The Lyme School •  Lyme, New Hampshire
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Lyme School Board

Policy Manual

Policy: JH
Attendance. Absenteeism, and Truancy

A. Attendance and Absenteeism

1. In General

Students between the ages of 6 and 18 enrolled in the district are required to attend school in accordance with all applicable state laws and Board policies. The educational program offered by the District is predicated upon the presence of the student and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation in order for the student to achieve academic standards and consistent educational progress.

Attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in the District during the days and hours that school is in session, except that the Principal may excuse a student for temporary absence after receiving satisfactory evidence of a situation or condition that may reasonably cause the student’s absence.

2. Excused Absences

Reasons for excused absences include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Illness of student or illness of an immediate family member
b. Extreme weather conditions
c. Recovery from an accident
d. Death in the immediate family
e. Religious holiday of the student’s faith
f. Required court appearance or subpoena
g. Medical or Dental appointments unable to be scheduled outside of school hours
h. Such other good cause as approved by the Principal or permitted by law.

Any absence that has not been excused for any of these reasons will be considered an unexcused absence.

3. Notification of Absence

In the event of an illness, the parent or guardian shall call the School and inform the District of the student’s illness and absence from school. For other absences, the parent/guardian shall provide written notice or a written excuse that states the reason for non-attendance. The Principal may require parents to provide additional documentation in support of their written notice.

If the parent/guardian wishes for their child to be absent for a reason not listed above, he/she must provide a written explanation of the reason for such absence, including why the student will be absent and for how long the student will be absent. The Principal will make a determination as to whether the stated reason for the student’s absence will maintain the progress and continuity of the child’s education and will notify the parent/guardian of his/her decision. The parent/guardian has the right to appeal the decision to the Superintendent. If the parent/guardian is still not satisfied with the decision of the Superintendent, an appeal may be made to the School Board where a final determination will be made.

4, Family Vacations/Educational Opportunities

Absences other than for illness during the school year are discouraged. The school Principal may, however, grant special approval of absence for family vacations. The parent/guardian shall notify the Principal in writing two weeks in advance of any absence exceeding three consecutive school days. Faculty receiving notification of such absences shall refer the request to the Principal. This advance planning will allow the teacher sufficient time to work with the parents and the student regarding homework completion.

B. Truancy

1. In General

Truancy is defined as any unexcused absence from class or school. Any absence that has not been excused for any of the reasons listed above will be considered an unexcused absence.

Ten half-days of unexcused absence during a school year constitutes habitual truancy.

A half-day absence is defined as a student missing more than two hours of instructional time and less then three and one-half hours of instructional time in a day.

Any absence of more than three and one-half hours of instructional time shall be considered a full-day absence.

The Lyme Chief of Police is hereby designated as Truant Officer for the District and shall, when directed by the Superintendent, enforce the laws and regulations relating to truants.

2. Intervention Process to Address Truancy

a. The Principal shall ensure that the administrative guidelines on attendance properly address the matter of truancy by including a process that identifies students who are habitually truant, as defined above.

b. When the Principal identifies a student who is habitually truant or who is in danger of becoming habitually truant, he/she shall commence an intervention with the student, the student’s parent/guardian, and other staff members as may be deemed necessary. The intervention shall include processes including, but not limited to:

1) Investigation of the cause(s) of the student’s truant behavior;
2) Considering, when appropriate, modification of his/her educational program to meet particular needs that may be causing the truancy;
3) Involving the parent/guardian in the development of a plan designed to reduce the incidence of truancy.
3. Parental Involvement in Truancy Intervention

When a student reaches habitual truancy status or is in danger of reaching habitual truancy status, the Superintendent will send the parent/guardian a letter which includes:

a. A statement that the student has become or is in danger of becoming habitually truant;
b. A statement of the parent/guardian’s responsibility to ensure that the student attends school; and
c. A request for a meeting between the parent/guardian and the Principal to discuss the student’s truancy and to develop a plan for addressing the student’s truancy.

4. Developing and Coordinating Strategies for Truancy Reduction

The Board encourages the School to pursue truancy-prevention and truancy-reduction strategies such as early identification of truancy through a quarterly review and assessment and prompt notification of absences to parents; assisting school staff to develop site attendance plans by providing development strategies, resources and referral procedures; considering the adoption of attendance-incentive programs at the school and in individual classrooms that reward and celebrate good attendance.

These guidelines shall be advisory only. The Superintendent is authorized to develop and utilize other means, guidelines and programs aimed at preventing and reducing truancy.  For any student who is habitually truant, the Superintendent, Principal, teacher(s) of the student, and a representative from the Board, may review the student’s academic progress and consider retention of the student at the end of the school year. 

5. Parental Notification of Truancy Policy

Prior to adopting this policy, the Board will place the item on the agenda of a public school board meeting and will allow two weeks for public input as to the policy’s provisions. Any public input shall be advisory only and final adoption as to the policy’s provisions will remain solely with the board.

Additionally, the Superintendent shall also ensure that this policy is included in or referenced in the student handbook.

Approved:  6/8/89
Revised:  5/25/00; 11/18/10; 2/7/13