The Octorara Area School District believes that a student’s education is vital to be a successful member of society. We cannot stress strongly enough that your child’s attendance is paramount to his/her success. Moreover, the State of Pennsylvania has attendance laws that we are required to enforce.
The Pennsylvania Compulsory Attendance Law states that a child between the ages of 8 and 17 must attend school on a daily basis. The only exceptions are for illness, doctors’ appointments, family emergency, funerals, religious holidays, and suspensions. All other absences are considered unexcused.
In order for one of the above reasons to be considered excused by law, the parent/guardian must present a note, stating the student’s name, date of absence and the reason, and be signed by the parent. This note must be turned in to the main office within three (3) days of the student’s return to school. The principal of the school building (or his designee) approves or denies the excuses.
If a student is under 17, the School District is required to consider the unexcused absences as unlawful. The School District is required to cite the parent (and if 13 or over, the child) to the local court for truancy violations following the fourth unlawful absence. If the student is 17 or over, the student will be dropped from the school rolls for non-attendance following ten consecutive days of absence.
In addition to state law, Octorara Area School District has an attendance policy which limits the number of total absences (excused and unexcused). At the secondary level, if a student is absent from a year-long class for more than 20 days, or from a semester class for more than 10 days, the student will automatically fail the class. Exceptions to this policy are extended illnesses (4 days or more), funerals, religious holidays, and suspensions.
Families are permitted to take their children on one educational or family trip per school year. The maximum number of days permitted as excused absent is five. Additional days will be considered unexcused. An application requesting such absence must be filled out in advance of the trip for the days to be counted “excused.” The building principal will approve each trip application individually.
We are proud to offer your child an optimal education and the skills necessary to be a successful, responsible member of society in a safe, secure environment. A child can only learn and thrive in school if he/she is present for instruction. Thus, we appreciate you promoting your child’s daily attendance. Be sure to verify the school’s attendance, trip and tardy policy in your student’s handbook at the beginning of the year. Please feel free to call the building principal with any questions that you might have.