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 Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School

Attendance & Truancy Policy

 

The purpose for a policy on attendance at the Margaret Brent Elementary is to assure that every child is safe and in school to receive a great education. Also, we will provide support and guidance to staff, students, and parents in order to increase the attendance rate at our school. We have had 93.7% for the past two years.  We are striving to meet the state goal for attendance which is 94%.  We want to reduce any habitual truancy and absences and to ensure student achievement.

 

Attendance & Truancy Policy Maryland Law

Section 7-301 of the education article requires regular school attendance of all children between the ages of 5 and 16 years of age.

Lawful absence-absence from school will be lawful under the following conditions:

·         Death in the family

·         Illness of student

·         Court summons

·         Observance of religious holiday

·         State of emergency

·         Hazardous weather conditions

·         Approved work or activity sponsored by the school

·         Suspension

·         Lack of authorized transportation

·         Other emergency or set circumstances as determined by the CEO

Unlawful absence-an absence, including absence for any portion of the day, for any reason other than those cited as lawful are presumed to be unlawful and may constitute truancy:

·         A truant student is one that is absent without lawful cause

·         A habitual truant student ages 5 to 20 during a school year was in a membership of a school for 91 or more days, and is absent for more that 20% of the time

Chronic absence-calculated by monitoring both excused and unexcused absences, Margaret Brent school will do all we can to prevent truancy and monitor your child’s attendance. It is ultimately you, the parent/guardian’s, responsibility to ensure your child gets to and from school. We will take a proactive approach to help in this aspect of attendance.

If students are constantly absent or truant from school, you may be faced to attend an attendance hearing if parents and students have to attend a hearing:

·         Will be given two weeks to improve attendance

·         Those that improve will continue to be monitored throughout the school year

·         Those that do not improve will be referred to district  Court

Parents and students that do not attend the hearing will be subject to:

·         School will be emailed a list of no shows and asked to complete a referral form

·         Referrals must be completed and returned to the Attendance Office within 5 school days.

·         Must include parent description

·         Must identify the name and contact information of school staff to serve as a court witness

·         Schools must continue efforts to get student to attend school daily

Maryland Penalties:

·         Any person who has legal custody or care and control of a child 5 years old and under 16 who fails to see that the child attends school or receives instruction under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor

·         A first conviction is subject to a fine not to exceed $50.00 per day of unlawful absence or imprisonment or both

·         A second or subsequent conviction is subject to a fine not to exceed $100 per day of unlawful absence or imprisonment, or both

 

What is Truancy?

When a student is absent from school without a valid excuse. Schools may excuse certain absences, but a student doesn't have permission to:

1. Arrive late

2. Skip class

3. Miss a whole day

4. Leave half a day

 

Truancy can have a negative effect on: students, parents, school, and the whole community.

Parents play an important role in preventing truancy. Making sure your child goes to school is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

There are many reasons for a child to be truant here are some:

In the classroom:

  • be worried about a test or handing in an assignment
  • have a negative attitude towards learning or think that school is a waste of time
  • feel out of place because they had to repeat the grade
  • have poor academic skills
  • have an undiagnosed learning disability
  • have trouble making a transition from one grade or school to another

At home: (students trying to cope with)

  • repeated moves
  • parents' separation/divorce
  • family money problems
  • a strained relationship with a parent or other family member
  • abuse or neglect
  • taking on adult responsibility/caring for siblings

With peers/friends:

  • feel isolated or unpopular
  • are afraid of bullies or gangs
  • are being sexually harassed
  • are easily influenced or feel pressure to join others who are cutting class/school

In their personal life:

·         have low self-esteem

·         want to rebel against parents or teachers

·         feel hopeless or confused about their future

·         not have good problem-solving skills

·         not know how to cope with stress

·         alcohol or drug related

·         may be dealing with a physical or mental issue

How Truancy Affects Students

Students:

·         do  poorly in school

·         quit school

·         get in trouble with the law

·         join a gang

·         use alcohol or other drugs

·         have low self-esteem

·         Lose privileges or suffer other punishments
Truancy can have negative consequences

Parents

If a parent neglects their responsibility or ignore attendance laws, they may:

  • need to take time off work to solve school and legal problems
  • face fines
  • be required to attend parenting classes or counseling programs

School

School may lose certain federal or state funds, if funding is based on attendance rates. This can affect all students in that school.

The Community

Areas with high truancy rates tend to have higher rates of crime. Law enforcement costs increase, which can result in higher taxes.

Parents play a key role in helping prevent truancy. Here's how you can help:

1.      Learn about school policies

2.      Get to know the school staff

3.      Stay in touch with the school

4.      Be firm about school attendance

5.      Ask how you can help at the school

6.      Take school warnings seriously

7.      Talk with your child

8.      Work with the school (let the staff know you want to address the problem right away)

DO YOUR PART TO PREVENT TRUANCY

A.     Learn how truancy affects children and other in the community

B.      Make sure your child attends school every day

C.   Support your child's efforts at school

D.     GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT

Margaret Brent will do all we can to prevent truancy and monitor your child's attendance. It is ultimately you, the parent/guardian's, and responsibility to ensure your child gets to and from school. We will take a proactive approach to help in this aspect of attendance.

If students are constantly absent or truant from school, you may be faced to attend an attendance hearing. If parents and students have to attend a hearing:

  • will be given two weeks to improve attendance
  • those that improve will continue to be monitored throughout the school year
  • those that do not improve will be referred to district Court