Attendance at school is essential for maximum success. Absences due to illness, quarantine, death in the family, impassable roads, pre-approved family educational travel/education tours/trips, and school board approved observance of a religious holiday are excused. A written request from the parent/guardian for educational trips and religious holidays must be received and approved by administration prior to the date of the absence. Other excuses for absence are classified as unexcused and unlawful. These excuses will be reviewed by the Principal/Designee to determine if the absence is excused or unexcused. All absences will be recorded as unlawful for students under the age of seventeen (17). In the case of excessive excused absence, a doctor’s excuse may be required. When the first unlawful absence is recorded, an official notice is served on the parent/guardian. Additional unlawful absences may result in arrest and fines for violation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Compulsory School Attendance Law.
Upon returning to school, students are required to bring in an excuse note signed by the parent/guardian including the dates of and the reason for the absence. All excuses should be sent to the Attendance Secretary or to the homeroom teacher. If such an excuse is not presented within three (3) days, the absence will be considered unlawful, and the student and parent/guardian may be subject to all penalties specified in Section 1333 of the Pennsylvania School Code.
Tardiness or being late for school, between 8:10 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. each day, is detrimental to a student’s academic success. Late students and the student’s parent/guardian must report to the main office window upon arrival and the time of arrival will be recorded by the office secretaries. Students who arrive at school after the end of homeroom must report to the Main Office for a pass.
Early dismissals, or being excused from school between 2:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. each day, is detrimental to a student’s academic success. These students and the student’s parent/guardian will have to come to the main office window and sign out before they may leave. The time of dismissal will be recorded by the secretaries.
Any student arriving between 9:00 A.M. or leaving before 2:00 P.M. shall be marked one-half day absent.
The following is a list of consequences for habitual tardiness:
1st tardy: Warning (verbal)
2nd tardy: Warning (written)
3rd tardy: Lunch Detention
4th tardy: Detention
5th tardy: Detention
6th tardy: Half Day In-School-Suspension
7th tardy: In-School-Suspension (ISS)
These are minimum standards. If a pattern of absences or tardiness develops with repeated infractions of unexcused absences or tardiness, additional disciplinary action may be taken at the discretion of the principal or assistant principal. Such actions may include loss of privileges such as participation on athletic teams, field trips, attendance at school dances, and so forth.\
Students who are not in attendance on a school day or who have a tardy that has not been excused by the principal or assistant principal are not eligible to participate in extra‑curricular activities on that day which includes sports, activities, and dances.
Excused Tardies: The only excused tardies to school will be those whereby students present a statement from a doctor, dentist, etc. that they had an appointment that morning or the situation is determined to be an emergency by the principal or assistant principal. (Note: car trouble, oversleeping, missing the bus, etc. are not emergencies).
The Western Wayne School Truancy Elimination Program (STEP) is an inter-disciplinary approach designed to reduce excessive student absences from school. The goal of the STEP program is to reduce the overall rate of absenteeism. The STEP program is a school-based intervention for students and families who are in danger of magisterial citation due to truancy. The STEP team consists of administration, teachers, counselors, school nurse, children and youth services, social worker, probation, Wayne County Office of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention, and Magisterial court. The function of the STEP team is to organize meetings with student and families when the student’s absences have reached the truant level as defined by the PA Compulsory Attendance Law. In lieu of an initial citation to the district magistrate for truancy charges, the student and family will be required to attend a STEP meeting at the school. At this meeting, the team will discuss with the student and family the issues and concerns relating to the student’s absences, academic performance, and behavioral concerns.
The team will also be responsible for:
- Educating the student and family on the negative effects of habitual absenteeism
- Offering and/or coordinating services for the student and family both in and out of school
- Developing and drafting a truancy elimination plan with the student and family
- Monitoring and evaluating the plan
Western Wayne School District – School Truancy Elimination Plan (STEP)
UNLAWFUL ABSENCE PROGRESSION
Unlawful Absence First Notification/Action
- Letter sent to parent/guardian outlining Pennsylvania School Code provisions for school attendance and the Western Wayne School District attendance policy.
Unlawful Absence Second Notification/Action
- Letter sent to parent/guardian informing them of Pennsylvania School Code/Western Wayne Attendance Policy violation
Unlawful Absence Third Notification/Action
- Certified letter sent home to parent/guardian informing them of Pennsylvania School Code/Western Wayne School District Attendance Policy and STEP procedures.
- Parent/guardian contacted to attend a conference with the STEP team
- Phone conferences are acceptable and will be documented
Unlawful Absence Fourth Notification/Action
- Parent/guardian contacted by the STEP team to review the truancy elimination plan that is in place as well as to review the progression of actions following additional unlawful absence(s).
Unlawful Absence Fifth Notification/Action
- Citation filed with magistrate for truancy
- Copy to be provided to Wayne County Children and Youth Services and cc: SAP team
If parent(s)/guardian(s) do not participate in a STEP meeting after the Unlawful Absence Third Notification/Action
- Complaint filed with the magistrate
Every 3 subsequent unlawful absences
- Complaint filed with the magistrate
10 Cumulative Absences
- Certified letter sent home to parent/guardian
- Copy provided to Wayne County Children and Youth Services
- Required attendance at STEP meeting in school with parent/guardian and student present
Any cumulative absence over 10 total days for a middle school student will require a written medical excuse from a physician or it will be considered unlawful.
ABSENCES FOR TEMPORARY PERIODS
The following are excused absences:
Religious holiday observed by bona fide religious groups when requested in writing by the parent/guardian; the name and date of the holiday must be included.
Religious instruction for a maximum of 36 hours per year when requested in writing by the parent/guardians or guardians
When approved by the administration, students may be granted time for medical, dental, or other health care appointments requested in writing by the parent/guardian and verified by the practitioner. For this section, such excuses shall be granted when:
- The health or therapeutic services are to be rendered by Pennsylvania licensed practitioners.
- It is not practical or possible for the student to receive services outside of school hours.
- The time of necessary absence from school involves a minimum of interference with the student’s regular program of studies.
Serious illness or recovery from an accident as documented by a licensed practitioner
Quarantine of the home
Death in the family; limited to three (3) days per occurrence (exceptions may be granted by the principal)
Court appointments and court appearances
Co-curricular and/or extra-curricular activities with teacher approval
A student shall be excused for participation in a project sponsored by a statewide or countrywide 4-H, FFA, or combined 4-H and FFA group, upon written request prior to the event
The district may recognize other justifiable absences. Other reasons for absence will be reviewed by a committee composed of members of the faculty and administration.All absences not listed as excused above or not recognized as excused by the review committee shall be deemed unlawful absence.