JH Student Absences and Excuses



File: JH




Regular and punctual school attendance is essential for success in school. The Shutesbury School Committee is required to provide for and enforce the attendance of all children attending Shutesbury Elementary School. Children must attend school regularly, in accordance with state law and for a number of days annually, as determined by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 76 Section 1.

According to state law, school districts should report to the District Attorney’s Office and to the Department of Children and Family Services students who are absent for more than seven full days or fourteen half days within a six-month period if the student’s absence is for reasons other than illness, religious purposes, bereavement of a family member, inclement weather or extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Principal.  The school may file a CRA (Child Requiring Assistance) report with the District Court for students with excessive absences. Tardiness or early dismissals of at least ninety (90) minutes are generally considered to be half-day absences.

In accordance with state law, attendance is not required for children who have a physical or mental condition that renders attendance inexpedient or impractical.

The school administration may request a physician's statement certifying a child’s illness for absences in excess of seven full days or fourteen half days within a six month period.

The Principal or his/her designee shall serve as the officer to oversee school attendance. At the start of each school year, the Principal shall ensure that a notice is sent to all parents and guardians instructing them of a phone number to call to report a student absence and the appropriate process to follow for reporting said absence. These instructions shall include the time of day by which to contact the school regarding an absence or late arrival. If requested by the school administrator, parents/guardians are expected to provide a written explanation for the ab­sence and/or tardiness of a child.  Where advance notice is possible, written notice is required.

The Principal will notify a student’s parent/guardian within 3 days of the student’s absence in the event the parent/guardian has not informed the school of the absence.

The Principal or designee shall make a reasonable effort to meet with any student, and that student’s parent/guardian, who has missed five (5) or more unexcused school days in a school year. The meeting shall be to develop action steps to improve student attendance and shall be developed jointly by the Principal or designee, the student, and the student’s parent/guardian. The parties may seek input from other relevant school staff and/or officials from relevant public safety, health and human service, housing, and nonprofit agencies.

Parents/guardians are responsible for ensuring that their children do not fall behind in their school work when they are absent from school.  Teachers may make a reasonable effort to provide missed assignments/instruction provided that this effort does not place an undue burden on the teacher.  In instances where arrangements are not easily established, the teacher and the student’s family shall seek guidance from the Principal. Teachers are not required to give out homework assignments prior to a family vacation.

First reading: 12-19-07

Second reading, first vote: 01-16-08

Final vote: 02-11-08

Amended: 01-15-15

Reviewed by Shutesbury Policy Committee: 04-14-16

First Reading by Shutesbury School Committee: 05-19-16

Second Reading, First Vote: 06-23-16

Final Vote: 08-25-16