Every parent, guardian, or other person having control of a child between the ages of 5 and 16 is required to send such child to school. School attendance is mandated by statute and by laws and regulations of the State Board of Education. The Student Attendance Policy of the Colonial School District Board of Education establishes specific regulations related to attendance.
The chief school officer of the local school district is responsible for enforcing the attendance laws of the state and is the person who may excuse a child for necessary and legal absence, subject to the provisions of the Delaware Code (Title 14).
The following are considered necessary and legal excused absences and may not be used to file truancy charges:
- Illness of the student
- Medical diagnosis and/or treatment
- Death in the immediate family; funerals of other relatives or close friends, not to exceed one day if in the locality or three days if outside the state
- Contagious disease in the home of the child subject to regulations of the Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Social Services
- Legal business requiring the student’s presence
- Suspension or expulsion from school
- Observance of religious holidays
- Approved college visits
- Authorized school-sponsored activities
- In addition, the Superintendent or designee shall have the authority to approve other absences.
Absences for other reasons are classified as “unexcused.”
A student enrolled in grades PK through 12 inclusive is considered truant if such a student has been absent from school without valid excuse, as defined in Rules and Regulations of the State Board of Education, for more than three (3) days or the equivalent thereof during a given school year. Schools will take action regarding unexcused absences including, but not limited to, written communications, home visits, required parent/guardian conferences, and referral of the parent for prosecution. 26
Parents/guardians who allow their children to be truant are subject to the following penalties as described by State Law:
- First offense fine of $25 to $300 or imprisonment for up to 10 days or both
- Second offense fine of $50 to $500 or imprisonment for up to 20 days or both
- Third offense fine of $230 to $1,150 or imprisonment for up to 30 days or both
A parent may be ordered to perform unpaid community service in lieu of a fine. If imprisoned, the court may impose conditions of release.
Penalties may include community service, counseling, curfew, suspension or revocation of driver’s permit or hunting license, prohibition of participation in extracurricular activities or school social events or recommendation that the student enroll in an alternative school.
ANY PUPIL 16 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER WHO IS TRUANT ON MORE THAN THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS DURING ONE SCHOOL YEAR MAY BE EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION.
THE SCHOOL, IN ADMINISTERING THE STATE POLICY, DEFINES THE MOST COMMONLY USED ATTENDANCE TERMS AS FOLLOWS:
An excused absence from school or class is an absence for one of the reasons listed above and for which the required parental note of explanation has been presented on the first or second day of the student’s return to school or class. Following a valid excused absence, the student will be allowed to make up all work missed, to take tests which were missed, and to submit any assignments which became due during the absence. Following an excused absence from school or class, the time allowance for taking tests or turning in assignments shall be equal to the number of school days or number of class meetings missed due to the absence. A teacher may extend the time allowance for making up work missed if the specific circumstances of the situation merit such action. The responsibility for initiating make-up work and turning in assignments rests with the student. 27
An unexcused absence from school or class is an absence
- Which is for a reason not listed as excused, including early dismissals without necessary or legal documentation;
- About which the parent has no knowledge;
- For which the parental note of explanation was not provided on the student’s first or second day of return to school following the absence; and
Students suspended for periods of one to five (1-5) school days are permitted to make up missed school work in the length of time equal to the number of days absent. Teachers are not required, but are permitted, to provide make-up work to students whose suspension exceeds five (5) school days (i.e., suspension days 6 and above).
A student whose absence is unexcused shall receive no credit for assignments missed or tests given during the period of the unexcused absence unless otherwise permitted by the teacher.
While an unexcused absence may result in no credit for assignments or tests missed, students may request assignments from their teacher at the initiation of the student. If the teacher provides assignments after an unexcused absence, the time allowance for requesting the instructional materials or assignments from the teacher shall be equal to the number of school days or number of class meetings missed due to the absence. A teacher may extend this time allowance if the specific circumstances of the situation merit such action.
LATENESS TO CLASS
At the beginning of each term, the teacher shall define guidelines regarding lateness to class. When, in the judgment of the teacher, lateness becomes excessive, the student will be reported to an appropriate staff member for administrative action. Lateness to class may have a detrimental effect on student learning.
TARDINESS TO SCHOOL/EARLY DISMISSALS
All students are expected to be punctual to and remain in school. Students who arrive at their first class assignment after the start of school are tardy. A student who is late to school should present a written explanation for the tardiness on the first or second day following the tardiness. Likewise, students who leave school early without a written explanation will be deemed absent unexcused. 28
Students should recognize that a written explanation from home does not automatically cause the tardiness/early dismissal to be excused. Such reasons as car trouble, personal business, heavy traffic, home obligations, etc., while understandable, are not acceptable excuses and will be listed as unexcused. Reasons such as personal illness, medical appointments, and appearances in court will be considered as excused tardiness when verified by a note from home.
Students who do not attend at least half of the class periods on a given day will be marked absent for that day. Students who do not attend at least half of a given class period will be considered absent from the class unless excused by proper authority.
A pre-arranged absence is a student’s absence from school for one or more days to visit a college or university or for other educational activities approved by the principal. The absence should be pre-arranged by writing the principal, giving the full particulars of the absence. Approval for such absences should be sought, where practicable, at least one (1) week prior to the date on which the absence is to occur. Upon the development of a plan by student and teacher for making up the assignments to be missed, the principal may then define the absence as excused.
Students who must leave the building due to an emergency or some other reason which did not permit a pre-arranged absence must receive approval from the principal or his/her designee. The student is then responsible for completing the sign-out procedure before leaving the building and must present the required parental note of explanation upon his/her return to school.
State law provides that a student reaches legal majority at age eighteen. The attainment of adult status provides that the student may assume responsibility for signing attendance notes and other matters pertaining to school activities.
NOTE: EACH SCHOOL SHALL DEVELOP AND DISTRIBUTE TO EACH STUDENT THE PROCEDURES WHICH SHALL BE USED IN IMPLEMENTING THIS ATTENDANCE POLICY.
Colonial Attendance Procedures:
Colonial Schools require that parents/guardians submit written notice for any/all of the following occurrences:
- All cases of absence or tardiness
- Requests for early dismissal
- Notification of extended absence
- Parent pick up at Dismissal
Colonial School District will accept a digital absence note from our website or mobile app. Parents may submit an absence note directly to their schools attendance secretary by completing this form: Colonial Absence Note
Note: Requests for early dismissal or extended absences must be made in advance. Permission will be granted in accordance with the policy of the school and district. Students will not be released to anyone under the age of 18, regardless of notes made on the form. Schools may need to call to confirm information with parent or guardian
Be sure to submit the note within five days or the absence will be recorded as unexcused.
- When your student is sick
- When your child has a medical appointment
- A death in the immediate family
- A contagious illness
- Observance of a religious holiday
- Hazardous conditions
- Approved college visits
- Vacations/travel are NOT excused absences
- Oversleeping or missing the bus or Car problems
- Relatives visiting from out of town
- Child’s birthday
- Staying home to babysit or work