ATTENDANCE IS A REQUIREMENT.
Virginia law on compulsory school attendance (Article 1, 22.1-254) states "Every parent, guardian, or other person in the Commonwealth having control or charge of any child who will have reached the fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and who has not passed the eighteenth birthday shall, during the period of each year the public schools are in session and for the same number of days and hours per day as the public schools, send such child…”
Va. Code 22.1-258 states if a student misses five unexcused days of school, then a plan must be developed to resolve the child’s truancy problems. If the student misses another day (6th unexcused absence), then a conference must be held with the parents and the student within fifteen days of the sixth absence. Failure of the parent to cooperate with the school could result in charges against the parent. If the student is absent for a seventh time without the parent’s awareness or support, then the attendance officer must initiate juvenile court proceedings. The attendance officer must do either or both of the following:
- file a complaint with the juvenile and domestic relations court alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision
- institute proceedings against the parent
Students who choose not to attend school on a regular basis will be considered truant. Truancy is a violation of the law and after 3 unexcused absences per nine weeks, an attendance meeting will be held with the attendance officer, guidance counselor, parent and student. After the first attendance meeting, if unexcused absences continue to accrue, a follow-up meeting will be held. If unexcused absences continue, an appointment with truancy intake may take place.
Students will be counted absent if they miss 15 minutes or more of a class. Students who come to class 15 minutes or later, without a written excuse, will be given an unexcused absence. If this occurs, students may also be referred to the administration for cutting class.
When a student is absent for any reason, he/she must check in with the main office upon returning to school. The main office staff will provide the student a pass to enter his/her classes throughout the day.
If the reason for absence is not communicated with the high school office (phone call, email, note, and/or in person) within three school days of the student returning, the absence will be considered unexcused. The note/email needs to include:
- student's full name
- date or dates of absence
- reason for the absence
- parent's/guardian's signature
- telephone number where parents can be contacted.
Daily attendance is imperative to the instructional process and for the student to receive the maximum benefit. Parents/guardians are asked to call the school before 7:25 AM on any day a student is unable to attend school. The school's main office via the automated PowerSchool system will attempt to call the parents of all students who are not in school each day.
In addition to phone calls, written notification will be sent home when students have reached three, five, and seven unexcused/unverified full day absences per semester.
DROPOUTS AND TRUANTS
Students who choose to drop out of school or do not attend school on a regular basis will forfeit their right to return to school for the purpose of attending school functions (i.e., dances, etc.).
If a student plans to leave school during the school day, he/she must give the main office a note/email from his/her parent/guardian prior to school starting on the day of the early dismissal. Only in emergencies and at the administration's discretion, will early dismissals be approved by phone during the school day. The excuse should contain:
- student's full name
- date of early dismissal
- reason for early dismissal
- parent/guardian signature
- telephone number where parent/guardian can be contacted
The student and/or guardian needs to sign the student out in the office or provide a note/email from the parent.
ILLNESS DURING THE SCHOOL DAY
If a student should become ill during the school day, he/she must report to the nurse’s office, which will contact his/her parent/guardian. No student is allowed to leave school without the administration obtaining parent/guardian permission. The student needs parent permission to leave early.
To pre‑arrange an absence a student should obtain an application form from the main office, have each teacher sign it and return it to the main office prior to the day of the absence. Absences may be pre‑arranged for family vacations, college visits, court appearances, medical appointments and job interviews. Students who document college visits or miss school to take entrance exams to post-secondary programs (including the military) will not be counted absent for the day. These absences must be pre-arranged. If the absence occurs without prior approval the absence will be considered unexcused.
TARDY TO CLASS
Manassas Park High School will provide a warning bell that will ring one minute before the final class tardy bell. Students are expected to be in every class on time every day. Two unexcused tardies (less than 15 minutes late) will result in after school detention. An unexcused tardy in excess of 15 minutes will be considered an unexcused absence.