Importance of Attendance

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MISD kids

These guidelines are written to inform parents and educators in the McKinney Independent School District about state laws concerning compulsory attendance. Please keep in mind that this summarizes the relevant laws and policies regarding attendance, and that all school districts have their own methods of handling problems within the framework of those laws.

Please contact your campus principal or attendance personnel for specific or unique questions pertaining to attendance laws.

Importance of Attendance

What can I do?
Value education and give it high priority in your family! Convey a positive attitude about school and treat going to school as part of the normal course of events, something that is expected of your child. Let him know that school is the most important thing in his life at this time, and that his future job opportunities will depend on how well he handles his present “job” (school). Help him develop good study and work habits and praise him when he is successful. Get to know your child’s friends as they have more influence with him at this time in his life than you do. Get personally involved in school activities, go to sporting events, attend plays and concerts, join the PTA/PTO, volunteer, read the school paper. Know what’s going on at school.
What is the Compulsory Attendance Law in Texas?
A child who is at least six years of age, or who is younger than six years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached the child’s 18th birthday, shall attend school. On enrollment in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, a child shall attend school. (Texas Education Code Sec. 25.085)
Are there exemptions to the Law?
Yes! The following classes of children are exempt from the requirements of compulsory attendance: (Texas Education Code Sec. 25.086)
  1. any child enrolled in a private or parochial school;
  2. is eligible to participate in a school district’s special education program under Section 29.003 and cannot be appropriately served by the resident district;
  3. has a physical of mental condition of a temporary and remediable nature that makes the child’s attendance infeasible and holds a certificate from a qualified physician specifying the temporary condition, and covering the anticipated period of the child’s absence from school for the purpose of receiving and recuperating from the remedial treatment;
  4. is expelled in accordance with the requirements of law in a school district that does not participate in a mandatory juvenile justice alternative education program under Section 37.011;
  5. s at least 16 years of age and:
    1. is attending a course of instruction to prepare for the high school equivalency, (GED), and
      1. has permission of the child’s parent or guardian to attend the course
      2. is required by court order to attend the course;
      3. has established a residence separate and apart from the child’s parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control of the child, or
      4. is homeless as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302; or
    2. has received a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate;
  6. is enrolled in a Job Corps training program under 29 U.S.C. Section 2881;
  7. is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science;
  8. is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at The University of Texas at Brownsville
  9. is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities; or
  10. is specifically exempted under another law.
What about religious holy days?
If your child is not properly excused from attendance and you fail to keep him in school for the period specified by law, you will be warned, in writing, that attendance is immediately required. If, after this warning, you intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fail to require the child to attend school, you have committed an offense. This offense may result in the filing of a complaint against you in the Justice of the Peace Court of your resident precinct and other local courts, for engaging in the conduct described in Section 51.013 (b) (2), Family Code. (Texas Education Code Sec. 25.093)
What are the penalties for this?
Each day the child remains out of school after the warning has been given, or the child has been ordered to attend school by the juvenile court, may constitute a separate offense. If the court probates the sentence, the court may assign terms and conditions of probation including, but not limited to, requiring the defendant to render personal services to a charitable or educational institution as a condition of probation. The court may order the defendant to attend counseling and/or a special program for parents of students with unexcused absences that provides instruction designed to assist them (the parents) in identifying problems that contribute to the student’s unauthorized absences and in developing strategies for resolving those problems. The court may also order that the parent and/or student pay a fine. (Refer to Texas Education Code Sec. 25.093)
Can my child lose credit for being absent?
Tardiness disrupts class and creates a disturbance to the instructional process. Tardies are considered an absence for the purpose of compulsory attendance. Students must be in their assigned seats when the tardy bell rings.
ELEMENTARY:

Students are considered tardy after the 8:00 AM bell. Students tardy to school must report to the office for a tardy pass to class. Students that arrive after 8:00 AM (door lock) must be signed in by a parent. Discipline for tardies will be determined by the campus (i.e. Parent conferences, Detentions, Friday School, In-School suspension)

SECONDARY:
A student is considered tardy when he/she is not in the classroom when the tardy bell rings. Discipline for tardies will be determined by the campus (i.e. Parent conferences, Detentions, Friday School, In-School suspension)
All SCHOOLS:
Students that are habitually tardy (20 -30 minutes) to school before the start of school tardy bell may be filed on for failure to attend school or the parent may be filed on for thwarting compulsory attendance. Chapter 25.094(2) of the Texas Education Code states that failure to attend school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period have committed an offense and are in violation of the state compulsory attendance codes.
What if my child refuses to attend school?

It is well known that the adolescent years are particularly stressful years for students, and making the move from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school can bring about behaviors that were not present before. However please be aware that the MISD is bound by law as well as a commitment to the child to strictly follow the compulsory state attendance laws and will file a truancy complaint with the municipal court in McKinney, Texas after the fourth (4th) unexcused absence your child has within a 4-week period or after the 10th absence within a 6-month period. Truancy and other forms of chronic school absenteeism may be symptoms of more serious problems such as poor self-image, depression, inability to make new friends, drug and alcohol problems, negative peer pressure, abuse, poor academic skills, and family and financial difficulties. When any of these or similar symptoms appear, you can help by immediately taking one or more of the following actions:

  1. Check report cards for absences, low conduct marks and grades;
  2. Call the school if you think your child has been skipping school or has been truant;
  3. If the school calls you, DO NOT COVER UP to get your student off the hook. You are only teaching them that there are no consequences for breaking rules.

Remember that teenagers need parents who care enough to enforce rules and are available to provide help when it's needed.