Robbinsdale Area Schools

503 Policy: Student Attendance

503 Policy: Student Attendance

Approved: August 17, 2020

I.  Purpose

     A.    Robbinsdale Area Schools believes that regular school attendance is directly related to success in academic work, benefits students socially, provides opportunities for important communications between teachers and students, and establishes regular habits of dependability important for college or career readiness. The purpose of this policy is to encourage regular school attendance. It is intended to be positive and not punitive.

     B.    This policy defines school attendance expectations. This policy recognizes that class attendance is a joint responsibility to be shared by the student, parent or guardian, teacher, and administrators.

II.  General Statement of Policy

It is the policy of the district to fully comply with Minn. Stat. §120A.22, which requires students of the district to attend all assigned classes every day school is in session, unless: the student has been excused by the school board from attendance because the student has already completed state and district standards required to graduate from high school; has withdrawn, or has a valid Excuse for Absence.

     A.  Responsibilities

          1.    Student’s Responsibility - It is the student’s right to be in school. It is also the student’s responsibility to attend, on time, all assigned classes every day that school is in session, and to be aware of and follow the correct procedures when absent from an assigned class. Students are responsible for securing missed work, scheduling make-up examinations, and are accountable to make up missed course content.

          2.    Parent or Guardian’s Responsibility - It is the responsibility of the student’s parent or guardian to ensure the student is attending school, to inform the school in the event of a student absence, and to work cooperatively with the school and the student to solve any attendance problems. The parent or guardian is also responsible for supporting the student with their assigned responsibilities.

         3.    Teacher’s Responsibility - It is the teacher’s responsibility to take daily attendance and to maintain accurate attendance records in each assigned class. It is also the teacher’s responsibility to be familiar with all procedures governing attendance and to apply these procedures with fidelity. It is also the teacher’s responsibility to provide any student who has been absent with any missed assignments upon request.

         4.    Administrator’s Responsibility - It is the administrator’s responsibility to require students to attend all assigned classes. It is also the administrator’s responsibility to be familiar with all procedures governing attendance and to apply these procedures uniformly to all students, to maintain accurate records on student attendance and to prepare a list of the previous day’s absences stating the status of each. Finally, it is the administrator’s responsibility to inform the student’s parent or guardian of the student’s attendance and to work cooperatively with them and the student to solve attendance problems.

III.  Attendance Procedures

     A.  Attendance procedures will be included in Administrative Procedure 503 (see Appendix).

IV.  Compulsory Attendance

     A.  Every child between seven and 17 years of age must receive instruction during the school year unless the child has graduated.

    B.  Minnesota statute requires that any student who is at least 17 years of age who seeks to withdraw from school together with parent/guardian must:

         1.    Attend a meeting with school personnel to discuss the educational opportunities available to the student, including alternative educational opportunities; and

         2.    Sign a written election to withdraw from school

   C.  Once a pupil under the age of seven is enrolled in kindergarten or a higher grade in a public school, the pupil is subject to compulsory attendance. The parent, guardian, or any other individual having charge of any person that is of compulsory age must send such person to school unless he/she meets the legitimate exemptions as defined in statute.

 V.  Required Reporting

      A.  Continuing Truant

           1.    State law (Minn. Stat. §260A.02) provides that a continuing truant is a student who is subject to the Compulsory Instruction Law and is absent from instruction in a school without a valid excuse within a single school year for:

                   i.   Three days if the child is in elementary school; or 

                   ii.  Three or more class periods on three days if the child is in middle school or high school.

           2.    When a student is initially classified as a continuing truant, Minn. Stat. §260A.03 provides that the building administrator or designee will notify the student’s parent or legal guardian, by first class mail or other reasonable means, of the following:

                    i.   That the child is truant;

                    ii.  That the parent or guardian should notify the school if there is a valid excuse for the child’s absences;

                    iii.  That the parent or guardian is obligated to compel the attendance of the child at school pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 120A.22 and parents or guardians who fail to meet this obligation may be subject to prosecution under Minn. Stat. §120A.34;

                    iv.  That this notification serves as the notification required by Minn. Stat. §120A.34;

                     v.  That alternative educational programs and services may be available in child’s enrolling or resident district;

                     vi. That the parent or guardian has the right to meet with appropriate school personnel to discuss solutions to the child’s truancy;

                     vii. That if the child continues to be truant, the parent and child may be subject to juvenile court proceedings under Minn. Stat. §Ch. 260; and

                    viii.  That if the child is subject to juvenile court proceedings, the child may be subject to suspension, restriction, or delay of the child’s driving privilege pursuant to Minn. Stat. §260C.201.

                     ix.   That it is recommended that the parent or guardian accompany the child to school and attend classes with the child for one day.

    B.  Habitual Truant

         1.   A habitual truant is a child under the age of 17 years who is absent from attendance at school without lawful excuse for either (1) seven school days if the child is in elementary school or (2) one or more class periods on seven school days if the child is in middle school or high school.
Also, a habitual truant is a child who is 17 years of age who is absent from attendance at school
without lawful excuse for one or more class periods on seven school days and who has not
lawfully withdrawn from school. 

         2.   The building administrator or designee will refer a habitual truant child and the child’s parent or legal guardian to appropriate services and procedures, under Minn. Stat. §Ch. 260A. 

         3.   The district may terminate the enrollment of a nonresident student enrolled under Minnesota Statutes, section 124D. 03 or section 124D. 08 at the end of a year if the student meets the definition of a habitual truant under section 260C.

         4.   The district reserves the right to report students truant if they accumulate more than 12
cumulative absences during the year. 

    C. Mandatory Drop for Non-Attendance

         1. For funding purposes, if a any enrolled student has missed 15 consecutive school days, despite reason, during the regular school year or five consecutive school days during summer school or intersession classes of flexible school year programs without receiving instruction in the home or hospital setting, the school district must drop the student from its enrollment roll and classify the student as withdrawn for funding purposes. See Minn. Stat. § 126C.05, Subd. 8

VI. Support for Student Attendance

Each school site will develop procedures that promote regular student attendance and prevent absenteeism and truancy. When possible, the district will work with other organizations and agencies to support regular student attendance.

VII. Dissemination of Policy

This policy will be made available to all students and parents at the commencement of each school year via link in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. This policy will also be available upon request in each principal’s office.

Legal References:

Minn. Stat. § 120A.22 (Compulsory Instruction)

Minn. Stat. § 120A.24 (Reporting)

Minn. Stat. § 120A.26 (Enforcement and Prosecution)

Minn. Stat. § 120A.34 (Violations; Penalties)

Minn. Stat. § 126C.05 (Definition of Pupil Units)

Minn. Stat. §§ 121A.40-121A.56 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act)

Minn. Stat. § 260A.02 (Definitions)

Minn. Stat. § 260A.03 (Notice to Parent or Guardian When Child is Continuing Truant)

Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, Subd. 19 (Habitual Truant Defined)

Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975)

Slocum v. Holton Board of Education, 429 N.W.2d 607 (Mich. App. Ct. 1988)

Campbell v. Board of Education of New Milford, 475 A.2d 289 (Conn. 1984)

Hamer v. Board of Education of Township High School District No. 113, 66 Ill. App.3d 7 (1978)

Gutierrez v. School District R-1, 585 P.2d 935 (Co. Ct. App. 1978)

Knight v. Board of Education, 38 Ill. App. 3d 603, 348 N.E.2d 299 (1976)

Dorsey v. Bale, 521 S.W.2d 76 (Ky. 1975)


Cross Reference:

Policy 506 (Student Discipline)

503 Policy: Student Attendance - Resource Attachments