Policy JH: Absences

Regular and punctual school attendance is essential for academicsuccess in school. When a student is absent from class or school, thecontinuity of the instructional process is disrupted, and the benefitsof classroom instruction are lost. Parents/guardians have theresponsibility of ensuring that their children attend school daily andon time.

Students may be excused temporarily from school for the following reasons:
1. Personal illness or quarantine
2. Death or serious illness in the family
3. Religious observance or obligation
4. Urgent medical or dental treatment
5. Other exceptional reasons with the approval of the principal or his/her designee.

The school will attempt to confirm all absences of children in grades K – 12.

Students will be required to present a written note from aparent/guardian, explaining the absence and excusing the student, on theday that the student returns from an absence. If the student does notprovide a note from the parent/guardian within twenty-four hours of thestudent’s return to school, the absence will be considered "unexcused.”If the absence is for a reason other than those reasons allowed underthis policy or in the school handbook, then the absence will beconsidered “unexcused.”

The parent/guardian must also provide a written explanation for any tardiness.

Written explanations should be provided in advance for the types of absences where advance notice can be given.

Parents/guardians of students with chronic or extended illnessesshould provide a doctor’s note to one of the schools’ administrators assoon as possible, or in advance when advance notice is possible, thatspecifies the nature of the illness and the extent to which it willaffect attendance. Students who will be out of school for an extendedillness on consecutive days may be eligible for home or hospitaltutoring if the absence will extend beyond fourteen days and thesituation meets the home/hospital regulations. (603 CMR 28.03 (3) (c),28.04 (4) )

No pupil will be dismissed from school before the close of the schoolday, except in case of illness or other emergency, unless the schoolreceives written request from the parent/guardian. All cases of earlydismissal will be recorded. Students may not leave the school buildinguntil the person receiving the student has been properly identified Nostudent may leave the school grounds without permission of the principalor his/her designee.

Students who have missed school or a class are expected to make upmissed assignments, tests, and other school work. Students who know thatthey will miss school because of planned activities (including collegevisits, exchange trips, or field trips, etc.) should notify the affectedteachers in advance in order to make arrangements with the teacher formaking up work and with classmates to take class notes and recordassignments on their behalf.

The School District is required to comply with state laws on schoolattendance. Parents/guardians will be notified of unexcused absences,school tardiness, or repeated class tardiness. Students with a patternof poor attendance will be referred to the district Office of StudentServices for investigation and intervention. If a student has a patternof excessive absences (truancy), the Superintendent or his/her designeemay file a CHINS (Child in Need of Services) petition with the JuvenileCourt.

The School Committee directs the Superintendent to develop guidelinesfor the implementation of this policy and to publish these guidelinesin the appropriate handbooks. These guidelines will include proceduresto monitor student attendance, to communicate with parents/guardiansabout student attendance, and to intervene if a student has a pattern ofpoor attendance.


MGL 76:1 , 76:1A , 76:2 , 76:4 , 76:16 , 76:20603 CMR 28.03 (3) (c), 28.04 (4)


Region Voted to Approve:09/11/07
Amherst Voted to Approve:12/11/07
Pelham Voted to Approve:1/03/08
Effective Date:1/03/08