One of the keys to student success is being in the classroom each and every day. As such, the State of Texas has in place laws (Texas Education Code and Texas Family Code) that require a student be in attendance each school day for the entire time instruction is provided. Two state laws, one dealing with compulsory attendance, the other with attendance for course credit, are of special interest to students and parents.
- Attendance Codes
- Compulsory Attendance Law §25.085
- Truancy Prevention Measures §25.0915
- Failure to Comply With Compulsory Attendance
- Driver License Attendance Verification (Secondary Level Only)
- Official Funding Time
- Homeschool Exemption
- Excused/Exempt Absences §25.087
- Additional District Accepted Excused Absences
- Reporting Absences
- Family Vacations
- 90% Attendance Required §25.092
- Attendance Officers
- Proof of Residency
- Family Emergencies
- Late Pick-Up/Early Morning Drop-off
A student between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school, as well as any district-required accelerated instruction program, extended year program (summer school), tutorial sessions, or disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP) assigned unless the student is otherwise legally exempted or excused.
A student who voluntary attends or enrolls at age 19 or older is required to attend school each school day.
Upon enrollment in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, a child must attend school.
A school district shall refer a parent and student (of age) to truancy court within 10 school days of the student’s 10th unexcused full or partial day absence within a six month period. School employees must investigate and report violations of the state compulsory attendance law.
Skipping: A student absent without permission from school from any class including required special programs, such as additional accelerated instruction or required tutorials, will be considered in violation of the compulsory attendance law and subject to disciplinary action.
Tardies/Late Arrivals: Please make sure your child arrives at school on time. The car drop off line can become extremely crowded in the morning. Your child is never tardy when they ride the bus. If you choose to drive your child to school, please make allowances for rainy days, long car rider lines, and traffic. Please leave your home early to avoid your child being tardy. Campuses open 45 minutes prior to school start time. Tardies will count against your child's exemplary perfect attendance. Please be on time or submit a medical note for your child at the time of arrival. Excessive unexcused late arrivals will be considered as missing part of a day for truant conduct purposes unless there is a rare, extenuating circumstance or a medical note is submitted.
Early Checkouts: Early Checkouts will count against your child's exemplary perfect attendance. Please make sure your child stays the entire instructional day. Unless the student is sent home by the nurse or a medical note is submitted upon the student’s return to school the next day, making a habit of checking out your child early for invalid reasons will be considered an unexcused partial day absence. See Policy FEA (LEGAL)
If a student accumulates 3 days or parts of days within a four week period of unexcused absences, Pearland ISD will begin to implement Truancy Prevention Measures (TPM) as required. Truancy prevention measures (TPM) are required by law to assist parents and prevent the filing with the court for compulsory attendance.
The compulsory attendance letters are automatically generated by computer at 3 unexcused days (or parts of days) in a four week period and 7 unexcused days (or parts of days) in a six month period. The letters gives the parent legal notice that their student has accumulated excessive unexcused absences. In addition, a 90% loss of credit letter will be sent when applicable. A district is required by law to notify the student’s parent the following:
- Inform the parent that:
a. It is the parent’s duty to monitor the student’s school attendance and require the student to attend school;
b. The student is subject to truancy prevention measures under Education Code 25.0915; and
- Request a conference between school officials and the parent to discuss the absences.
The fact that a parent did not receive the notices described above is not a defense for the parent’s failure to require a child to attend school nor for the student’s failure to attend school.
TPM’s may include student and parent contact made by a host of school officials such as the Teacher, Attendance Clerk, Counselor, or Administrator. A behavioral attendance contract or documented, regular counseling specific to solving attendance related issues is now required for all Jr. High and High School students. Other requirements may be Saturday School, tutorials, participation in RISE mentoring, change in class scheduling, or application/enrollment in the academic alternative school. A student or parent conference or home visit by the Attendance Officer may be appropriate in some cases as well as referrals to out-of-school counseling or other social services.
After the warning notice is issued, the truancy prevention measures have been applied with little or no success, the parent with criminal negligence fails to require the child to attend school as required by law and the student continues to miss school, the district shall file a complaint with the court. The truancy prevention facilitator for the district is Susan Holloway. If you have questions about your student and the effect of his or her absences from school, please contact the facilitator or any other campus administrator.
School employees must investigate and report violations of the state compulsory attendance law. It is important that all parents and guardians be aware of the consequences of unexcused absences from school. Under Texas Law, the student’s parent is subject to prosecution under a criminal offense Education Code §25.093 and the student between the ages of 12-18 is subject to referral to a truancy court for truant conduct as a civil matter under Family Code §65.003(a). Both parents can be charged regardless who the child lives with at the time of the offense. In addition, other adults who may be contributing to non-attendance may also be charged. The parent can be fined, in addition to other consequences the judge may assign such as parenting classes and community service. Students also have consequences the judge will assign at the time of court that include, but not limited to community service, mandatory tutorials, required summer school, counseling, removal of the ability to obtain or use a driver’s license.
For a student between the ages of 16 and 18 to obtain a driver license, written parental permission must be provided for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to access the student’s attendance records and, in certain circumstances, for a school administrator to provide the student’s attendance information to DPS. A verification of enrollment (VOE) form may be obtained from the office, which the student must submit to DPS upon application for a driver license.
State funding for Texas public schools is based on the average daily attendance (ADA) of all students. The official funding time varies for different grade levels. Although parents’ efforts are appreciated in ensuring their children are counted present for the official funding time so that the district is able to make good use of budget in providing a quality education, this is separate from the compulsory attendance law that requires students to be in attendance the entire instructional day.
A student in a home school program shall be exempt from compulsory attendance if he or she is pursuing in good faith a curriculum consisting of books, workbooks, other written materials (including those that appear on an electronic screen of either a computer or video tape monitor), or any combination of these. The curriculum shall be designed to meet basic education goals of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and a study of good citizenship. TEA v. Leeper, 893 S.W.2d 432 (Tex. 1994)
Parents may withdraw their child at the school by signing the letter of assurance or send written documentation to the school (email or letter) assuring the above criteria. Note: The date home schooling begins is now required by the Texas Education Agency in order to withdraw a child from public school. It is important to make certain that students are withdrawn and that home schooling is currently being taught in order to avoid schools counting the student absent prior to withdrawal and potentially filing truancy charges. The date that homeschooling begins should coincide with or be slightly prior to the withdrawal date.
The Texas Education Code specifies absences that are allowable and considered as “excused” or “exempt.” A student whose absence is exempt under Subsections (b)-(c) described below may not be penalized for the absence. Also, the district must allow the student a reasonable time to make up missed school work. If an absence is excused and the student successfully completes the missed school work, the student is included in average daily attendance for that day (present). These absences include:
- Observation of religious holy days
- Required court proceeding documented by a probation officer, summons, court note, or Attendance Officer verification.
- Activities related to obtaining United States citizenship: paperwork and naturalization oath ceremony.
- A visit with a parent, stepparent or legal guardian who is an active duty member and has been called to duty, is on leave or immediately returned from continuous deployment (not to exceed five days).
- Appointment with Department of Family and Protective Services participating in an activity ordered by the court or required under a service plan (foster parent note or caseworker note).
- Temporary absence resulting from an appointment with a health care professional for the student or the student’s child if the student begins classes or returns to school on the same day as the appointment and supported by a valid note. Includes dental, mental health, and health-care practitioner generally recognized providing service for persons with autism spectrum disorder, including applied behavioral analysis, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.
- Required screening, diagnosis, and treatment for Medicaid-eligible students.
Secondary Grade Levels Only
- Service as an election clerk or early voting clerk if the student notifies his or her teachers and receives approval from the principal prior to the absences and makes up any work missed (maximum two days) FEA(LOCAL).
- College visits- Junior and Senior students only. Maximum of 2 allowable days per year provided the student receives approval from the campus principal, follows the campus procedures to verify such a visit, and makes up any work missed. See board policy FEA (LOCAL).
- Students sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral (Grades 6-12 only).
- Board-approved extracurricular activity.
- Family emergency such as death in the family, hospitalizations, and other such emergencies.
- Illness Medical Note- The student has a temporary and remediable physical or mental condition that renders attendance infeasible and the student has a certificate from a qualified physician that specifies the condition, indicates the prescribed treatment, and covers the anticipated time of absence needed for receiving and recuperating from remedial treatment.
- Illness Parent Note- For the health and safety of the child and to establish situations in which absences may be classified as one for which there are extenuating circumstances, a limited amount of parent notes will be accepted. The following guidelines will be used:
- Jr. High and High School- No more than 5 parent illness notes per semester.
- Middle and Elementary- No more than 10 parent illness notes per year.
- Illnesses that extend beyond five (5) consecutive days will require a doctor's note verifying the illness or condition that caused the student’s extended absence from school. Otherwise, the student’s absence may be considered unexcused and, if so, would be considered to be in violation of compulsory attendance laws.
- Should the student develop a questionable pattern of absences, the principal or attendance committee may require a statement from a doctor or health clinic verifying the illness or condition that caused the student’s absence from school in order to determine whether the absence or absences will be excused or unexcused. The principal or attendance committee may also require a note from a doctor or health clinic verifying illness after a single day’s absence. See policy FEC (LOCAL).
- For students who have a documented acute or chronic illness, the above requirement may be adjusted as needed through Section 504 or Special Education Services. If a condition is lasting a minimum of four weeks, the student may be eligible for homebound services at the parent’s request and additional physician’s documentation.
- Administrator Excused- Seldom used; Limited number of days; Only for rare and special occasions that cannot otherwise be avoided during school time.
Parents may call the Attendance Clerk to report absences, but must also turn in the required written notification upon the student’s return. A note signed by the student, even with the parent’s permission, will not be accepted unless the student is 18 or older, is an emancipated minor under state law, or an unaccompanied homeless youth monitored by the district homeless liaison.
For more information click Online Absence Note
A note should be sent within three (3) days of the last absence. The absence will be considered unexcused if a valid note is not turned in within the timeframe. Please check Skyward often for accurate, updated attendance information and notify the campus promptly with any discrepancies. Please note that, unless the absence is for a statutorily allowed reason under compulsory attendance laws, the district is not required to excuse any absence.
Please plan family vacations during scheduled breaks as denoted on the official school calendar. Texas Statute does not allow a student to be absent from school for vacation during instructional days. All absences for vacation during the school year are UNEXCUSED.
Students are required by state law to be in attendance at least 90% of school days each year regardless of the excuse. Students who attend school regularly and participate in classroom activities have the opportunity to absorb knowledge.
Students in grades K-8 may not receive credit and may not be promoted if he/she has been in attendance fewer than 90% of the school days per year. Students in grades 9-12 who do not maintain 90% attendance in each class per semester may not be promoted or receive credit for a semester course. After absences exceed the number of days allotted the parent will be notified by letter.
A student who attends at least 75 percent but fewer than 90 percent of the days the class is offered may receive credit or a final for the class if he or she completes a plan, approved by the principal that allows the student to fulfill the instructional requirements for the class. A student may be assigned an alternative learning activity, tutorials, to maintain the attendance standards the rest of the semester, take a credit by exam test, attend Saturday School, or Summer School to ensure compliance. If a student is involved in a criminal or juvenile court proceeding, the approval of the judge presiding over the case will also be required before the student receives credit or a final grade for the class.
If a student attends less than 75 percent of the days a class is offered or has not completed the plan approved by the principal, then the student will be referred to the attendance review committee to determine whether there are extenuating circumstances for the absences and how the student can regain credit or a final grade lost because of the absences. [See policy FEC.]
When a student has excessive absences for personal illness that EXCEED five (5) consecutive days or a total of ten (10) days per year, the principal and/or attendance committee may consider this as a questionable pattern of absences and require a physician's or clinic's statement of illness after a single day's absence as a condition of classifying the absence as one for which there are extenuating circumstances. If the Medical Note Required status stands and the student continues to be absent for personal illness without providing a doctor's note, unexcused absences will begin accumulating and could result in the student receiving a compulsory attendance notification letter.
All absences, whether excused or unexcused, must be considered in determining whether a student has attended the required percentage of days. In determining whether there were extenuating circumstances for the absences, the attendance committee will use the following guidelines:
- If makeup work is completed, absences for the reasons listed above at Excused/Exempt Absences §25.087 will be considered extenuating circumstances for purposes of attendance for credit or the award of a final grade;
- A transfer or migrant student begins to accumulate absences only after he or she has enrolled in the district;
- In reaching a decision about a student’s absences, the committee will attempt to ensure that it is in the best interest of the student;
- The committee will consider the acceptability and authenticity of documented reasons for the student’s absences;
- The committee will consider whether the absences were for reasons over which the student or the student’s parent could exercise any control;
- The committee will consider the extent to which the student has completed all assignments, mastered the essential knowledge and skills and maintained passing grades in the course or subject; and
- The student or parent will be given an opportunity to present any information to the committee about the absences and to talk about ways to earn or regain credit or a final grade.
The student or parent may appeal the committee’s decision to the board by following policy FNG(LOCAL). The actual number of days a student in grades 9-12 must be in attendance in order to receive credit or a final grade will depend on the number of days in each semester.
Pearland ISD has two Attendance Officers available. They investigate possible compulsory attendance law violations, conducts home visits and student conferences, attend court, and provide other intervention services. The Attendance Officer also verifies student’s residency if in question.
Student Outreach Case Managers
The two Case Managers provide campus support by assisting in the implementation of the district’s truancy prevention plan. They collaborate with campus staff to identify at-risk students, determine factors contributing to truancy and provide intervention. Their dropout prevention efforts include conducting home visits and providing case management and support services to increase student engagement. These positions were provided through a grant through the Governor’s Office December 2017.
Excessive tardies, early checkouts, and absences may triggger a residency check.
A Pearland ISD Attendance Officer could be notified to investigate the student’s residence. When the investigation is complete, if the student does not reside in the Pearland ISD district, the student (and siblings) will be withdrawn and required to enroll in the district in which they live.
It is extremely important in case of an emergency at school that student records are accurate. A name and telephone number who can be contacted in the event the parent or guardian cannot be reached is provided at the time of registration and updated as warranted. Proof of identification will be required from anyone picking up a student from school. Again, students or parents must update records with each campus Registrar when there are any changes in address, telephone numbers (home, work, cellular, emergency), guardianship, or student’s legal name.
It is required for your child to be picked up on time by following individual campus pick-up procedures. There is no supervision available for students after school. If there is an emergency which prohibits you from picking up your child immediately after school or school activity (including tutorials), please call the school office and inform them. If you are unable to reach the school, call the Pearland Police Department at 281-997-4300 and inform the dispatcher that there has been an emergency and ask the dispatcher to notify the campus or Student Resource Officer (SRO) assigned to that campus.
In cases when a child is left after school or school activities and no contact has been made by a parent or guardian for an extended time period or a child has been left multiple times for non-emergency reasons, Pearland Police, and/or Children’s Protective Services may be called for assistance. Likewise, parents should make arrangements for childcare in the early mornings as well. No child should be left unattended on campus without adult supervision prior to teacher duty time.
In addition, a repeated action for non-emergency reasons will trigger a residency check home visit. When the investigation is complete, if a student does not reside in the Pearland ISD district, the student will be required to enroll in the district in which they live.