities may not be used as the reason for an excuse under this exemption.
- Examinations missed during an excused absence shall be permitted to be taken at a time mutually agreed upon by the student and the teacher, but within the number of days absent plus one day.
- Unexcused Absences (Truancy)
All students with unexcused absences shall be given the opportunity to make up work missed in accordance with the following guidelines:
- A student shall not receive a failing grade or be retained in a grade level solely because of a student’s unexcused absences from school.
- Students with unexcused absences shall be permitted to make up major examinations (unit, chapter, or grading period) missed. Examination make-up date(s) shall be determined by the administrator/teacher.
- Credit may be given for the completion of make-up work assigned. The extent to which make-up work credit can be applied shall be judged on an individual basis. Credit for make-up work can only be given after the student has satisfied the consequences imposed for unexcused absences. The building principal and respective teachers are to apply professional discretion as to make-up work assigned and the grades given.
VI. Attendance Record Sharing
- The district must provide a law enforcement agency with a copy of a student’s attendance record if the law enforcement agency certifies in writing that the student is under investigation for truancy or for allegedly committing a criminal or delinquent act. The law enforcement agency will not further disclose the student’s attendance record except as permitted by law.
- The district must provide a fire investigator with a copy of the student’s attendance record if the fire investigator certifies in writing that: 1) the student is under investigation for arson; 2) the student’s attendance record is necessary for the fire investigator to pursue his/her investigation, and 3) the fire investigator will use and further disclose the student’s attendance record only for the purpose of pursuing that investigation.
- The district must provide any representative of a law enforcement agency (district attorney, city attorney or corporation counsel, county department or court of record or municipal court) directory data information relating to any such student enrolled in the district for the purpose of, among other activities, enforcing that student’s school attendance providing the parent/guardian has been provided the required directory data notice and has not restricted the release of directory data.
- If school attendance is a condition of a student’s court disposition order, the district must notify the county department that is responsible for supervising the student within 5 days after any violation of the condition by the student.
LEGAL REF.: Sections 118.25(2) Wisconsin Statutes
CROSS REF.: 431-Exhibit - Truancy Plan
432 - Student Dismissal Precautions
433 - Released Time for Religious Instruction
APPROVED: October 8, 1974
REVISED: October 18, 1999
June 19, 2000