Although it’s common for students to miss a few days of school each year, the Attendance Accountability Amendment Act includes penalties for missing more than 10 days without a valid excuse.
As a parent, here’s what you can expect:
After 1 unexcused absence
You will receive a call from your child’s school.
After 5 unexcused absences
Your child will be referred to a school-based student support team. The team will meet to discuss why your child is missing school and create a plan to prevent him or her from missing school in the future. If you have not already, reach out to us and see what services are available in your community to help make sure your child gets to school.
After 7 unexcused absence
You will receive a warning letter from the Metropolitan Police Department.
After 10 unexcused absences
Your child’s school-based support team will deliver a plan to school administrators. The plan will include ideas for making sure your child’s absences do not continue, and will identify services in your community to help. From there, the school will notify the MPD (Metropolitan Police Department) and send a letter to you explaining the legal consequences of accruing additional absences. The Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will send you a truancy resource guide. If your child is between the ages of 5-13, the school will refer him or her to the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) for further review.
After 15 unexcused absences
If your child is between the ages of 14-17, he or she will be referred by the school to the Court Social Services Division (CSSD) and/or the Office of Attorney General (OAG) Juvenile Division.
Parents whose children violate DC’s Attendance Act may be required to attend parenting classes, do community service or pay a fine. Our program can help improve school attendance long before you reach this point.
To help you comply with the law and understand its effects, our team is here to help. We will set up a time to meet with you at a place and time that’s convenient for you. We’ll work with you to create a plan just for you and your child.
How does D.C. define…
Absence: Missing more than 20% of a school day (or 78 minutes).
Excused absence: Missing school for a valid reason, because of an illness, death in the family, religious holiday, doctor’s appointment, court date, college visit or other reason approved by you and your child’s school.
Unexcused absence: Missing school without a valid reason, because of a family vacation, cutting class, oversleeping, running errands, babysitting, traffic or other car troubles.
Absenteeism: A pattern of missing school, with or without a valid excuse.
Chronic absenteeism: Missing 10 or more days of school in a single school year, with or without a valid excuse.
For specific information about your child’s school, including who to contact if your child is absent, call the school’s attendance counselor, teacher or principal.