State law requires school-age children to attend school each day instruction is provided. The law applies to children between the ages of 6 and 18. If you voluntarily enroll your child in prekindergarten or kindergarten before age 6, school attendance laws apply to your child as well. When your child is not present at school, the absence must be coded as excused or unexcused. Schools are required to excuse an absence for the following reasons:
- Observation of a religious holiday
- Attend a required court appearance
- Serve as an election clerk
- Appear at a governmental office to complete paperwork required in connection with the student’s application for US citizenship
- Take part in a U.S. naturalization ceremony
- Sound “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in Texas for a deceased veteran (grade 6-12 only)
- Attend a healthcare appointment (student must return to school the same day of appointment)
- Visit college campuses (Junior and Seniors only)
The school has additional criteria to determine what else is considered an excused absence. The following qualify as excused absences:
- Personal illness
- Death of an immediate family member
- Medical treatment
- School sponsored activity
- Activity required by a probation officer or Human Services worker
- Visiting a parent who is an active member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from a combat zone.
All other absences will be coded unexcused and will be subjected to penalty. Outlined below is the policy Austin Elementary will follow when dealing with absences:
- Three or more absences will result in a system generated warning email
- Five unexcused absences will result in an attendance warning letter
- Between five and ten unexcused absences will result in additional warning letters and phone calls from the Assistant Principal, Principal, and/or Counselor. This will include full day and “parts of a day”. That means arriving late or leaving early will count toward the child’s absences.
- If corrections are not made to improve attendance, a court warning will notify the parent of the potential to be filed on in a justice or municipal court. Parents may be criminally charged, or fined, if their child has another unexcused absence.