District of Columbia School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy

Discipline Compendium

District of Columbia School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy

Category: Discipline Addressing Specific Code of Conduct Violations
Subcategory: Chronic Absenteeism and Truancy
State: District of Columbia

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LAWS

§ 38-201. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1A) "Chronic absenteeism" means the incidence of students missing more than 10% of school days, including excused and unexcused absences. […]

(3B) "School-based student support team" means a team formed to support the individual student by developing and implementing action plans and strategies that are school-based or community-based, depending on the availability, to enhance the student's success with services, incentives, intervention strategies, and consequences for dealing with absenteeism.

§ 38-202. Establishment of school attendance requirements.

(a) Every parent, guardian, or other person, who resides permanently or temporarily in the District during any school year and who has custody or control of a minor who has reached the age of 5 years or will become 5 years of age on or before September 30th of the current school year shall place the minor in regular attendance in an educational institution during the period of each year when the public schools of the District are in session. This obligation of the parent, guardian, or other person having custody extends until the minor reaches the age of 18 years. For the purpose of this section placement in summer school is not required.

(b) Any minor who has satisfactorily completed the senior high school course of study prescribed by the Board and has been granted a diploma that certifies his or her graduation from high school, or who holds a diploma or certificate of graduation from another course of study determined by the Board to be at least equivalent to that required by the Board for graduation from the public senior high schools, shall be excused from further attendance at school.

(c) Any minor who has reached the age of 17 years may be allowed flexible school hours by the head of the educational institution in which the minor is enrolled provided he or she is actually, lawfully, gainfully, and regularly employed, but in no case shall he or she be excused entirely from regular attendance or excused to the extent that his or her timely graduation would be jeopardized or prevented.

(d) The Board shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to establish requirements to govern acceptable credit for studies completed at independent or private schools and private instruction, to govern the selection and appointment of appropriate staff members to carry out the provisions of this chapter under the direction of the Superintendent of Schools, pursuant to Chapter 6 of Title 1, and in respect to other matters within the scope of authority of the Board that relates to this subchapter.

§ 38-203. Enforcement; penalties.

(a) An accurate daily record of the attendance of all minors covered by § 38-202 and this section shall be kept by the teachers of each educational institution. These records shall be open for inspection at all times by the Board, the State Superintendent of Education, school attendance officers, or other persons authorized to enforce this subchapter. […]

(c)(1) The absence of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) without valid excuse shall be unlawful.

(2) An absence of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) who is enrolled in a public school is deemed unexcused unless the minor's parent, guardian, or other person who has custody or control of the minor provides the school with a valid excuse for the minor's absence within 5 school days upon the minor's return to school.

(d) The parent, guardian, or other person who has custody or control of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) who is absent from school without a valid excuse shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(e) Any person convicted of failure to keep a minor in regular attendance in a public, independent, private, or parochial school, or failure to provide regular private instruction acceptable to the Board may be fined not less than $100 or imprisoned for not more than 5 days, or both for each offense.

(f) Each unlawful absence of a minor for 2 full-day sessions or for 4 half-day sessions during a school month shall constitute a separate offense.

(g) For the 1st offense, upon payment of costs, the sentence may be suspended and the defendant may be placed on probation.

(h) For any person convicted under this section, the courts shall consider requiring the offender to perform community service as an alternative to fine or imprisonment or both.

(i) Within 60 days after the end of a school year, each public, independent, private, or parochial school shall report to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and make publicly available the following data for each school or campus under its authority based on the preceding school year:

(A) The number of minors, categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, who had unexcused absences for:

(i) One to 5 days;

(ii) Six to 10 days;

(iii) Eleven to 20 days; and

(iv) Twenty-one or more days;

(A-i) The work of the school-based student support teams in reducing unexcused absences, including:

(i) The number of students who were referred to a school-based student support team;

(ii) The number of students who met with a school-based student support team;

(iii) A summary of the action plans and strategies implemented by the school-based student support team to eliminate or ameliorate unexcused absences; and

(iv) A summary of the services utilized by students to reduce unexcused absences;

(v) A summary of the common barriers to implementing the recommendations of the school-based student support team;

(B) The number of minors, categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, that the school reported to the Child and Family Services Agency pursuant to § 4-1321.02(a-1) and (a-2) [(a-2) expired];

(B-i) The number of minors categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, that the school referred to the Court Social Services Division of the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for truancy; and

(C) The policy on absences, including defined categories of valid excuses, that it used.

(j) By August 1, 2012, the Mayor shall develop, through rulemaking, appropriate enforcement mechanisms to ensure that each school, principal, and teacher is in full compliance with the requirements of this subchapter and any regulations issued pursuant to this subchapter.

(k) By November 30 of each year, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education shall publicly report on the state of absenteeism in the District based on data from the preceding school year, including an analysis of truancy and chronic absenteeism by school or campus and the impact of current laws on improving school attendance.

§ 38-207. Authority of police over truant child.

(a)(1) A law enforcement officer who has reasonable grounds to believe, based on the minor's age and other factors, that a minor is truant from any public, independent, private, or parochial school on a day and during the hours when the school is in session shall take that minor into custody and deliver the minor to the public, independent, private, or parochial school where the minor is presently enrolled, so long as the school is located in the District.

(2) If the minor is not currently enrolled at a public, independent, private, or parochial school, the law enforcement officer shall take the minor to the District of Columbia Public Schools placement office.

(3) If a minor is enrolled in a public, independent, private, or parochial school located within the District of Columbia, the educational institution shall receive that minor from a law enforcement officer during the hours when the school is in operation.

(b) On the request of a person who has reached the age of 18 years, graduated from high school, or received a general equivalency diploma, and who has previously been taken into custody pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Metropolitan Police Department shall seal all records relating to custody authorized by subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Within 2 business days of a minor student's 10th unexcused absence during a school year, the educational institution shall send the minor's parent:

(1) Information from the Chief of Police about the compulsory attendance requirements and criminal penalties for violations of this chapter; and

(2) A letter notifying the parent that he or she may be in violation of the school attendance requirements under this chapter and may be subject to prosecution.

§ 38-208. Truancy procedures; inter-agency coordination.

(b) Within 2 business days of the 10th unexcused absence, the educational institution shall notify the Office of the State Superintendent of Education which shall provide the parent with the truancy prevention resource guide created pursuant to § 38-2602(b)(19); provided, that the parent has not received the truancy prevention resource guide before the 10th unexcused absence.

(c) In addition to the requirements set forth in subsection (b) of this section:

(1)(A) Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the educational institution shall refer a minor student 5 years of age through 13 years of age to the Child and Family Services Agency pursuant to § 4-1321.02(a-1), no later than 2 business days after the accrual of 10 unexcused full school day absences within a school year.

(B) Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the educational institution shall refer a minor student 14 years of age through 17 years of age to the Court Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and to the Office of the Attorney General Juvenile Section no later than 2 business days after the accrual of 15 unexcused full school day absences within a school year.

(C) The educational institution shall have discretion with regard to the referral requirements set forth in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph if a minor student accrues the 10th or 15th unexcused absence, respectively, within the final 10 school days of a school year.

(2) Within 3 business days of the Office of the Attorney General, Juvenile Section receiving written notification pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection, the Office of the Attorney General shall send the minor student's parent a letter notifying the parent that he or she may be subject to prosecution for violation of the school attendance requirements under this subchapter.

(d) By July 1 of each year, the State Superintendent of Education shall send written notice to each educational institution outlining the attendance and reporting requirements outlined in this subchapter.

§ 38-209. Reporting requirements.

By July 15 of each year, beginning in 2014, the Office of the Attorney General shall submit to the Mayor and the Secretary to the Council a truancy status report on the preceding school year, which shall include the number of:

(1) Referrals it received from each educational institution;

(2) Cases it filed pursuant to this subchapter, and the outcome of each;

(3) Child-in-need of supervision cases filed pursuant to this subchapter, and the outcome of each; and

(4) Students who were enrolled in a court diversion program, or other diversion program pursuant to this subchapter.

§ 38-241. Truancy and dropout prevention program.

(a) Subject to the availability of appropriations, the District of Columbia Board of Education, or its successor, and the District of Columbia Public Schools shall offer a Truancy and Dropout Prevention Program for students who are enrolled in the District of Columbia Public Schools system. The programs should be implemented on a full-time basis, work with local schools and parents, and provide resources that will help reduce absences and unexcused absences, and reduce dropout and increase retention rates.

(b) The program shall develop a supportive relationship with the Metropolitan Police Department.

(c) The program shall be available for students who are enrolled in grades K-12 and for students who are enrolled in ungraded classes in elementary, middle or junior high, and high schools.

(d) Notwithstanding any other law, nothing in this section shall be construed to create an entitlement to a truancy or dropout prevention program for any student.

§ 38-2602. Responsibilities.

(b) The OSSE shall:

(19) By August 1, 2013, create a truancy prevention resource guide for parents and legal guardians who have children who attend a District public school, which shall be updated and made available upon request and, at minimum, include:

(A) An explanation of the District's laws and regulations related to absenteeism and truancy;

(B) Information on:

(i) What a parent or legal guardian can do to prevent truancy;

(ii) The common causes of truancy; and

(iii) Common consequences of truancy;

(C) A comprehensive list of resources that are available to a parent or legal guardian, and the student, that address the common causes of truancy and the prevention of it, such as:

(i) Hotlines that provide assistance to parents, legal guardians, and youth;

(ii) Counseling for the parent (or legal guardian) or the youth, or both;

(iii) Parenting classes;

(iv) Parent-support groups;

(v) Family psycho-education programs;

(vi) Parent-resource libraries;

(vii) Risk prevention education;

(viii) Neighborhood family support organizations and collaboratives that provide assistance to families experiencing hardship;

(ix) Behavioral health resources and programs in schools;

(x) The Behavioral Health Ombudsman Program; and

(xi) The resources at each public school for at-risk students and their parents or legal guardians.

REGULATIONS

5-A2100. General provisions.

2100.2 This chapter shall apply to a public educational institution as defined in this chapter to include any elementary or secondary educational program operating in the District of Columbia that is subject to the control or oversight of a local educational agency.

2100.3 Unless otherwise approved by the office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), a school year for attendance purposes, whether in-person or distance, shall include a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) regular instructional days and the following requirements:

(a) An instructional day shall be at least six (6) hours in length for students, including time allotted for lunch periods, recess, and class breaks;

(b) The six (6)-hour minimum instructional day requirement shall not be applicable to an evening school program, adult program, prekindergarten program, or kindergarten program.

2100.6 Daily attendance shall include participation in school-sponsored field trips; participation in an off-site school sponsored or approved activity during a regularly scheduled school day; in-school suspensions; and the number of days a student receives instructional services while expelled or while serving an out-of-school suspension.

5-A2101. Attendance records and reporting.

2101.1 Each educational institution operating in the District of Columbia shall maintain an accurate, contemporaneous, and daily attendance record for each student who is enrolled in or who attends the educational institution.

2101.2 

(a) Attendance shall be recorded and reported as follows:

(1) The requirement to record and report attendance for a student who is registered in the institution's Student Information System shall begin on the educational institution's first (1st) official school day and continue throughout the school year, unless the student

(A) Officially withdraws from the educational institution;

(B) Fails to attend at least one (1) day of school in the first (1st) three (3) weeks of school without notification to the educational institution for such absence; or

(C) Enrolls in another educational institution; and

(2) Expulsion or suspension of a student during the school year does not relieve the educational institution of the duty to record and report the student's daily attendance for the school year in which the expulsion or suspension occurred until such time as the student officially withdraws from the educational institution or enrolls in another educational institution; or such time as the educational institution determines that, despite best efforts, it is unable to contact the student's parent(s) or guardian(s).

(b) Attendance records and reports required by this section shall be maintained by the educational institution for a minimum of five (5) years.

2101.3 The attendance record for each student shall contain the following:

(a) Dates of enrollment;

(b) Daily legible or machine-readable records of daily attendance, noting the student as: fully present, partially present, fully absent, or partially absent 

(c) The nature of each absence as excused, unexcused; suspension-related; or expulsion-related;

(d) Dates of withdrawal from the educational institution or confirmed enrollment in another educational institution, including the name and location of the educational institution in which the student enrolled and follow up notation(s) to confirm the child's new educational institution, if applicable;

(e) Dates of each referral to the school-based student support team, the Child and Family Services Agency, the Court Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; or the Office of the Attorney General Juvenile Section related to absenteeism or truancy; (f) Dates of marking periods;

(g) Dates on which a law enforcement officer enforcing compulsory attendance laws returns the student to the educational institution; if applicable;

(h) Daily late arrival time; if applicable;

(i) Dates and times of early dismissals from the school day, as authorized by the educational institution, if applicable;

(j) Dates and brief description of communications with the student's, parent(s) or guardian(s) with regard to school attendance and absences, including the record of or a cross-reference to the record documenting:

(1) Contact with parents or guardians; and

(2) Interventions, services, and service referrals related to absences other than those listed in subparagraph (e) if applicable;

(k) Underlying cause(s) for student's absenteeism or truancy as determined by the school-based student support team;

(l) Action plans and strategies implemented by the school-based student support team to eliminate unexcused absences; and

(m) Services utilized by the student to reduce unexcused absences, if applicable;

2101.4 Prior to the beginning of each school year, an educational institution shall designate an individual to be responsible for collecting, maintaining, and reporting the attendance data required for each student consistent federal and District requirements. This designated individual shall:

(a) Ensure timely submission of attendance in conformance with this chapter; and

(b) Submit corrected attendance records via an automated, electronic feed, or such other format; and provide any corrections to attendance records according to deadlines provided by OSSE; and

(c) Timely respond to requests for clarification of submitted attendance records.

2101.5 The name and contact information of the designated attendance monitor shall be reported by the educational institution prior to the first (1st) official school day of each school year to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and posted in a conspicuous space on the educational institution's website.

2101.6 Within sixty (60) days after the completion of each school year, an educational institution shall submit to OSSE the report described in D.C. Official Code § 38-203.(i). Such report shall include attendance information in aggregate form, excluding individual student data.

2101.7 By November 30 of each school year, OSSE shall issue a report including the following information:

(a) Truancy rates and chronic absenteeism rates for each educational institution;

(b) Progress in improving attendance and reducing truancy for each educational institution; and

(c) Each educational institution's compliance with key attendance and truancy requirements.

2101.8 An educational institution shall maintain attendance records as part of the student's permanent record and for such periods of time as may be otherwise specified by applicable laws and regulations.

2101.9 Within two (2) business days of a student's tenth (10th) full day unexcused absence during a school year, the educational institution shall:

(a) [REPEALED];

(b) Send the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) a letter, under signature of the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, notifying the parent(s) or guardians that they may be in violation of the school attendance requirements and subject to prosecution under District of Columbia laws; and

(c) Notify OSSE that the student has accrued ten (10) full day of unexcused absences.

2101.10 Upon notification from the educational institution under § 2101.12, OSSE shall provide the parent(s) or guardian(s) with a copy of the Truancy Prevention Resource Guide published by OSSE.

2101.11  An educational institution that is approved to offer instruction through a distance learning model on a regular or otherwise routine basis must submit an attendance plan to OSSE for approval on an annual basis.  This attendance plan shall:

(a) Comply with the instructional day requirements defined in Section 2100.3 by dividing the instructional day into modules;

(b) Identify modules as synchronous or asynchronous;

(c) Require every student to have at least one (1) in-person class or synchronous module on their daily schedule every day;

(d) Identify how the educational institution will document and preserve attendance records that demonstrate compliance with Sections 2101.12 and 2101.13; and

(e) Identify how the educational institution will communicate attendance expectations to parents and guardians, including an expectation for adequate supervision of their child(ren) during distance learning instruction.

2101.12  To be considered present in a synchronous module, a student’s physical presence must be verified by an instructor through a synchronous video camera where the instructor can temporarily visually verify the student’s presence through a responsive action by the student.

2101.13  To be considered present in an asynchronous module, a student must complete an output during the module.

2101.14  For routine distance learning, a student shall be marked “fully present” if the student satisfies the requirements in 2101.12 for one hundred percent (100%) of the instructional day’s synchronous modules and satisfies the requirements in 2101.13 for one hundred percent (100%) of the instructional day’s asynchronous modules.

2101.15  For routine distance learning, a student shall be marked “partially present” if the student:

(a) Is present for at least one (1) or synchronous module, as defined in 2101.12; and

(b) Is present for modules that account for between sixty percent (60%) and ninety-nine and nine tenths percent (99.9%) of the instructional day.

2101.16  For routine distance learning, a student shall be marked “partially absent” if the student:

(a) Is present for at least one (1) asynchronous module but absent for all synchronous modules scheduled on that day, or

(b) Is marked as present for modules that account for between one percent (1%) and fifty-nine and nine tenths percent (59.9%) of the instructional day.

2101.17  For routine distance learning, a student shall be marked as “fully absent” if the student is marked as present for zero percent (0%) of the instructional day.

2101.18  For situational distance learning, the educational institution shall comply with the following standards:

(A) To mark a student as “present,” the educational institution shall, at a minimum, require:

  1. An instructor to verify the student’s presence through one-on-one contact with the student, including but not limited to a phone call, through a synchronous video platform, or through the educational institution’s learning management system; and
  2. The student to complete at least one (1) output for the instructional day;

(B) Document and preserve attendance records that demonstrate compliance with Section 2101.18(a); and

(C) Communicate attendance expectations to parents and guardians, including but not limited to an expectation for adequate supervision of their child(ren) during situational distance learning.

 

5-A2102. Absences.

2102.1 Any absence, including an absence from any portion of the instructional day, without a valid excuse shall be presumed to be an unexcused absence.

2102.2 An educational institution shall define categories of valid excuses for an absence, which shall include the following categories:

(a) Illness or other bona fide medical cause experienced by the student;

(b) Exclusion, by direction of the authorities of the District of Columbia, due to quarantine, contagious disease, infection, infestation, or other condition requiring separation from other students for medical or health reasons;

(c) Death in the student's family;

(d) Necessity for a student to attend a judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, or court-ordered event or activity during school hours as a party to the action or under subpoena;

(e) Observance of a religious holiday;

(f) Lawful suspension or exclusion from school by school authorities;

(g) Temporary suspension of classes due to severe weather, official activities, holidays, malfunctioning equipment, unsafe or unsanitary conditions, or other condition(s) or emergency requiring a school closing or suspension of classes;

(h) Failure of the District of Columbia to provide transportation in cases where the District of Columbia  has a legal responsibility for the transportation of the student;

(i) Medical or dental appointments for the student;

(j) Absences to allow students to visit their parent or guardian, who is in the military during, immediately before, or immediately after deployment; and

(k) A emergency or other circumstances approved by an educational institution.

2102.3 An educational institution shall publish and make available to students, parents and guardians the attendance policies and procedures of the educational institution, including a list of valid excused absences.

2102.4 An educational institution shall obtain an explanation from the student's parent or guardian verifying the reason for an absence within no more than five (5) days upon the student’s return to school otherwise the absence shall be deemed unexcused.

2102.5  If a student is receiving home or hospital instruction in accordance with D.C. Official Code § 38-251.01 et seq. and Chapter 25, Subtitle A, of Title 5 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, the LEA shall maintain the student on the regular attendance roll and count the student as medically excused, except when a student is not available for home or hospital instruction, in which event the student may be counted by the LEA as absent.

A2103. Absentee intervention and school-based student support teams.

2103.1 An educational institution shall implement a specific protocol for absenteeism (absenteeism protocol) including a focus on preventing of unexcused absences, and academic and behavioral interventions to address the needs of students.

2103.2 Each LEA shall incorporate evidence-based practice into its absenteeism protocol, considering procedures to address the following:

(a) A description of valid excused absences consistent with this chapter;

(b) A process for informing, training, and educating school staff, students, parents, guardians, and the community with regard to enhancing school attendance, implementing truancy reduction methods, administering attendance policies and procedures, and when applicable collaborating with related service providers; and

(c) Procedures for monitoring, reporting, addressing, and evaluating attendance and absences consistent with District of Columbia attendance and absence reporting requirements including:

(1) A procedure requiring reasonable and diligent attempts to make personal contact with the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student, or the adult student, as applicable, on the same day and each time a student has the equivalent of one (1) day of unexcused absence, with daily follow-ups as necessary;

(2) A continuum of school practices and services which shall not include off-site suspension or expulsion as intervention strategies, but shall include

(A) Meaningful supports, incentives, intervention strategies, and consequences for dealing with absenteeism and

(B) Consultation with parents or guardians, both at the onset of absenteeism and in those circumstances where chronic absenteeism persists, 

 (3) A referral process whereby within two (2) school days after a student has accumulated five (5) full-day unexcused absences in one (1) marking period or other similar time frame, the student shall be referred to a school-based student support team which will meet within five (5) school days of the referral and regularly thereafter to:

    (A) Review and address the student's attendance and determine the underlying cause(s) for the student's unexcused absences;

    (B) Employ reasonable and diligent efforts to communicate and to collaborate with the student and the students parent(s) or guardian(s);

     (C) Communicate and collaborate with the student's existing Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, as applicable;

     (D) Provide timely response to the student's truant behavior;

     (E) Make recommendations for academic, diagnostic, or social work services, applicable;

     (F) Use school and/or community resources to abate the student's truancy including referral to a community-based organization when available; and

     (G) Develop and implement an action plan in consultation with the student and student's parent(s) or guardian(s);

(4) The school-based student support team assigned to a student who accumulates ten (10) full day unexcused absences during a school year shall notify the school administrator within two (2) school days after the tenth (10th) full day unexcused absence with a plan for immediate intervention including delivery of community-based programs and any other assistance or services to identify and address the student's needs on an emergency basis;

(5) A process including specific due process procedures, for a parent, guardian, or student to appeal any attendance violation decisions made by the educational institution; and

(6) A process to ensure that the educational institution maintains complete, accurate, and contemporaneous records of the work of the school-based student support team to reduce unexcused absences, including records of all meetings that take place after a student accumulates five (5) or more full day unexcused absences in one (1) marking period or other similar time frame and after a student accumulates ten (10) unexcused absences at any time during a school year.

2103.3 In addition to the report required at the end of each school year pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 38-203.(i), an educational institution shall provide to OSSE, upon request, student-level data and records evidencing the work of school-based student support teams.

2103.4 A school-based student support team shall be guided by the following principles:

(a) Prior to performing school-based student support team functions, appointed team members shall be provided training on the compulsory attendance laws, regulations, and policies of the District of Columbia and OSSE; absenteeism and truancy intervention strategies and best practices; and available remedies and services to ameliorate the causes of absenteeism and truancy;

(b) A school-based student support team shall include the educational institution's designated attendance monitor(s);

(c) Core school-based student support team membership should typically include a

(1) General education teacher

(2) School nurse, psychologist, counselor, and/or social worker, if applicable; and

(3) School administrator with decision-making authority.

(d) Selection of additional members of a team should be guided by the needs of the particular student, which may include the following:

(1) IDEA/Section 504 coordinator and/or special education personnel;

(2) Early learning/Head Start teacher;

(3) Bilingual or English as a second language teacher;

(4) Representatives of the Child and Family Services Agency and/or Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services;

(5) McKinney-Vento homeless liaison; and/or

(6) Guardian ad litem.

2103.5 Each educational institution shall develop a process to refer students to District of Columbia entities under the following circumstances:

(a) Students ages five (5) through thirteen (13) shall be referred by the educational institution to the Child and Family Services Agency not later than two (2) business days after the accrual of ten (10) full day unexcused absences within a school year; and

(b) Students ages fourteen (14) through seventeen (17) shall be referred by the educational institution to the Court Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and to the Office of Attorney General Juvenile Section no later than two (2) business days after the accrual of fifteen (15) full day unexcused absences within a school year.

2103.6 Copies of the following documents shall be provided with a referral made pursuant to this chapter:

(a) The student's attendance and absence record;

(b) The student's action plan;

(c) Documentation related to referrals and outcome of such referrals;

(d) Documentation representing evidence of communications, services, and attendance related interventions taken by the school;

(e) Documentation of suspected educational neglect;

(f) Documentation of personal contacts with, and written notification to, parent(s) or guardian(s) with regard to the unexcused absences; and

(g) If applicable, the student's Individualized Education Program pursuant to IDEA or Section 504 services plan, with any supporting evaluations or assessments.

5-A2199. Definitions.

2199.1 When used in this chapter, the following terms and phrases shall have the meaning ascribed:

"Absence"- a day on when a student is either fully absent or partially absent.

"Absenteeism"- a pattern of a high frequency of absences. 

"Action plan"- a written document that is designed to meet the individual and specialized needs of the student and contains the relevant details of the student's attendance record, the school-based or third- party-provided interventions toward addressing the underlying causes of unexcused absences as determined by the school-based student support team and expected attendance goals.

“Asynchronous” - non-simultaneous distance instruction where a student completes work independently without a teacher providing real time instruction.

"Attendance monitor" - the person(s) designated by the principal or chief school administrator of an educational institution to be responsible for collecting, maintaining, and reporting attendance records that are required pursuant to District of Columbia compulsory education and school attendance laws, regulations, and OSSE policies for each student enrolled in the educational institution.

"Chronic absenteeism" - the incidence of a student missing more than 10 percent of instructional school days, including excused and unexcused absences.

"Chronic truancy rate" - the incidence of students of compulsory attendance age, as defined by D.C.. Official Code § 38-202(a), enrolled at a school at any point in a given school year who are absent without a valid excuse on ten (10) or more occasions within a single school year, divided by the total number of students of compulsory attendance age ever enrolled during the corresponding school year.

"Chronically Truant" - a student of compulsory attendance age, as defined by D.C. Official Code § 38-202(a) who is absent from school without a legitimate excuse for ten (10) or more days within a single school year.

"Consultation"- a meeting or conversation between the school-based student support team of an educational institution and a student's parent(s) or guardian(s) in which the team, on the part of the educational institution, engages in meaningful discussions about the issues underlying the student's absenteeism prior to making any decision about action plans, interventions, or services to address the student's absenteeism.

“Distance” - instruction that takes place when the student is not physically present in the educational institution in which the student is enrolled or where the student is assigned to attend.

"Educational institution" - a school in the District of Columbia Public Schools system, or a public charter school.

"Educational neglect" - the failure of a parent or guardian to ensure that a child attends school consistent with the requirements of the law including, without limitation, the failure to enroll a student of compulsory attendance age, as defined by D.C. Official Code § 38-202(a) in an educational institution or provide appropriate private instruction; permitting chronic absenteeism from school; inattention to special education needs; refusal to allow or failure to obtain recommended remedial education services; or the failure to obtain treatment or other special education services without reasonable cause.

"Elementary/secondary educational program" - a course of instruction and study from and including pre- Kindergarten through the end of high school, any portion thereof, or its equivalent. This does not include an adult education or evening school program.

"Enrollment"- a process through which a student obtains admission to a District of Columbia Public School or District of Columbia public charter school that includes, at a minimum the following stages:

(1) Application by student to attend the school;

(2) Acceptance and notification of an available slot to the student by the school;

(3) Acceptance of the offered slot by the student (signified by completion of enrollment forms and, for minor student, parent or guardian signature on a "letter of enrollment agreement form";

(4) Registration of the student in the Student Information System (SIS) by school upon receipt of required enrollment forms and letter of enrollment agreement; and

(5) Receipt of educational services, which are deemed to begin on the first official school day.

(6) The LEA 's obligation to determine eligibility for special education services or to provide special education services on an existing IEP is triggered upon completion of registration (stage 4).

"Full school day"- The entirety of the instructional hours regularly provided on a single school day.

“Fully absent” - the designation for a school day when a student is not in attendance for the entire instructional day. This designation applies to both excused and unexcused full school day absences.

“Fully present” - the designation for a school day when a student is present for the entire instructional day.

"IDEA"- the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act", approved April 13, 1970 (84 Stat. 191; 20 U.S.C.

§ 1400. et seq.)

"Late arrival"- arrival by a student at the educational institution after the official start of the school day as defined by the educational institution.

" LEA " -  or Local Educational Agency- the District of Columbia Public Schools or a District of Columbia public charter operator.

"Marking period"- a portion of a school year between two dates, at the conclusion of which period students are graded or marked.

"McKinney-Vento"- the "McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, approved July 22, 1987 (101 Stat 482; 42 U.S.C. §§ 11431-11435).

“Module” -- A subdivision of the instructional day (as defined in 5-A DCMR § 2100.3) for distance learning.

“Office of the State Superintendent of Education” - The State Education Agency (SEA) for the District of Columbia established by the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000, effective October 21, 2000 (D.C. Official Code §§ 38-2601 et seq.), with all operational authority for state-level functions, except that delegated to the State Board of Education in D.C. Official Code § 38-2652.

"OSSE"- The Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

“Output” - an instructional activity completed by the student during a module of distance learning that reflects the instruction delivered in that module.

"Parent"- A parent, guardian, or other person who resides in the District and who has custody or control of a minor five (5) years of age or older.

"Partially absent” - the designation for a school day when a student is present for less than sixty percent (60%) of the instructional day but did attend at least part of the school day.  This designation applies to both excused and unexcused absence.

“Partially present” -- the designation for a school day when a student is present for at least sixty percent (60%) of the instructional day but not the full day, regardless of whether the absent period was excused.

"Present"- A school day when the student is either fully present or partially present. 

“Routine distance” - the use of distance instruction by a school on a regular or otherwise routine and predictable, nonemergency, basis.

"Section 504"- Section 504 of the "Rehabilitation Act of 1973", approved September 26, 1973 (87 Stat.

394; 29 U.S.C. § 794.).

" STEM " - educational instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. "Truant"- A school-age child who is absent from school without a legitimate excuse for absence.

“Situational distance” - the use of distance instruction by a school otherwise providing in-person instruction to address a temporary, emergency need.

“Synchronous” - in synchronous modules, teaching and learning occur simultaneously such that the teacher is able to react and respond to students in the moment and vice-versa.

"Truant" - "- a student of compulsory attendance age, as defined by D.C. Official Code § 38-202(a), who is not in attendance for an entire instructional school day without a valid excuse for absence pursuant to Section 2102.2 of this chapter.

“Truancy” -- the act or pattern of being truant from school for an entire instructional school day without a valid excuse (an unexcused full school day absence).

“Unexcused absence” -- the designation of a day when a student is either fully absent or partially absent without a valid excuse.

B2103. Truancy.

2103.1 District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) elementary and secondary students who have one unexcused absence from homeroom where attendance has been taken for purposes of the Compulsory School Attendance Act shall receive appropriate absenteeism protocol interventions initiated by classroom or homeroom teachers, pursuant to the Act.

2103.2 Half-day schedules for students attending DCPS are governed by the following requirements:

(a) Half day schedules are permitted for employed students aged seventeen (17) or older whose hours of employment fall within the regular school day;

(b) Half day schedules are permitted for secondary students attending one of the local colleges or universities;

(c) In order for a half-day schedule to be approved, the student's employment and work hours or college schedule must be verified by the local school. Students who are not employed or attending one of the local colleges or universities will have a full course schedule, as will those whose employment begins after regular school hours.2103.3 DCPS students accumulating thirty (30) or more unexcused absences within a full school year shall only be promoted if they meet an exception set forth in D.C. Official Code §§ 38-781.02(c) or 38- 781.05.

2103.4 DCPS secondary students with ten (10) unexcused absences in any class shall receive an initial written notice that they are at risk of receiving a grade of "FA" (failure due to absences) in that subject upon accumulating more than thirty (30) unexcused absences unless an exception applies.

2103.5 DCPS secondary students with fifteen (15) unexcused absences in any class shall receive an additional written warning that they are at risk of receiving a grade of "FA" (failure due to absences) in that subject upon accumulating more than thirty (30) unexcused absences.

2103.6 DCPS secondary students accumulating more than thirty (30) unexcused absences in a course within a full school year shall receive a failing final grade in that course with a resulting loss of course credit.

2103.7 A written appeal may be filed by a parent or student on behalf of any student receiving a failing grade(s) due to unexcused absences.

2103.8 An appeal filed pursuant to § 2103.7 shall be submitted to the principal of the school attended or to a designee of the Chancellor within ten (10) school days after receipt of the failing grade(s).

2103.9 Upon receipt of an appeal filed pursuant to § 2103.7, the principal or Chancellor's designee shall appoint an Appeals Panel and shall forward all written appeal requests to the panel chairperson within three (3) school days.

2103.10 The Appeals Panel referenced in § 2103.9 shall consist of not less than three (3) members to be selected from the following, one of which shall be from category (a):

(a) A person designated by the principal or Chancellor's designee, who shall be the panel chairperson;

(b) A guidance counselor;

(c) A department chairperson;

(d) A teacher, other than the one involved in the matter being appealed;

(e) An attendance staff person; or

(f) A representative from DCPS central office administration.

2103.11 Substitutions of no more than two (2) members of the Appeals Panel described in § 2103.10 may be made when necessary.

2103.12 The Appeals Panel shall hold a hearing within ten (10) school days after its appointment by the principal or Chancellor's designee.

2103.13 The student, his or her parent, guardian or duly authorized representative shall appear at the hearing to represent the student. One of these individuals shall be given the opportunity to present the student's case and, upon request, to question the involved teacher and to be duly informed of the panel's recommendations.

2103.14 Each appeals panelist, including the chair, shall have an equal vote; however, two (2) voting members can render a decision.

2103.15 In the case of a tie vote, the initial grade is deemed to be upheld by the Appeals Panel.

2103.16 The Appeals Panel's recommendation shall be forwarded immediately to the principal or Chancellor's designee who shall issue the Panel's decision within ten (10) school days after the hearing.

2103.17 The student, his or her parent or guardian, or duly authorized representative may appeal the decision of the Appeals Panel by writing to the Chancellor's official grade appeal designee within ten (10) school days after receipt of the decision.

2103.18 When an appeal is filed pursuant to § 2103.17, the Chancellor's official grade appeal designee shall review all documentation submitted and issue the final administrative decision in the matter.

2103.19 The following procedural guidelines shall apply to appeals reviewed pursuant to § 2103.18:

(a) The burden to show why the grade(s) in question should be changed shall be on the student or his or her parent or guardian;

(b) Strict rules of evidence shall not apply; and

(c)  A written determination shall be issued within five (5) school days of the review and consideration of all submitted evidence.

5-B2500. General policy.

2500.6 Options for prevention, intervention, and remediation shall include, but not be limited to:

(b) Attendance intervention plans.

B2502. Grounds for disciplinary action.

2502.1 Tier I behaviors are those behaviors that are insubordinate or cause minor disruptions to the academic environment but do not involve damage to school property or harm to self or others. Tier I behaviors result in classroom-level disciplinary responses that may be elevated to administrative response if they are not successfully abated by the teacher or the appropriate school-level committee.

(a) The following behaviors shall be considered Tier I behaviors:

(5) Unexcused lateness for school or class. [...]

2502.2 Tier II behaviors are those behaviors not specifically enumerated in any other tier in this chapter that cause disruption to the academic environment, involve damage to school property, or may cause minor harm to self or others. Tier II behaviors result in school-based and administrative disciplinary responses.

(a) The following behaviors shall be considered Tier II behaviors:

(6) Unexcused absence from class;

(8) Unexcused absence from school.

5-B2504. Policy for suspensions and expulsions.

2504.8 In accordance with the An Act To provide for compulsory school attendance, for the taking of a school census in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes, approved February 4, 1925 (43 Stat. 806; D.C. Official Code § 38-201 et seq.), all children of compulsory school age are required to attend school or receive an equivalent education approved by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Notwithstanding the parent's responsibility to ensure that the child attends a school, a student may be subject to Suspension or Expulsion from DCPS pursuant to this chapter.

5-E2402. Code of student responsibilities and conduct.

2402.9 A student shall respect the educational process and learning environment of others by refraining from intentional or habitual tardiness, unexcused absences, or other activities that diminish the rights of others and the opportunity for other students to receive an education and obtain the maximum benefit from a public education.

 

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