In December 2016, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 410. This bill is intended to define and prevent excessive absenteeism (including late arrivals and early dismissals) and to outline procedures schools must take to track and intervene when attendance issues arise.
The most important thing for you to understand is that schools are now required to track student attendance in terms of hours instead of days. When a student is absent between 8:50 and 3:15, those minutes will accumulate into hours eventually reachign one of two levels of absenteeism: Habitual Truancy or Excessive Absenteeism.
Habitual Truancy is defined as:
- Absent 30 or more consecutive hours without a legitimate excuse
- Absent 42 or more hours in one school month without a legitimate excuse
- Absent 72 or more hours in one school year without a legitimate excuse
Excessive Absence is defined as:
- Absent 38 or more hours in one school month with or without a legitimate excuse
- Absent 65 or more hours in one school year with or without a legitimate excuse
According to the Ohio Revised Code, legitimate excuses can include:
- Personal illness
- Death of a relative
- Illness in the family
- Quarantine of the home
- Medical/dental appointments
- Pre-approved absences
- Observance of a religious holiday
- Medical leave ordered by a doctor
Please note that the total hours of absences, whether legitimate or not will acculumate and trigger contact from the school regarding either Habitual Truancy or Excessive Absenteeism when the limits stated above are met. An intervention team, including parents, must then work to create and implement an absence intervention plan to improve attendance and avoid a possible referral to the juvenile court system.