Attendance & Truancy
Students who are alert and ready to learn in school each day make the most of the learning opportunities offered. Regular attendance also contributes to school resources, because each school’s budget is based on its average daily attendance from the previous year.
Parents’ legal responsibility for attendance
Parents are legally responsible for ensuring that each child between 6 and 18 years old attends school during the entire school year. Anyone age 16 or 17 may be permitted to enroll in continuation classes. (See the Directory for Alternative Education programs.) Parents of truant students may be held civilly and criminally accountable for their children’s truancy.
Education Code Section 48200
When a child is absent from school, his or her parent must call the school each day to validate the absence. In addition, at the start of school or during middle or high school registration, parents who have not already enrolled in the automated calling system should select a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that allows them access to the system. Each evening, the system calls parents of students who were absent that day. Parents enter student information for a security match, listen to a menu of excuses, and then enter the appropriate number. The messages are offered in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian.
Parents must respond by 3 p.m. the following day for the absence to be cleared.
Absences from school are accepted only in cases of illness, quarantine, medical appointments, funeral services of an immediate family member, jury duty, and certain justifiable personal reasons. For the full text of the absence policy in Education Code 48205, including rights to make up assignments and tests, see the Appendix.
Students in grades 7–12 may be excused from school to obtain confidential medical services without the consent of their parent. Education Code Section 46010.1
Unexcused absences may affect a student’s academic standing and may result in no credit being earned for a course in middle or high school. Education Code Section 48205
Students who arrive in class after the bell has rung are considered tardy. Tardy students, especially at the secondary level, may be required to attend after-school or weekend detention. Students who are 30 minutes late without a valid excuse three or more times are considered truant. Students who regularly arrive late to school may be excluded from extracurricular activities, including proms, athletics, and graduation ceremonies. Parents will also receive a Notification of Truancy (NOT) letter in the mail from the district alerting them of their child’s truancy.
Education Code Section 40293