FEA(LOCAL) - ATTENDANCE: COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE
Students in violation of the compulsory attendance law shall be reported to the District attendance officer, who may institute court action as provided by law.
Definitions used in this policy are as follows:
- "Student" shall mean any person enrolled in the District.
- "Parent" shall mean a person who is the natural or adoptive parent of a person. As used herein, "parent" shall also include a court-appointed guardian or other person 18 years of age or older, authorized by the parent, by a court order, or by the court-appointed guardian to have the care and custody of a person.
- "Guardian" shall mean any person to whom custody of a minor has been given by a court order.
- "Emergency" shall include but not be limited to fire, natural disaster, an automobile accident, or obtaining immediate medical care for another person.
- "Public places" means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops. Public places do not include school areas where a student is authorized to be.
A student shall not purposefully remain, walk, run, stand, drive, or ride about in or upon any public place between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday on regularly scheduled school days.
A parent or guardian having legal custody of a student shall not knowingly allow or permit the student to be in violation of this policy.
It is a defense and the student shall be exempt from any penalty if the:
- Student was accompanied by his or her parent/guardian;
- Student was on emergency errand;
- Student was engaged in a lawful school activity/program or was going to or coming from this lawful activity without detour or stop;
- Offense occurred during the scheduled vacation of or on a holiday observed by the school in which the student was enrolled.
- Student had permission from an authorized school official to be absent from school or to be in a public place.
- Student is exempted from compulsory attendance. [See FEA (LEGAL)] These exemptions are incorporated herein by reference.
Penalty and Enforcement
A person violating the provisions of this policy shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor and the court may impose a fine up to $500. [Education Code Section 37.102(a)] Citations will be processed and judgment made by the Justice of the Court Precinct 1.
In addition to excused absences required by law, the District shall excuse absences for the following purposes. A student shall be required to submit verification of these absences in accordance with administrative regulations.
Higher Education Visits
The District shall excuse a student for up to two days during the student's junior year and up to two days during the student's senior year to visit an accredited institution of higher education.
Armed Services Enlistment
The District shall excuse a student 17 years of age or older for up to four days during a student's enrollment in high school for activities related to pursuing enlistment in a branch of the U.S. Armed Services or Texas National Guard.
Early Voting or Election Clerk
The District shall excuse a student for up to two days per school year to serve as an early voting or election clerk.
Learner or Driver's License
The District shall excuse a student 15 years of age or older for one day during the student's enrollment in high school for each of the following:
- Visiting a driver's license office to obtain a learner license; or
- Visiting a driver's license office to obtain a driver's license.
[For extracurricular activity absences, see FM.]
Withdrawal for Nonattendance
The District may initiate withdrawal of a student under the age of 19 for nonattendance under the following conditions:
- The student has been absent ten consecutive school days; and
- Repeated efforts by the attendance officer and/or principal to locate the student have been unsuccessful.
[For District-initiated withdrawal of students 19 or older, see FEA(LEGAL).]
Students Attending Homeschools
Students who are homeschooled are exempt from the compulsory attendance law to the same extent as students enrolled in other private schools.
Adequate documentation of homeschooling for withdrawal shall consist of either a statement of withdrawal in accordance with FD(LOCAL) indicating the date homeschooling began, or a signed and dated letter from a parent or guardian indicating that his or her child is being homeschooled and the date the homeschooling began.
The District may request from a parent or guardian a letter of assurance that a child is being educated using a curriculum designed to meet basic education goals of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and a study of good citizenship.
Enforcing Compulsory Attendance
If a parent or guardian refuses to submit a requested statement or letter, or if the District has evidence that a school-aged child is not being homeschooled within legal requirements, the District may investigate further and, if warranted, shall pursue legal action to enforce the compulsory attendance law.