In California every child between the ages of 6 and 18 are required to attend public school full-time, unless subject to an exemption. Every parent of a child ages 6-18 is legally mandated to ensure that his/her child attends school. Our school district’s attendance policies for kindergarten students are consistent with the compulsory education laws governing school attendance for children ages 6 to 18. Although children 5 and under are not required to attend school, once they are enrolled, they are expected to attend school regularly and you must ensure their attendance. Therefore, if your kindergarten child is absent or tardy without a valid excuse, it will be counted as truancy as defined by State law.
The California Legislature defined a truant in very precise language. In summary, it states that a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant and reported to the proper school authority. This classification and referral helps emphasize the importance of school attendance and is intended to help minimize interference with instruction.
Definition of a Truant
Education Code Section 48260 (a) A pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year or tardy or absent for more than a 30 minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof, shall be classified as a truant and shall be reported to the attendance supervisor or to the superintendent of the school district.
Definition of Chronically Absent
Education Code Section 48263.6: Any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse for ten percent or more of the school days in one school year, from the date of enrollment to the current date, is deemed chronically absent, provided that the appropriate school district officer or employee has compiled with Education Codes Sections 48260, 48260.5, 48261, 48262, 48263, and 48291.
Belmont-Redwood Shores School District staff believes that every minute of a child’s time at school is important. Children who are absent for even one day, or who arrive later than their classmates, miss valuable instruction time and can easily fall behind in school. They also miss important socialization time and fun with their peers. Our pupil attendance policies include state truancy legal requirements and Intervention strategies.
1st and 2nd unexcused absence or tardy - When a student has a first or second unexcused absence or tardy in excess of 30 minutes, the school may choose to contact the parents to speak about the absence/tardy.
3rd unexcused absence or tardy - The law requires that a 1st Notification of Truancy be provided to a guardian, and reported to the attendance supervisor or superintendent. All additional truancies must be reported to them as well. The notice must include certain information required by law.
4th unexcused absence or tardy- The law requires that a 2nd Notification of Truancy be provided to the district attendance supervisor or superintendent. Guardians will also be notified. The school may choose to hold a Student Study Team Meeting with the guardian and school staff to discuss an attendance plan.
5th unexcused absence or tardy- The law requires that a 3rd Notification of Truancy be provided to the guardian. The district is required to make a conscientious effort to meet with the guardian. After the third report of truancy or if a student has irregular attendance, a student may be referred to a School Attendance Review Board (SARB), a multi-agency board that connects families with services in exchange for plan to improve attendance.
Habitually Truant- Once the school has filled the appropriate reports regarding truancy and made a conscientious effort to meet with the parent, the student is then deemed a “habitual truant”.
Chronically Truant- A student who has missed 10% or more of the school days in one school year—from the date of enrollment to the current date---due to unexcused absences is deemed a “chronic truant”.
Consequences for Truancy
If the truancy is not corrected, students will be referred to the San Mateo County School Attendance Review Board (SARB). Truancy letters are generated during the school year. For more information on excused/unexcused absence and truancy, contact the school principal.
School Attendance Review Team (SART)
SART meetings include the parent(s), Principal, Classroom Teacher, the School Attendance Review Team, and the student (middle school only). The goal of this team is to identify possible solutions to improving the students' attendance and/or behavior.
At this meeting parent(s) agree to abide by the directions of the School Attendance Review Team (SART) as outlined below:
Bring my (son/daughter) to school daily and on time.
Comply with SART’s assignments of specific parental responsibilities.
Obtain medical notes when my (son/daughter) is absent.
Pick up, or make arrangements to have picked up, my son/daughter’s homework if he/she will be out of school.
Cooperate with school officials.
Ensure my (son/daughter)’s compliance with SART directives.
Talk with my (son/daughter) in positive terms about school.
At this meeting the student agrees to abide by the directions of the School Attendance Review Team (SART) as outlined below.
Attend school regularly and on time each day.
Abide by school rules and regulations.
Obey the directions of teachers and administrators.
Complete class assignments.
Develop a positive attitude toward school.
Failure to attend this meeting with the School Attendance Review Board Chairperson will result in a referral to the district School Attendance Review Board (SARB).
Education Code Section 48263—If any minor in any district of a county is a habitual truant, or is irregular in attendance at school, as defined in this article, or is habitually insubordinate or disorderly during attendance at school, the pupil may be referred to a School Attendance Review Board.
School Attendance Review Board
School Attendance Review Board (SARB) was established by the California legislature in 1975 for the purpose of:
Making a better effort to meet the needs of students with attendance or behavior problems.
Promoting the use of alternatives to the juvenile court system.
To achieve these goals, the legislation provides for a multi-agency SARB which includes the following agencies:
Children and Family Services
Parents and/or other community representatives
Child and Welfare and Attendance Personnel
School Guidance Personnel
District Attorney's Office
The SARB Process starts with the identification of attendance and/or behavior problem followed by classroom, school site, and district level interventions. SARB is specifically charged with funding solutions to unresolved student attendance and disciplined problems by bringing together, on a regular basis, representatives of agencies that make up the board. SARB further surveys available community resources, determines the appropriateness of their services, and makes recommendations to meet the needs of referred students. SARB seeks to understand why students are experiencing attendance and behavior problems which have not been resolved.
SPECIFIED LAWS RELATED TO ATTENDANCE
Education Code, Section 48200. Students, between the ages of 6 and 18, are required to attend school full time, unless otherwise exempt.
Education Code, Section 48263. Habitually truant and habitually insubordinate students may be referred to SARB.
Education Code, Section 48292, and Penal Code, Section 272. Failure to attend school as required may result in the filing of a complaint against the parents with the District Attorney's Office.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Principal Higgins