What does the law say about attendance?
According to state law, it is the obligation of every parent/guardian to ensure that every child under their care and supervision receives adequate education and training, and if of compulsory attendance age, attends school.
When students fail to attend classes without an excuse, both they and their parents or guardians are breaking the law. Colorado law requires every child who has attained the age of 6 on or before August 1st and is under 17 to attend public school with such exception as provided by law. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure attendance.
Because we believe in the importance of attending classes and because state law requires attendance to be monitored, Durango 9-R will pursue every avenue of compliance, including but not limited to, referrals to a school multi-agency assessment review team (SMART), diversion programs with La Plata Youth Services and filing a formal complaint against parents/guardians with the district court.
We recognize that your student may not be able to attend school because of illness, family emergency, academic or athletic activities, or other conditions.
The following shall be considered excused absences:
- A student who is temporarily ill or injured or whose absence is approved by the administrator of the school of attendance on a prearranged basis.
- Prearranged absences shall be approved for appointments or circumstances of a serious nature only which cannot be taken care of outside of school hours such as:
- Student is absent for an extended period due to physical, mental or emotional disability.
- Student is pursuing a work-study program under the supervision of the school.
- Student is attending any school-sponsored activity or activities of an educational nature with advance approval by the administration.
- Student is suspended or expelled.
As applicable, the district may require suitable proof regarding the above exceptions, including written statements from medical sources.
Parents/guardians are expected to notify the school office the day of the student’s absence.
An unexcused absence is defined as an absence that is not covered by one of the foregoing exceptions. Each unexcused absence shall be entered on the student’s record. The parents/guardians of the student receiving an unexcused absence shall be notified orally or in writing by the district of the unexcused absence.
In accordance with law, the district may impose appropriate penalties that relate directly to classes missed while unexcused. If a student is absent without an excuse signed or verified by the parent/guardian, or if the student leaves school or a class without permission of the teacher or administrator in charge, the student shall be considered truant.
A “habitual truant” shall be defined as a student of compulsory attendance age who has 4 days of unexcused absences from public school in any one-month, or 10 days of unexcused absences from any school year.
Each school shall establish a system of monitoring individual unexcused absences. Schools will mark an absence unexcused when a student fails to report on a regularly scheduled school day and school personnel have received no indication from the parent or school event organizers and/or administrators that it is an excusable absence.
A school attendance plan shall be developed for a student who is at risk of being declared habitually truant with the goal of assisting the child to remain in school.
A student is chronically absent if he or she is absent, excused or unexcused for 10% or more of the school year. The school district will work with students and families to improve student attendance using best practices and research-based strategies.
La Plata Youth Services Diversion Program
Students will be referred to La Plata Youth Services (LPYS) Diversion Program if they are unsuccessful in improving their attendance. LPYS will work with school representatives and community agencies to provide additional support to students and families to ensure school attendance. If students and families do not comply with the agency plan, LPYS will notify school officials who will then take steps to file charges in district court.
The courts may issue orders against the child, child’s parent, or both compelling the child to attend school or the parent to take reasonable steps to assure their child’s attendance. The order may require the parent, child, or both to follow an appropriate treatment plan that addresses problems affecting the child’s school attendance and that ensures an opportunity for the child to obtain a quality education.