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Compulsory Attendance

Attendance Responsibilities

A. Residency

A child shall be considered a resident of the Kennett Consolidated School District if either his/her parents or the legal guardians of his/her person reside in the district. If a child’s parents or legal guardians are divorced or separated, he/she shall be allowed to attend district schools if his/her custodial parent or legal guardian resides in the district and he/she resides with the custodial parent or legal guardian. A resident shall be defined as one having lodging and an actual physical presence in the district. The superintendent shall have the power to require proof of residence by a sworn statement and by other criteria.

“Residence shall mean the domicile or place where a student lives or has his/her home with the intention that it is his/her home permanently or indefinitely. It is the place to which, whenever he/she is absent, he/she has the intention of returning. Ownership of a property in and of itself does not constitute residency.”

B. Absences/Tardiness

The Kennett Consolidated School District believes that regular attendance in the classroom is conducive to learning and that frequent absences of pupils from regular classes disrupt the continuity of the instructional process. The district believes that through daily attendance:

  • Continuity of learning leads to improved student achievement;
  • Regular school attendance that includes active and regular classroom participation leads to improved student achievement;
  • A level of responsibility will develop and prepare students for adulthood and the workforce of the 21st century.

Class participation is a factor in determining student achievement. The school cannot teach students who are not present. Poor attendance may limit accomplishments and reinforce a habit, which will handicap the individual in future education or employment.

Therefore, in accordance with the laws of the state, the Kennett Consolidated School District requires the regular attendance each day that school is in session of all school age children.

Excused Absences

The school laws of Pennsylvania require children of compulsory school age to be in attendance on all days school is in session. Compulsory school age is 1st grade, or age 8 through age 17. A student’s excused absence may be for reasons that include:

  • Illness
  • Quarantine
  • Death in the immediate family
  • Absence for religious holidays
  • Religious instruction
  • Health care appt. for student
  • Tutorial work
  • The school buses inability to operate in inclement weather

Make Up Work Due to Legal Absences (Administrative review and approval is required)

A student shall be permitted to make up work and/or examinations missed while legally absent from school. Arrangements for making up work shall be made between the individual student and his/her teacher(s), in consultation as needed with the building principal or his/her designee. It shall be the building principal’s responsibility to insure that an effective procedure is established for making up work between the student and teachers.

Absence Notes

Parents should call the school when a student is absent and must send a note to school. The note must include the date, reason for absence, and parent signature. This note must be received within three (3) school days in order for the absence to be excused. If the note is received after three (3) school days, the absence will be marked unlawful/unexcused.

Pre-printed excuse forms in English and Spanish are available from each school.

Unexcused or Unlawful Absences

“Unlawful absence” is an absence without valid excuse for all students in first grade through age 17. “Unexcused absence” is an absence without valid excuse age 17 or older. Some examples of Unlawful/Unexcused absence and lateness are:

  • Employment not sanctioned by the school
  • Truancy
  • Parent neglect
  • Over sleeping
  • Missing the bus
  • Private transportation breakdown
  • Shopping
  • Baby sitting
  • Staying home to do school work
  • Staying home to care for family members who are ill

Students who elect not to participate in a field trip or other special school event are still expected to attend school.

Follow-up to Unlawful Absences for Students Who Are of Compulsory School Age

  • The attendance secretary shall record unlawful absences
  • After three (3) days or equivalent of unlawful absence, the school will send a truancy notice of violation (NOV letter) to the parent/guardian. Once the NOV letter has been sent, it will remain in effect until the student reaches age 17.
  • After the next unlawful absence (the 4th unlawful absence), a truancy citation will be sent to the district court by the school district, and the District Judge will schedule a truancy hearing. The District Judge may assign fines up to $300.00 per unlawful day to the parent/guardian (or to a child over the age of 13)

Chronic Cases of Unlawful Absenteeism for Students Who Are of Compulsory School Age

  • If, after the first citation and hearing, additional unlawful absences occur, the principal shall consult with the district social worker to formulate a plan to improve the student’s attendance pattern.
  • Simultaneously, the social worker may refer the case to one or more of the following agencies:
    • Chester County Children Youth and Family Services
    • Magisterial District Court
    • Other agencies
  • The social worker shall report the status to the appropriate administrator on an ongoing basis.

In instances when a student’s absences or lateness to school become chronic or irregular, the school will require a physicians note. If a physicians note is not received within three (3) days of the absence, the absence will be marked unlawful/unexcused. Generally, a doctor’s note will be required once a student misses more than ten (10) absences during one school year.

C. Absences Due to Family Trips During the School Year

Requests by parents for permission to have children absent from school for family trips must be made in writing and processed by the principal or his/her designee. The request must be received by the principal at least ten (10) days prior to the anticipated absence. Absences approved by the principal will be considered excused.

Before approving absences due to family trips, the principal or his/her designee will review the current academic and attendance status of the student and will review Kennett Consolidated School District’s attendance policy. The student shall be held responsible for making up missed assignments and tests.

If a student goes on a trip for more than ten (10) consecutive school days or has an unexcused/unlawful absence of more than ten (10) consecutive school days, the student will be withdrawn from the Kennett Consolidated School District.

Request for Early Dismissal/Late Arrival

All cases of early dismissal require a note from the parent/guardian stating the time, date, and reason for dismissal as well as a number where a parent may be reached.

When the parent or guardian comes to the school office for his/her child, he/she must present identification, sign a registry, and record the date and time of dismissal. If the student legally drove to school, the student must report to the office and sign out.

Student absences that result from early dismissal shall be treated in accordance with attendance laws.

Upon his/her late arrival, students must present a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian. The note must clearly indicate the reason for the late arrival.