OMS Parent Student Handbook - Attendance Laws, Policies and Procedures
Overlook Middle School
The Ashburnham-Westminster School District considers regular attendance in school as most important for the student to receive these benefits:
- skilled dissemination of knowledge,
- socialization with other students in a structured setting,
- lively classroom interaction,
- varied enrichment activities,
- cultural awareness and diversity,
- academic success.
- The compulsory school attendance law in Massachusetts requires all students between the ages of seven and sixteen to be registered in school and be in regular attendance. Specifically Massachusetts General Law, Ch. 76, sec. 2 reads “Every person in control of a child shall cause him to attend school as therein required......” A student who misses more than one-half of a school day is defined as absent for the entire day.
- Ch. 76, S.1. reads, “Necessary absences by a student may not exceed 7 days or 14 half days in any six month period.” A death in the family, health professional appointment, religious holiday, required court appearance or illness with proper documentation are considered excusable reasons for being absent from or tardy to school. Parents are discouraged from scheduling vacations when school is in session.
- In the case of absence, the parent should call the school to report the child’s absence. For the protection of the student, parent, and the school, the school will make calls to the homes of students who are listed absent and whose parents have not called.
- Upon the student’s return to school, the student must bring a note from home including the full name, date(s) absent, reason for the absence, and the signature of the parent/guardian. This note must be brought to the office. A note is not required if you made a phone call.
- If a student is absent for more than five consecutive days due to illness, a doctor’s note may be required.
- If your child is going to be out of school for two or more days due to illness, parents may call the school before 9:00 am to have homework available by 2:00 pm.
- Students will not be allowed to participate in after school activities if they are absent for more than half a day on the day of the activity. Students must be in school by 11:00 am.
- Truancy cases require a parent/guardian to accompany the student back to school and the child will make up for lost time on succeeding days.
- Students must provide the nurse and physical education staff with a medical note from a doctor in order to be excused from PE class. Notes from a parent will not be accepted.
The Administration will work to promote 100% student attendance. In the event that the student exhibits patterns of habitual absences, the following policy will be enforced:
- At the culmination of 4 unexcused absences or tardies, a parent contact may be made via phone;
- At the culmination of 8 unexcused absences or tardies, a second contact may be made via letter to request a parent/administrator conference;
- At the culmination of 12 unexcused absences or tardies, a CRA (Child Requiring Assistance) application may be filed with the Fitchburg Juvenile Court.
- Any student arriving at school after 7:35 am will be considered late and must report to the office for admittance slip to class;
- When a student does arrive late, a note of explanation should be presented to the office. Excused reasons include a death in the family, health professional appointment, religious holiday, required court appearance or illness with proper documentation Unexcused reasons include but are not limited to: oversleeping, missing the bus (unless it is the bus company’s fault), family vacations etc...;
- Excessive tardiness will require a meeting with the parent/guardian to alleviate the problem.
Early Dismissal Request
If you are going to be dismissed while classes are in session, you must bring a written request from home to the main office when you arrive at school to receive a dismissal pass. The note must state the reason for the dismissal and the time. You must report to the main office before leaving the building to give your signed dismissal pass to the office. You will be released only to the adult specified in the note. The adult also must report to the main office before you will be released.
Absentee lists are checked to make sure the student is legitimately absent. Once you are truant, the following consequences will apply:
- Administration will contact parent or guardian;
- Student will be responsible for the completion of all class work with a potential reduction in credit;
- In-school counseling may be recommended;
- An administrative detention will be given for each day truant;
- Repeated truancy for students under eighteen years of age will result in the filing of a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) application with the court.
CRA (Child Requiring Assistance)
When a child between the ages of 6 and 18 repeatedly fails to obey the lawful and reasonable regulations of the child's school or is habitually truant, the school may initiate a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) application for assistance in court stating that said child is not excused from attendance in accordance with the lawful and reasonable regulations of such child's school, has willfully failed to attend school for more than 8 school days in a quarter or repeatedly fails to obey the lawful and reasonable regulations of the child's school.