Q: What is an "excused" absence from school?
A: Pennsylvania law broadly defines absences as excused when a student is prevented from attendance for mental, physical or other urgent reasons. School districts consider illness, family emergency, death of a family member, medical or dental appointments, authorized school activities and educational travel with prior approval as the only lawful absences.
Q: What is an unexcused absence?
A: An unexcused absence occurs when no written notification by a parent/guardian is provided to the school.
Q: What are the responsibilities of parents/guardians/students in reporting a student's absence from school?
A: All absences should be treated as unlawful until the school district receives a written excuse explaining the reason(s) for an absence. Parents/guardians and students should submit the written explanation within three calendar days of the absence.
Q: What happens if a parent/guardian/student does not provide a written excuse within three calendar days of the absence?
A: If they fail to provide a written excuse within three days of the absence, the absence will be permanently counted as unlawful.
Q: What is truancy?
A: Truancy is any unexcused absence from compulsory school attendance.
Q: What sanctions can be imposed on truant students not covered by compulsory attendance?
A: Unexcused absences is a part of the student code of conduct, which allows progressive disciplinary measures to be taken. Students 17 years old and older must be dropped from the attendance rolls after 10 consecutive days of unexcused absences.
Q. What is the penalty for habitual truancy?
A. After a student accumulates three days of unexcused absences, any subsequent days can result in a referral to the magisterial district judge. The judge may impose fines, educational classes, and/or suspend driver license operating privileges. For students under the age of 13 years of age, they shall be referred to a county child and youth agency for possible disposition as a dependent child.
Q. Who is responsible for notifying the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regarding suspension of driver license operating privileges?
A. The magisterial district judge.
Q: Does tardiness count as truancy?
A: Yes, Section 1332 of the School Code states that the names of students who have been absent without a lawful excuse for three days, "or their equivalent", shall be reported to the attendance officer.