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GENERAL RULE

Students who are at least six years of age, or who have been previously enrolled in first grade, and who have not yet reached their nineteenth birthday shall attend school each day for the entire period the program is offered, unless exempted as indicated below.  Students enrolled in kindergarten are required to attend school and are subject to compulsory attendance requirements as long as they remain enrolled.

Education Code 25.085(a)-(c)

accelerated/compensatory programs

Unless specifically exempted, a student must also attend:

  1. An accelerated reading instruction program to which the student has been assigned under Education Code 28.006(g) [see EKC];
  2. An accelerated instruction program to which the student is assigned under Education Code 28.0211 [see EIE];
  3. A basic skills program to which the student is assigned under Education Code 29.086 [see EHBC].

Education Code 25.085(d)

EXEMPTIONS

Students who meet one or more of the following conditions shall be exempt from compulsory attendance requirements:

Medical Condition

The student has a temporary and remediable physical or mental condition that renders attendance infeasible and the student has a certificate from a qualified physician that specifies the condition, indicates the prescribed treatment, and covers the anticipated time of absence needed for receiving and recuperating from remedial treatment.

Expulsion

The student has been expelled from the School. [See FOD]

Other Exemption

The student is specifically exempted under another law. Education Code 25.086

EXCUSED ABSENCES

Temporary Absence

A person required to attend school may be excused for temporary absence resulting from any cause acceptable to the teacher, principal, or Superintendent of TSBVI.  A student may not be penalized for excused absences and shall be counted for average daily attendance.

Education Code 25.087(a), (d)

Special Education Matters

Students may be excused for special education assessment procedures and for special education-related services. 19 TAC 129.21(l)

Court Appearances

Attending a required court appearance.  A student who is attending a required court appearance is allowed up to one day of excused travel for traveling to the site where the student will attend the required court appearance and up to one day of excused travel for traveling from that site.

Holy Days

The School shall excuse a student from attending school for the purpose of observing religious holy days, including traveling for that purpose.  Excused days for travel shall be limited to not more than one day for travel to and one day for travel from the site where the student will observe the religious holy days.

Citizenship Proceedings

Appearing at a governmental office to complete paperwork required in connection with the student’s application for United States citizenship.  A student who is appearing at a governmental office to complete such paperwork is allowed up to one day excused travel for traveling to the site where the student will compete the paperwork and up to one day of excused travel for traveling from that site.

Taking part in a United States naturalization oath ceremony.  A student who is taking part in such a ceremony is allowed up to one day of excused travel for traveling to the site where the student will take part in the ceremony and up to one day of excused travel for traveling form that site.

Children in Conservatorship of DFPS

If the student is in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), participating, as determined and documented by DFPS, in an activity:

  1. Ordered by a court under Family Code Chapter 262 or 263, provided that it is not practicable to schedule the participation outside of school hours; or
  2. Required under a service plan under Family Code Chapter 263, Subchapter B.

Education Code 25.087(b)(1); 19 TAC 129.21(j)(3)

Health Care Appointments

The School shall excuse a student for temporary absence resulting from an appointment with a health-care professional if that student commences classes or returns to School on the same day of the appointment.  The appointment must be supported by a document such as a note from the health-care professional. “Temporary absence” includes the temporary absence of a student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder on the day of the student’s appointment with a health-care practitioner to receive a generally recognized service for persons with autism spectrum disorder, including applied behavioral analysis, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

Education Code 25.087(b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3); 19 TAC 129.21(j)(3) [See FEB]

Higher Education Visits

TSBVI may excuse a student from attending school to visit an institution of higher education accredited by a generally recognized accrediting organization during the student’s junior and senior years of high school for the purpose of determining the student’s interest in attending the institution of higher education, provided that:

  1. The School may not excuse for this purpose more than two days during the student’s junior year and two days during the student’s senior year; and
  2. The School adopts:
    1. A policy to determine when an absence will be excused for this purpose; and
    2. A procedure to verify the student’s visit at the institution of higher education.

Education Code 25.087(b-2); 19 TAC 129.21(j)(3)

Military Dependents

TSBVI shall excuse a student whose parent, stepparent, or legal guardian is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from continuous deployment of at least four months outside the locality where the parent, stepparent, or

guardian regularly resides, to visit with the student’s parent, stepparent, or guardian. TSBVI may not excuse a student under this provision more than five days in a school year.  An excused absence under this provision must be taken not earlier than the 60th day before the date of deployment or not later than the 30th day after the date of return of deployment.  Education Code 25.087(b-4) [See FDD]

Make-Up Work

A student who is excused for a reason described above shall be allowed a reasonable time to make up school work missed on those days.  If the student satisfactorily completes the work, the days of absence shall be counted as days of compulsory attendance.  The student shall not be penalized for the absence.  Education Code 25.087(d)

In the case of a student who has missed class due to court proceedings or human services activities, it is the responsibility of the liaison for court-related children to assist students and teachers to ensure that students are provided the opportunity to complete all missed assignments.  19 TAC 129.22(c)

NOTICES TO PARENTS

Warning Notice

TSBVI shall notify a student's parent in writing at the beginning of the school year that, if the student is absent from school on ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period, the student's parent is subject to prosecution under Education Code 25.093, and the student is subject to prosecution under or to referral to a truancy court under Family Code 65.003(a).

Notice of Absences

TSBVI shall notify a student's parent and the student's local school district if the student has been absent from school, without excuse under Education Code 25.087, on three days or parts of days within a four-week period.  The notice must:

  1. Inform the parent that:
    1. It is the parent's duty to monitor the student's school attendance and require the student to attend school, and
    2. The parent is subject to prosecution under Education Code 25.0951; and
  2. Request a conference between school officials and the parent to discuss the absences.

The fact that a parent did not receive the notices described above is not a defense to prosecution for the parent's failure to require a child to attend school nor for the student's failure to attend school.

Education Code 25.095

NON-ATTENDANCE

Parent Liability

If any parent of or person standing in parental relation to a child who is required to attend school fails to require the child to attend school, the Principal of the School shall inform the student's local district of that truancy. (Education Code requires that the student's local district respond as follows:  The local district's attendance officer shall warn the parent in writing that attendance is immediately required. [See FED]

A parent or person standing in parental relation commits a truancy offense if:

  1. A warning notice is issued;
  2. The parent with criminal negligence fails to require the child to attend school as required by law; and
  3. The child has absences for the amount of time specified under Family Code 65.003(a).

The resident school district’s attendance officer [see FED] or other appropriate school official shall file a complaint against the parent in an appropriate court, as permitted under Education Code 25.093.

Education Code 25.093

Affirmative Defense - Parent

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution that one or more of the absences required to be proven was excused by a school official or should be excused by the court.  A decision by the court to excuse an absence for this purpose does not affect the ability of the School to determine whether to excuse the absence for another purpose.

Education Code 25.093(h)

Student Liability

A student who is 12 years or older and younger than 19 years of age is required to attend school under the compulsory attendance laws and fails to attend school on ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period may be prosecuted for nonattendance in:

  1. The constitutional county court of the county in which the individual resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of 1.75 million or more;
  2. The justice court of any precinct in the county in which the student resided;
  3. The justice court of any precinct in the county in which the resident school is located;
  4. The municipal court in the municipality in which the child resides; or
  5. The municipal court in the municipality in which the school is located.

A truancy court has exclusive original jurisdiction over cases involving allegation of truant conduct.

Education Code 25.094(a)(b); Family Code 65.004(a), (b)

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE-STUDENT

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for truancy or to an allegation of conduct in need of supervision that one or more of the absences required to be proven was excused by a school official or should be excused by the court or that one or more of the absences was involuntary, but only if there is an insufficient number.  A decision by the court to excuse an absence for this purpose does not affect the ability of the School to determine whether to excuse the absence for another purpose.

Education Code 25.094(f)(g); Family Code 65.003(a)

SCHOOL COMPLAINT OR REFERRAL

If a student fails to attend TSBVI without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a 6-month period in the same school year, the School shall issue warning notices and loss of credit to the parent and local school district.  The resident school district will then,

  1. File a complaint against the student or the student's parent or both in a truancy court for an offense under Education Code 25.093 or 25.094, as appropriate, or refer the student to a truancy court in a county with a population of less than 100,000; or
  2. Refer the student to a truancy court for conduct indicating a need for supervision under Family Code 65.003(a).

A court shall dismiss a complaint or referral if the resident school district does not comply with these requirements.

Education Code 25.0915(a-4)

Adopted:         11/13/81

Amended:       11/11/83, 10/25/85, 1/26/90, 5/28/92, 3/22/96, 1/24/02, 4/1/05, 1/26/07, 8/9/18

Reviewed:       1/31/03