Ansonia Local Schools Attendance Policy
In December 2016, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 410 to encourage and support a preventative approach to excessive absences and truancy. Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, several changes take effect.
● Chronic Truant changed to Habitual Truant
● Habitual Truant referred to in number of consecutive hours instead of consecutive days
● Schools cannot suspend or expel students for missing too much school.
* HB 410 also requires the State Board of Education to adopt by July 5, 2017, a model “zero tolerance” policy for violent, disruptive or inappropriate behaviors, including excessive absences. The policy must stress preventative strategies and alternatives to suspension and expulsion and assist districts with amending or creating district policies. The Ohio Department of Education will develop guidance, resources and training materials to assist with the implementation of the new requirements by Oct. 3, 2017.
Regular attendance by all students is very important. In many cases, irregular attendance is the major reason for poor school work; therefore, all students are urged to make appointments, do personal errands, etc., outside of school hours. Parents are to notify the school before the school begins on the day of absence, to explain the nature of their child’s absence from school. You can report your child’s absence by calling the building secretary at 337-5591 (JH/SR High) or 337-5141 (Elementary) to record the information. For doctor or dentist appointments that must occur during the school day, a note from the doctor must be provided to the school’s attendance office when the student returns in order for it to be considered excused.
1. Absences Which Will Be Considered As Excusable
A. Personal Illness - If a student is absent 18 hours (3 days) for illness, the administration may request that a physician’s statement be given to the school before the absences will be considered excusable. After a student accumulates 78 hours in the MS/HS or 72 hours in the Elementary (12 days) without doctors’ excuses in one school year, any further absences will be considered unexcused unless the student returns to school with a doctor’s excuse. Any absences other than for religious holidays, college visitation days, and armed forces exams will count as 6 ½ of the 78 hours or 6 of the 72 hours (1 day); those excused by a doctor will not be counted. Exceptions can be made when the administration is contacted by the parents (in advance when possible).
B. Doctor’s Appointment - Absences from school because of a doctor’s appointment are permitted, provided a signed note is taken to the teacher or attendance officer indicating the nature of the absences.
C. Illness in the Family - A student may be excused from school for a maximum of 6 ½ hours in the MS/HS or 6 hours in the Elementary (1 day) per semester for illness in the immediate family.
D. Death of Immediate Relative - The definition of immediate relative shall include parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Students may be excused from school for a maximum of 19 ½ hours in the MS/HS or 18 hours in the Elementary (3 days) unless reasonable justification is provided by the student (or parent) for a longer absence.
E. Observance of Religious Holidays - Any child of any religious denomination may be excused if his/her absence is for the purpose of observing a religious holiday consistent with his/her creed or belief, but the definition of “religious holiday” does not include a religious conference. Excused absences in this category are not included in the limit of 78 hours or 72 hours identified in item 1.
F. Workdays - A student at the elementary level is allowed no workdays. For students over 14 years of age only, an excused absence is granted provided that the work done shall be for the student’s parents. The student must bring in a signed note from the parent explaining the date and nature of the proposed absence. This must be arranged in advance of the actual workday requested whenever possible.
G. In the cases of absences relating to the above situations, a student has the same amount of days to make up his/her work as the amount of days he/she is absent.
H. Trips and Vacations - Every attempt should be made by students and parents to schedule trips and vacations during periods of time when school is not in session. If it is impossible for the trip to be taken at any other period of time than during the period in which school is in session, the parent is to contact the school a minimum of three days prior to the trip. No student is permitted to be excused for more than 45 ½ hours in the MS/HS or 42 hours in the elementary (7 days) for trips or vacations during the school year, and work must be completed and turned in to the teacher within the number of days missed upon returning to school. However, the last five days of the school year will be considered unexcused with no make-up privileges (at the high school level, this applies to the last five days of each semester).
I. College Visitations and Applying for Jobs - Juniors and Seniors may be excused 13 hours (2 days) for the purpose of college visitations. Seniors may be excused 19 ½ hours (3 days) to apply for jobs. At the high school level, students may be excused 13 hours (2 days) to take the armed forces exam. In each instance, prior approval of the high school guidance counselor shall be obtained by the students—with said guidance counselor to make the arrangements for the student to do so.
The 13 hours or two days of college visitation and 13 hours or two days of armed forces exam will be counted as though the student were in attendance at school, as long as proper verification is provided.
2. Absences Which Will Be Considered As Unexcused
The following is a partial list of reasons for absences which will be considered as unexcused:
C. baby sitting
D. missed the bus
E. car trouble
F. leaving grounds without permission
G. working--other than for parents
H. absence from school with no excuse offered
I. the last 5 days of the school year (high school, last five days of each semester)
J. tardy – For elementary and middle school students: When a student accumulates two unexcused tardies, this will be considered as one half-day unexcused absence. Therefore, four tardies will count as one full-day absence.
K. Other absences not covered above, as determined by administration.
3. The parents should contact the school office on the first day of their child’s absence to explain the reason for the absence. Upon returning from an absence, the student is required to bring a written excuse, signed by the parent, giving the reason for the absence. It is the student's responsibility to contact his/her respective teachers for make-up work and to see that tests or incompletes are corrected as soon as possible.
Students tardy to school for the first period in the morning will report to the attendance secretary for an excuse. Teachers will handle tardiness to class. Students tardy to class from another class should get their excuse from the preceding teacher.
LEAVING SCHOOL GROUNDS
1. Under no condition are students allowed to leave the school building or the grounds without first reporting to the principal and receiving permission to leave.
2. If it is necessary for a student to leave school early before the end of the regular day, said student must bring a note from his/her parents or guardian stating the reason to be excused.
3. No student will be excused from school during school hours without a note from home, except in the case of illness.
4. If a student becomes ill at school, he/she should report the illness to the classroom teacher who shall see that assistance is provided.
5. If a student becomes ill after coming to school, this must be reported to the office so his/her parents can be notified to pick him/her up. An emergency phone number should be kept on file for each student so some near relative or friend can be contacted when parents are not available. At no time is a student permitted to leave the school grounds without the permission of the office. There are to be no exceptions to this rule without specific permission from the school office.
6. No student is permitted to leave school grounds during the lunch hour.
The Board endeavors to reduce truancy through cooperation with parents, diligence in investigating the causes of absence and use of strict guidelines in regard to tardiness and unexcused absence.
When the Board determines that a student has been truant and that the parent, guardian or other person having care of a child has failed to ensure the child’s attendance at school, State law authorizes the Board to require the parent to attend a specified educational program.
This program has been established according to the rules adopted by the State Board of Education for the purpose of encouraging parental involvement in compelling the child’s attendance at school.
On the request of the Superintendent, or when it comes to the attention of the school attendance officer or other appropriate officer of the District, the designated officer must investigate any case of supposed truancy within the District and must warn the child, if found truant, and the child’s parent in writing of the legal consequences of being a “habitual” truant.
A “habitual truant” is any child of compulsory school age who is absent without a legitimate excuse for 32 ½ or more consecutive hours in the middle/high school or 30 consecutive hours in the elementary (5 days), 45 ½ or more hours a month in the middle/high school or 42 or more hours (7 days) in one month in the elementary, or 78 or more hours in a school year in the middle/high school or 72 or more hours (12 days) in a school year in the elementary.
The parent is required to have the child attend school immediately after notification. If the parent fails to get the child to attend school, the attendance officer or other appropriate officer, if directed by the Superintendent or the Board, must send notice requiring the child’s parent to attend a parental education program.
Regarding “habitual truants,” the Board must take as an intervention strategy any appropriate action contained in Board policy.
The Board directs the administration to develop intervention strategies that include all of the following actions if applicable:
1. providing a truancy intervention plan meeting State law requirements for any student who is excessively absent from school;
2. providing counseling for a habitual truant;
3. requesting or requiring a parent having control of a habitual truant to attend parental involvement programs;
4. requesting or requiring a parent of a habitual truant to attend truancy prevention mediation programs;
5. notification to the registrar of motor vehicles or
6. taking appropriate legal action.
Excessive Absence Notice
As required by law, the district attendance officer provides notice to the parent of a student who is absent with or without excuse for 38 or more hours in one school month (6th day in the MS/HS and 7th day in the elementary) or 65 or more hours in a school year (10th day in the MS/HS and 11th day in the elementary) within 7 days after the date of the absence triggering the notice. At the time of notice, the District may take any appropriate action as outlined in this policy as an intervention strategy.
Absence Intervention Plan
Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, when a student’s absences surpass the threshold for a habitual truant, the principal or the Superintendent assigns the student to an absence intervention team within 10 days of the triggering event. The absence intervention team must be must be developed within seven school days of the triggering event and is based on the needs of the individual student. The team must include a representative from the student’s school or District, a representative from the student’s school or District who knows the student and the student’s parent or their designee, and also may include a school psychologist, counselor, social worker or representative of an agency designed to assist students and their families in reducing absences. During the seven days while developing the team, the Superintendent or principal makes at least three meaningful, good faith attempts to secure participation of the student’s parent. If the student’s parent is unresponsive the District investigates whether the failure to respond triggers mandatory reporting to the appropriate children’s services agency and instructs the absence team to develop the intervention plan without the parent.
Within 14 school days after a student is assigned to a team, the team develops a student specific intervention plan to work to reduce or eliminate further absences. The plan includes, at minimum a statement the District will file a complaint in juvenile court not later than 61 days after the date the plan is implemented if the student refuses to participate or fails to make satisfactory progress. The District makes reasonable efforts to provide the student’s parent with written notice of the plan within seven days of development.
The absence intervention plan for a student may include contacting the juvenile court to have a student informally enrolled in an alternative to adjudication. The Board directs the Superintendent to develop written procedures regarding the use of and selection process for offering these alternatives to ensure fairness.
If the student becomes habitually truant within 21 school days prior to the last day of instruction of a school year, the District may either assign a school official to work with the student’s parent to develop an intervention plan during the summer and implement the plan no later than seven days prior to the first day of instruction of the next school year, or reconvene the absence intervention process on the first day of instruction of the next school year.
Filing a Complaint with Juvenile Court
Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, the attendance officer must file a complaint against the student in juvenile court on the 61st day after implementation of the absence intervention plan when:
1. the student’s absences have surpassed the threshold for a habitual truant;
2. the District has made meaningful attempts to re-engage the student through the absence intervention plan, other intervention strategies and any offered alternatives to adjudication and
3. the student has refused to participate in or failed to make satisfactory progress on the plan or any offered intervention strategies or alternatives to adjudication as determined by the absence intervention team.
If the 61st day after intervention falls on a day during the summer months, the District may extend the implementation of the plan and delay the filing of the complaint for an additional 30 days after the first day of instruction of the next school year.
Unless the absence intervention team determines the student has made substantial progress on their absence intervention plan, the attendance officer must file a complaint against the student in juvenile court if the student is absent without legitimate excuse for 30 or more consecutive hours or 42 or more hours during a school month at any time during the implementation phase of the intervention plan or other intervention strategy.