ATTENDANCE and ABSENCES
Absenteeism and the Massachusetts General Laws
The parents or guardians of each pupil shall, annually, at the commencement of each school year, be sent a notice instructing them to call a designated telephone number at a designated time to inform the school of the absence of a pupil and the reason therefore. Said notice shall also require such parent or guardian to furnish the school with a home, work or other emergency telephone number where they can be contacted during the school day. If a pupil is absent and the school has not been notified by the designated time, the school shall call the telephone number or numbers furnished to inquire about said absence. (Massachusetts General Law Title XII, Chapter 76, Section 1A)
Classification Of Absences In The Tewksbury Public Schools K-8
Exempt Absence: When a student is absent for a court appearance (court documentation required), religious observance or funeral (parent/guardian call required), or documented medical reasons (notes and/or receipts required), then the student’s absence is classified as excused or “exempt”. An exempt absence does not count toward the total number of accumulated absences.
(Aspen Code: E – with Reason from drop down menu)
Absent Confirmed: For an absence to be confirmed, a parent/guardian must call the child’s school on the morning of the absence or the student must present a note from a parent/guardian upon his or her return to school. It is considered an unexcused absence unless it satisfies one of the reasons listed above. An “absent confirmed” still counts toward the total number of accumulated unexcused absences. (Aspen Code: AC)
Absent (Truant): When a student is absent from school and no phone call or note has been received from a parent/guardian verifying the absence, the student’s absence is classified as unexcused or truant. This type of absence or truancy also counts toward the total number of accumulated unexcused absences. (Aspen Code: A)
Attendance Protocol in the Tewksbury Public Schools:
- Following the fifth (5th) unexcused absence, a letter will be sent home to parents or guardians notifying them of their child’s attendance and a copy of the letter will be placed in the student’s file.
- Following unexcused absences of seven (7) full days or fourteen (14) half-days within any period of six (6) months, a supervisor of attendance may choose to file a “failure to send” complaint in the juvenile court. (Massachusetts General Law Title XII, Chapter 76, Section 2)
- Following the twelfth (12th) unexcused absence, a second letter will be sent home to the parents/guardians notifying them of their child’s attendance and a copy will be placed in the student’s file. Parents/guardians may be asked to meet with school administration and/or guidance department at this time.
- Between twelve to fifteen (12-15) absences the Attendance Officer may make phone contact or visit the home of the parent/guardians.
- Following the eighth (8th) unexcused absence in one quarter, the Principal or designee may choose to file a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) in the juvenile court to support the student in attending school. (Massachusetts General Law Title XVII, Chapter 119, Section 39 E&G)
A student is “truant” when he/she is absent without the permission of his/her parents or guardian, such as when a student:
∙ Leaves school without being signed out by the Nurse’s Office or by the Main Office staff;
∙ Is absent from school without prior permission from his/her parents or guardian;
∙ Does not report to class (skip class);
∙ Obtains a pass to go somewhere in the building and does not report there;
∙ Becomes ill and goes home or stays in the restroom without permission;
∙ Reports to school but does not attend classes.
A student must make up all work missed during an unexcused absence. The student’s parents or guardian must accompany the student to a conference before he/she can be readmitted to the school. Disciplinary action may include, but not be limited to, an afternoon session, suspension, expulsion or legal action.
The Tewksbury Public School policy expects that a student will be excused from school for vacation purposes only during scheduled school district vacation periods. Elementary learning is foundational…families are encouraged to have their child(ren) in school every day it is in session.