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3122 - Excused and Unexcused Absences

Students are expected to attend all assigned classes each day. Teachers shall keep an accurate record of absence and tardiness as set forth below.

Definition of Absence and Tardy

As used in this Regulation and accompanying Procedure 3122P, an “absence” means a student is not physically present on school grounds or is not in class.

The District will mark a student absent when the student has an absence for any full instructional hour for elementary students or any full class period for secondary students.

As used in this Regulation and accompanying Procedure 3122P, a “full-day absence” is when a student is marked absent for fifty-percent or more of their scheduled day.

As used in this Regulation and accompanying Procedure 3122P, a “tardy” is non-attendance for less than a full instructional hour for elementary students or less than a full class period for secondary students. The District will not convert or combine tardies into absences that contribute to a truancy petition.

Students shall not be absent if:

1.    They have been suspended, removed, or emergency removed pursuant to chapter 392- 400 WAC;
2.    Are receiving educational services as required by RCW 28A.600.015 and chapter 392- 400 WAC; and
3.    The student is enrolled in qualifying “course of study” activities as defined in WAC 392- 121-107.

Excused Absences

Regular school attendance is necessary for mastery of the educational program provided to students. Daily attendance and active participation in each class are critical parts  of  the  learning process. Students, at times, may appropriately be absent from class. The following principles shall govern the development and administration of attendance procedures within the District:

A.      Excused absences are absences due to:

1. Physical or mental health symptoms, illness, health condition or medical appointment for the student or person for whom the student is legally responsible. Examples of symptoms, illness, health conditions or medical appointments include, but are not limited to, medical, counseling, mental health wellness, dental, optometry, pregnancy, and behavioral health treatment (which can include in-patient or out-patient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health);
2. Family emergency, including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the family;
3. Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction;
4. Court, judicial proceeding or serving on a jury;
5. Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship interview;
6. State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055;
7. Absence directly related to the student’s homeless or foster care/dependency status;
8. Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 28A.705.010;
9. Absences due to suspensions, removals or emergency removals imposed pursuant to chapter 392-400 WAC if the student is not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying “’course of study” activities as defined in WAC 392-1212-107;
10. Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying;
11. Absences due to a student’s migrant status;
12. An approved activity that is consistent with District policy and is mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and a parent, guardian, or emancipated youth; and

A school principal or designee has the authority to determine if any absence meets the above criteria for an excused absence. The principal or designee may only grant permission for a student’s absence providing such absence does not adversely affect the student’s educational process.


B.      Assignments and/or activities not completed because of an excused absence or tardiness may be made up in the manner provided by the teacher. A student shall be allowed one make up day for each day of absence. Failure to punctually complete missed assignments will result in the loss of credit for those assignments. Students should note that not all types of work can be made up (special panels, guest speakers, etc.).

C.     An excused absence shall be verified by the parent or guardian, the student if legally emancipated, or school authority responsible for the absence. If attendance is taken electronically, either for a course conducted online or for students physically within the District, an absence will default to unexcused until such time as an excused absence  may be verified by a parent or other responsible adult. If a student is to be released for health care related to family planning or abortion, the student may require that the District keep the information confidential. Students thirteen and older have the right to keep information about drug, alcohol or mental health treatment confidential. Students fourteen and older have the same confidentiality rights regarding HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

Unexcused Absences

A. Any absence from school is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria above for an excused absence.
B. As a means of instilling values of responsibility and personal accountability, a student whose absence is not excused will experience the consequences of their absence. A student's grade may be affected if a graded activity or assignment occurs during the period of time when the student is absent.
C. The District’s procedures for addressing and attempting to ameliorate unexcused absences are set forth in Procedure 3122P.








Last Revised:


Related Procedures:

Cross References:


Chapter 28A.225 RCW Compulsory school attendance and admission

RCW 13.34.300 Relevance of failure to cause juvenile to attend school to neglect petition

Chapter 392-401 WAC Statewide definition of absence, excused and unexcused

Management Resources:

2012 - December Issue