Framework (What’s Required):
Students who are at least six years of age, or who have been previously enrolled in first grade, and who have not yet reached their 19th birthday shall attend school for the entire period the program is offered, unless exempted as indicated below. On enrollment in prekindergarten or kindergarten, a student shall attend school. Education Code 25.085(a)–(c)
A person who voluntarily enrolls in school or voluntarily attends school after the person’s 19th birthday shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is offered. A board may adopt a policy requiring the student who is under 21 years of age to attend school until the end of the school year. Education Code 25.085(e)–(h)
A district shall excuse a student from attending school for the following purposes. Education Code 25.087(b)(2), (b-3):
Temporary absence resulting from an appointment with a health-care professional for the student or the student’s child if the student commences classes or returns to school on the same day of the appointment. The appointment must be supported by a document such as a note from the health-care professional. “Temporary absence” includes the temporary absence of a student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder on the day of the student’s appointment with a health-care practitioner to receive a generally recognized service for persons with autism spectrum disorder, including applied behavioral analysis, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.
Absences directly related to a student's disability would be considered excused regardless of how they might be classified for a student without disabilities. For example, if a student with an emotional disability is truant from class and that truancy is directly related to the student's emotional disability, the absence from class would be considered excused. Principals are to take into consideration a student's disability and its relationship to the student's absences in determining whether or not to excuse the absences. The ARD/IEP committee must meet to determine appropriate options/services to reduce student absences. (2017 School Guidelines, XVI - Attendance Accounting Guidelines)
A student whose absence is excused for a reason described beginning at Excused Absences for Compulsory Attendance Determinations, above, may not be penalized for that absence.
The District may initiate withdrawal of a student under the age of 19 for nonattendance under the following conditions:0)
- The student has been absent ten consecutive school days; and
- Repeated efforts by the attendance officer and/or principal to locate the student have been unsuccessful.
An Admission, Review, Dismissal/Individualized Education Program (ARD/IEP) Committee meeting is required for students with disabilities who are being considered for withdrawal from school due to nonattendance. The ARD/IEP committee should determine whether an evaluation or re-evaluation is needed, and revise the IEP to include strategies to target chronic absences.
If the interventions developed by the ARD/IEP committee and truancy prevention measures fail to meaningfully address the student’s conduct, the student may be referred to truancy court. Each referral to truancy court must specify whether the student is eligible for or receives special education services and must be accompanied by a statement from the student’s school certifying that the school applied the truancy prevention measures, including the holding of an ARD/IEP committee meeting, and the measures failed to meaningfully address the student’s school attendance.
[For District-initiated withdrawal of students age 19 or older, see FEA(LEGAL).]
Methods (What We Do):
Attendance should be considered and addressed in a student’s IEP
- Students with disabilities must have available an instructional day commensurate with that of students without disabilities
- The student’s ARD/IEP committee must determine the appropriate instructional setting and length of day for the student and include in the student’s IEP.
- When developing an IEP for a student with a disability who has recurring absences resulting from receiving treatment from a health care professional, the ARD committee’s considerations may include the following:
- how the ongoing treatment for which the student will be absent is related to the student’s disability;
- how the recurring absences may impact the student’s educational program needs and progress on IEP
- how the student will make-up missed assignments
- A student is considered chronically absent if they miss two or more days a month. That includes unexcused and excused absences.
- Chronic truancy must be addressed in a student’s ARD/IEP.
- The IEP must document truancy intervention measures provided, such as:
- Student/parent conferences
- Home visits
- Counseling/case worker
- Behavior improvement plan
- Additional evaluations
- An ARD/IEP Committee meeting is required for students with disabilities who are being considered for withdrawal from school due to non-attendance. The ARD/IEP Committee should review the reasons for non-attendance and needed special education and related services. The ARD/IEP committee should not make a recommendation to withdraw the student.
- The ARD/IEP Committee should review whether there is any special education or disability-related reason the student is not attending, or if there is any additional support needed in order to remedy the student’s attendance.
- The ARD/IEP committee should determine if an evaluation or reevaluation is needed, and revise the IEP to include strategies to target chronic absences.
- If the ARD/IEP Committee determines that the placement of the student is appropriate; the absences are not due to the student’s disability; and attendance referrals have been investigated by the attendance specialist or other person assigned to address attendance issues and the measures have not meaningfully addressed the non-attendance, then the student may be administratively withdrawn.
- Schools should send a letter to the parent/adult student to inform them that they have been withdrawn, and give them the option to re-enroll.
- The authority to revoke enrollment does not override the district's responsibility to provide a free appropriate public education to a student who is eligible for special education services.