School Attendance - Procedures - 3122-P
Students - Series 3000
School attendance is recognized as a right and responsibility of all students in the Mukilteo School District. Daily attendance is required in accordance with State law and School Board policy. Unless excused, students are expected to maintain regular attendance in each class.
Students and parent/guardians must accept responsibility for regular school attendance. School absences cause interruption of instructional activities, some of which cannot be substituted. Failure to attend school may result in loss of credit, grade reduction, removal from class, or removal from school.
WAC 392-401-020 Excused absences – Absences due to the following reasons must be excused:
- Illness, health conditions or medical appointment (including but not limited to, medical, counseling, dental, optometry, pregnancy and in-patient or out-patient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health) for the student or person for whom the student is legally responsible;
- Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family,
- Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction;
- Court, judicial proceeding, court-ordered activity, or jury service;
- Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview;
- State recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055;
- Absence directly related to the student's homeless or foster care/dependency status;
- Absence related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010;
- Absences due to suspensions, expulsions or emergency expulsions imposed pursuant to WAC 392-400 if the student is not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying "course of study" activities as defined in WAC 392-121-197;
- Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying;
- Absences due to the student's migrant status and;
- An approved activity that is consistent with District policy and is mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and a parent, guardian or emancipated youth.
A school principal or designee has the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria for an excused absence. Districts may define additional categories or criteria for excused absences.
Prearranged Absences (Parent/Guardian-Approved Absence)
Vacations or travels should not be scheduled while school is in session. If a family vacation must happen while school is in session, it must be prearranged prior to the absence and approved by the principal (or designee). The principal (or designee) may excuse up to five (5) school days for a prearranged absence per student each school year if requested at least one week prior the first absence. An absence may not be approved if it causes a serious adverse effect on the student's educational progress. The student may not be able to achieve the objectives of the unit of instruction as a result of the absence from class. In such a case, a parent/guardian-approved absence would have an adverse effect on the student's educational progress, including the grade for the course.
WAC 392-401-030 Unexcused absences - Any absence from school is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria provided in WAC 392-401-020 (listed above).
A written or oral communication from the parent/guardian or eligible student for an excused absence must be received within two (2) school days following a return to school, unless other arrangements have been made in accordance with building procedures, or the absence will be unexcused.
Check out/in Procedures During the School Day: Students who must leave school during the day must check out through the main office or student attendance office. Students will only be allowed to leave after a note or phone call is received from the parent/guardian. Students who leave without following this procedure will be considered truant. Students returning within the same day must sign in at the main office or student attendance office to avoid being marked absent for the remainder of that day.
Open/Closed Campus: All Mukilteo School District schools have closed campuses during the school day.
Required Conference for Elementary School Students
If an elementary school student has five or more excused absences in a single month during the current school year or ten or more excused absences in the current school year, the District will schedule a conference with the student and their parent/guardian(s) at a reasonably convenient time. The conference is intended to identify barriers to the student's regular attendance and to identify supports and resources so the student may regularly attend school.
The conference must include at least one School District employee, preferably a nurse, counselor, social worker, teacher or community human service provider, and may occur on the same day as the scheduled parent/guardian-teacher conference, provided it takes place within thirty days of the absences. If the student has an Individualized Education Program or a Section 504 Plan, the team that created that program must reconvene. A conference is not required if prior notice of the excused absences was provided to the District or if a doctor's note has been provided and a plan is in place to ensure the student will not fall behind in their coursework.
An "unexcused absence" means that a student has failed to attend the majority of hours or periods in an average school day, has failed to comply with a more restrictive School District policy on absences, or has failed to comply with alternative learning experience program attendance requirements.
Unexcused absences occur when:
- The parent, guardian or adult student submits an excuse that does not meet the definition of an excused absence as defined above; or
- The parent, guardian, or adult student fails to submit any type of excuse statement, whether by phone, e-mail or in writing, for an absence.
Each unexcused absence within any month of the current school year will be followed by a letter or phone call to the parent/guardian informing them of the consequences of additional unexcused absences. The school will make reasonable efforts to provide this information in a language in which that parent/guardian is fluent. A student's grade will not be affected if no graded activity is missed during such an absence.
After three unexcused absences within any month of the current school year, a conference will be held between the principal, student and parent/guardian to analyze the causes of the student's absenteeism. If a regularly scheduled parent/guardian-teacher conference is scheduled to take place within thirty days of the third unexcused absence, the District may schedule the attendance conference on the same day. If the parent/guardian does not attend the scheduled conference, the conference may be conducted with the student and principal. However, the parent/guardian will be notified of the steps to be taken to eliminate or reduce the student's absences.
At some point after the second and before the fifth unexcused absence, the District will take data-informed steps to eliminate or reduce the student's absences. In middle school and high school, these steps will include application of the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students (WARNS) or other assessment by the District's designated employee.
For any student with an existing Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan, these steps will include convening the student's IEP team or Section 504 team, including a behavior specialist or mental health specialist where appropriate, to consider the reasons for the student's absences. If necessary, and if the student's parent/guardian gives consent, the District will conduct a functional behavior assessment and will compete a detailed behavior plan to explore the function of the absence behavior.
For any student who does not have an IEP or Section 504 Plan, but who is reasonably believed to have a mental or physical disability or impairment, these steps will include informing the student's parent/guardian of the right to obtain an appropriate evaluation at no cost to the parent/guardian to determine whether the student has a disability or impairment and needs accommodations, special education services, or related services. This includes students with suspected emotional or behavioral disabilities. If the school obtains consent to conduct an evaluation, time should be allowed for the evaluation to be completed, and if the student is found to be eligible for accommodations, special education services, or related services, a plan will be developed to address the student's needs.
The District will designate a staff member to apply the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students (WARNS) and, where appropriate, provide the student with best practice or research-based interventions consistent with WARNS. As appropriate, the District will also consider:
- adjusting the student's course assignments;
- providing the student more individualized instruction;
- providing appropriate vocational courses or work experience;
- requiring the student to attend an alternative school or program;
- assisting the parent/guardian or student to obtain supplementary services; or
- referring the student to a community truancy board.
In the case of a student who transfers from one district to another during the school year, the sending district will provide to the receiving district, together with a copy of the WARNS assessment and any interventions previously provided to the student, the most recent truancy information for that student. The information will include the online or written acknowledgment by the parent/guardian and student. The sending district will use the standard choice transfer form for releasing a student to a nonresident school district for the purposes of accessing an alternative learning experience program.
Not later than a student's fifth unexcused absence in a month, the District will:
- enter into an agreement with the student and parents/guardians that establishes school attendance requirements;
- refer the student to a community truancy board; or
- file a petition to juvenile court (see below).
Community Truancy Board
A "community truancy board" means a board established pursuant to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between a juvenile court and the School District and composed of members of the local community in which the student attends school.
The District will designate and identify to the juvenile court (and update as necessary) and to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction a staff member to coordinate District efforts to address excessive absenteeism and truancy, including outreach and conferences, coordinating the MOU, establishing protocols and procedures with the court, coordinating trainings, sharing evidence-based and culturally appropriate promising practices. The District will also identify a person within each school to serve as a contact regarding excessive absenteeism and truancy and assisting in the recruitment of community truancy board members.
Not later than a student's seventh unexcused absence within any month during the current school year, or a tenth unexcused absence during the current school year, if the District's attempts to substantially reduce a student's absences have not been successful and if the student is under the age of seventeen, the District will file a petition and supporting affidavit for a civil action in juvenile court.
Petition to Juvenile Court
The petition will contain the following:
- A statement that the student has unexcused absences in the current school year. (District Note: While petitions must be filed if the student has seven or more unexcused absences within any one month, or ten or more unexcused absences in the current school year, a petition may be filed earlier. Unexcused absences accumulated in another school or school will be counted when preparing the petition);
- An attestation that actions taken by the School District have not been successful in substantially reducing the student's absences from school;
- A statement that court intervention and supervision are necessary to assist the School District to reduce the student's absences from school;
- A statement that RCW 28A.225.010 has been violated by the parent/guardian, student or parent/guardian and student;
- The student's name, date of birth, school, address, gender, race and ethnicity; and the names and addresses of the student's parents/guardians, whether the student and parent/guardian are fluent in English, whether there is an existing individualized education program (IEP) and the student's current academic status in school;
- A list of all interventions that have been attempted, a copy of any previous truancy assessment completed by the student's current school district, the history of approved best practices intervention or research-based intervention(s) previously provided to the student by the District, and a copy of the most recent truancy information document provided to the parent/guardian.
- Facts that support the above allegations.
Petitions may be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, but if such service is unsuccessful, personal service is required. At the District's choice, it may be represented by a person who is not an attorney at hearings related to truancy petitions.
If the allegations in the petition are established by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall grant the petition and enter an order assuming jurisdiction to intervene for a period of time determined by the court, after considering the fats alleged in the petition and the circumstances of the student, to most likely cause the student to return to and remain in school while the student is subject to the court's jurisdiction.
If the court assumes jurisdiction, the School District will periodically report to the court any additional unexcused absences by the student, actions taken by the School District, and an update on the student's academic status in school at a schedule specified by the court. The first report must be received no later than three (3) months from the date that the court assumes jurisdiction.
All sanctions imposed for failure to comply with the attendance policies and procedures will be implemented in conformance with State and District regulations regarding discipline or corrective action.
June 8, 1998
February 22, 1999
September 20, 2007
March 26, 2009
September 13, 2016
September 7, 2018
August 6, 2019