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Attendance & Absences

Excused Absences

 

School districts are obligated to excuse a student's absence for certain reasons, such as:

  • Observing a religious holy day that is recognized by the student's denomination as a day that must be observed by all members.
    • However, church retreats, camps, mission trips and individual religious rites (such as baptisms, christenings, bar mitzvahs, etc.) are not considered holy days.
  • Attending a required court appearance, provided that the student's name appears on the court summons.
  • Serving as an election clerk.
  • Completing paperwork required in connection with the student's application for U.S. citizenship at a governmental office.
  • Participating in a U.S. naturalization oath ceremony.
  • Sounding "Taps" at a military honors funeral held in Texas for a deceased veteran.
  • Attending a healthcare appointment, provided that the student returns to school on the same day of the appointment.
  • Visiting college campuses, for juniors and seniors.

Additionally, an absence may be excused in cases of:

  • Attending the funeral of an immediate family member.
  • Seeing a doctor for an appointment.
  • Participating in school-sponsored curricular or extracurricular activities.

Families/guardians are allowed to write up to eight (8) excused absence notes, per school year. 


Unexcused Absences

 

Reasons that are not considered acceptable excuses for absenteeism from school include:

  • Taking care of a sibling or parent
  • Non-enrollment days
    • Days the student is not in school due to changing schools
  • Traveling out of town to visit relatives or vacationing with family

Consequences for excessive unexcused absences:

Parents are held accountable for unexcused absences, even if the child is 16 years old and skips class without the parent's knowledge.

A compulsory attendance notification will be sent to the parent if a student has unexcused absences on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period or three days or parts of days without an excuse during a four-week period. Note that "parts of days" includes leaving school early or arriving after the first bell has rung, even if the child attended for some of the day.

The attendance warning letter gives the parent notice that the student has accumulated too many unexcused absences and gives the parent a chance to make corrections to the child's attendance record.
If corrections are not made, a court warning will notify the parent of the potential for a case to be filed in a justice or municipal court or for the student to be referred to juvenile court. Parents may be criminally charged or fined if their child has another unexcused absence.

90 Percent Rule:

In addition to the Compulsory Attendance Law, there is the "90 Percent Rule," which states that students must attend class for 90 percent of the time it is offered to receive credit for the class.

Please refer to Texas Education Agency Correspondence regarding the 90 Percent Rule for more information.

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