Attendance to school is essential to each child's success. When a child is not present, s/he is missing essential lessons, which scaffold or build on skills and concepts already learned.
Parents want their children to do well in school, but many do not fully understand the connection between lack of school attendance and a student’s success in learning essential skills and concepts.
STATE LAWS ON SCHOOL ATTENDANCE
The State of NH mandates school attendance and the responsibility of the parents/guardians to ensure regular school attendance in Chapter 193 of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated: Effective August, 28 2017
193:1 Duty of Parent; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil.
I. A parent of any child at least six years of age and under 16 years of age shall cause such child to attend the public school to which the child is assigned in the child's resident district. Such child shall attend full time when such school is in session unless:
A. The child is attending a public school outside the district to which the child is assigned or an approved private school for the same time;
B. The child is receiving home education; or
C. The relevant school district superintendent has excused a child from attendance because the child is physically or mentally unable to attend school, or has been temporarily excused upon the request of the parent for purposes agreed upon by the school authorities and the parent. Such excused absences shall not be permitted if they cause a serious adverse effect upon the student"s educational progress. Students excused for such temporary absences may be claimed as full-time pupils for purposes of calculating state aid under RSA 186-C:18 and RSA 198:27-37.
II. A child who reaches their sixth birthday after September 30 shall not be required to attend school under the provisions of this section until the following year.
III. In this section, "parent” means a parent, guardian, or person having legal custody of a child.
III. Any child at least 16 years of age and under 18 years of age who wishes to terminate such child’s public or non-public education prior to graduating from high school shall do so only after a conference with the principal or designee. The principal shall request a conference with the parent, guardian, or other custodian. Written approval of withdrawal must be received from such child’s parent, guardian, or other person residing in the state and having custody or charge of such child at least 60 days prior to withdrawal. However, a waiver to the 60-day notice requirement may be granted at the discretion of the school board. The written approval shall be dated and the signature witnessed by the principal of the school where the child is in attendance, or the principal’s designee.
A. An accurate and comprehensive attendance record will be kept on every student. Any high school or middle school student who misses 9 or more non-exempt classes per semester will lose credit for that course. In grades K-4. Nine or more non-exempt days per semester could result in retention at grade level. Each teacher is responsible for reporting the daily attendance on each student to the main office. The building principal is responsible for submitting attendance information to the Superintendent's Office on such forms and in such a manner as requested by the superintendent.
B. There are three kinds of absences: excused, unexcused, and exempted.
Excused absences include illness, dental and medical appointments only if such appointments cannot be made after school hours or other extenuating circumstances deemed acceptable by the principal. A note from the parent/guardian will be immediately required (within two days) upon return to school. Parents/guardians are encouraged to plan activities around the school calendar because this is the least disruptive to the student's education.
Unexcused absences are considered truancy and can be the result of a student missing school without the knowledge of parents/guardians, and/or the permission of school administration.
a. Approved college visits.
b. Personal time requests, such as vacation with parents/guardians when pre-approved. Parents/guardians will make personal time requests in writing or via telephone to the school administration at least one week prior to the personal leave. If the request is made by telephone, the parents/guardians must follow up with a written request.
c. Funeral leave.
d. Absences due to a chronic or acute illness of two or more days. A doctor's note will be immediately required (within two days) upon return to school.
e. Required court appearances with appropriate documentation.
f. Religious observances pre-approved by administration.
g. Students missing school for school sponsored athletic trips, field trips or other school related activities.
C. The following will happen in cases of excessive absence from school:
Five excused/unexcused absences in one semester - a notice will be sent to the parent/guardian.
Nine excused/unexcused absences in one semester – the filing of a truancy petition will be considered by administration. This will result in a loss of credit for the semester in courses at the middle school and high school, and possible retention in grades K-4.
D. Credit for make up work will be permitted for excused absences but not for unexcused absences. Make up work for excused absences must be completed within two days for each day absent and will receive full credit.
E. It is the parent's/guardian's responsibility to call the school by 8:15 AM when their student is going to be absent for that day. In the event that the parents/guardians do not call the school, the school will attempt to notify each student's parents/guardians by telephone or mail. It may be necessary to notify the parent's/guardian's place of employment.
F. Tardies (late to class) will be counted against the student's allotted absences in that class. Three tardies will result in one absence. Tardies of more than 15 minutes will be recorded as an absence.
G. Students not attending school before 11:00 AM or who are dismissed because of illness are ineligible for participation in any after school activities or sports for that day.
H. For all special needs and disabled students, the rules, regulations and guidelines outlined by federal and state statute will be followed when applying consequences for non-attendance.
I. For each absence and tardy, a written statement, signed by the parents/guardians and specifying the reason and the date that school was missed, will be presented to the office at the time of arrival. Each building principal is responsible for monitoring this provision.
J. Attendance Appeal Committee: When a student exceeds the allotted number of days in any semester, then he/she has a right to ask for an appeal hearing within one week of being notified. It will be heard by the Attendance Appeal Committee. That committee will consist of the principal, the assistant principal, a guidance counselor, and a teacher. Appeals may be based only on whether an absence was incorrectly categorized, i.e. whether any excused/unexcused absences qualify for exemption.
K. Reinstatement of credits: A student who has earned a passing grade but lost credits for a semester due to excessive absences will have the opportunity to regain those credits the following semester. In order to regain the lost credits the student must attend school every day during the semester unless excused with a doctor’s note. In order to qualify for reinstatement of credits, the student’s petition will be reviewed by the Attendance Appeal Committee and the student will sign the Attendance Contract.