Report an Absence
The BECCA Law
Effective the 1995-96 school year, the BECCA Law revised the procedures for enforcing the State Compulsory Attendance Law. It requires the reporting of unexcused absences and the filing of petitions with the juvenile court to reduce truancy. The BECCA bill assists parents and the school in keeping students in school with the support of the juvenile court system, police and outside agencies.
Policies and Procedures
Along with implementing the BECCA Law, NMS has an attendance policy designed to help students develop and practice responsible attendance habits and increase their potential for academic success. We appreciate our parents' understanding and support in notifying the Attendance Office when a student is absent. The following are steps that we will take to help students maximize their educational experiences:
- Attendance will be taken in the first ten minutes each period in each class.
- Students who arrive to class 20 minutes late or later will be marked absent.
- Truant students will have consequences outlines in this policy.
- One (1) unexcused absence within a month results in a phone call to the parent or guardian.
- Two (2) unexcused absences within a month will result in a letter being sent home.
- This letter asks the parent to contact the school to set up a conference.
- Seven (7) unexcused absences within a month or ten (10) unexcused absences during the year may result in a petition being filed by the school with the juvenile court system.
- Excessive absences (excused and unexcused) will result in a letter of "concern" being sent home and may be referred to our Truancy Intervention Program Specialist.
- 20 consecutive absences will result in the withdrawal of the student from NMS who subsequently cannot be counted as enrolled according to WAC.392.121.108.
What Should I do if I am Absent?
If you are absent . . . Have your parent or legal guardian call the 24-hour Attendance line at (425) 408-6710 or use the Online Absence Notification Form each day. If that is not possible, bring a note signed by your parent or guardian within 48 hours of your return to school. The note must include a REASON why the student was not in school. Take the note to the Attendance office when you arrive at school. Failure to bring a note is considered truancy.
If you know you are going to be absent for three or more consecutive days . . . Have your parent or legal guardian write a note indicating the reason for your planned absence and the specific dates you will be gone. Pick up a "Pre-Arranged Absence Form" in the Attendance Office. Have each teacher sign the form and turn it in to the Attendance Office for a copy to be made and kept.
What is an Excused Absence?
The Northshore School Board, in Policy No. 3122, directs the schools to accept the following as valid reasons to excuse a student from the state requirement to attend school daily.
- Illness or health condition, verified by parent
- Family emergency, verified by parent
- Religious observance, request by parent
- School-approved activity (like a field trip)
- Disciplinary suspension or expulsion
- Travel, with prior parent notification to the Attendance office
School administration is authorized to determine whether an absence may be excused. They may decide this based solely on the criteria defined above.
What Happens if I am Truant (Unexcused Absence)?
If you have an unexcused absence or are truant--
- Truancy is defined as being absent from school or class without the consent of the parent(s), or absent from school or class once arriving on the campus without the knowledge and consent of the school.
- Leaving class or school without going through your teacher and the Attendance Office will be considered truant and be subject to discipline.
- Three (3) unexcused tardies will result in After School Detention or Saturday School. Repeat offenders will follow our progressive disciplinary process.
- A call home and student is assigned two (2) or four (4) hours of Saturday School.
- A call home and four (4) hours of Saturday School will be assigned.
- Parent conference.
- Possible suspension or expulsion.
- Students with attendance problems may be referred to the Juvenile court system under the BECCA Bill.
- Students can face court-imposed discipline and the family can be fined for each absence.
20 Consecutive Truant Days
- Any student who is absent for twenty (20) consecutive school days will be withdrawn from Northshore Middle School. See WAC.392.121.108.
What If I Arrive late or Need to leave Early?
If you are late to school...
Upon arriving at school bring a written note from a parent/guardian to the Attendance Office telling why you were tardy. Only medical and dental appointments or illnesses are excused. Failure to bring an excuse is considered truancy. For your convenience, we provide a downloadable Absence/Tardy Note on our website.
If you are late to class ...
Get a note or pass from the teacher who kept you. Infraction slips will be given to students without a note or pass.
If you need an early dismissal...
A note or verification from your parent or guardian must be brought to the Attendance Office before school the morning of your early dismissal. You will be given a pass to leave class at the appropriate time. Come to the Attendance Office to meet your parent and they will sign you out on the Early Dismissal Log Sheet.
If you need to go home...
Students must check out in the Attendance Office before leaving campus. Students who need to go home because of illness must check out with the school nurse. A parent or guardian must go to the Attendance Office and sign a student out of school.
Download the state attendance letter (PDF file)
The contents of this letter is given below. If you are struggling to get your child to school for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW
- State law requires children from age 8 to 17 to attend school.
- Children that are 6- or 7-years-old, who are enrolled in school, must also attend school.
- Youth who are 16 or older may be excused from attending school if they meet certain requirements.
If your child is going to be absent, please contact the school.
SCHOOL’S DUTIES UPON A STUDENT’S ABSENCES
- If your child has two unexcused absences in one month, state law (RCW 28A.225.020) requires we
- schedule a conference with you and your child.
- In elementary school after five excused absences in any month, or ten or more excused absences in the school year, the school district is required to contact you to schedule a conference. A conference is not required if your child has provided a doctor’s note, or pre-arranged the absence in writing, and plans are in place so your child does not fall behind academically.
- If your child has seven unexcused absences in any month or ten unexcused absences within the school year, we are required to file a Petition with the Juvenile court, alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010, the mandatory attendance laws. You and your child may need to appear in Juvenile Court.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Attending school on-time, all day, every day will give your child the best chance of graduating from high school.
- Starting in kindergarten, missing on average just 2 days a month, whether excused or unexcused, makes it more likely that your child will not meet academic standards in math and reading by third grade.
- By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
- Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing
- with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
- By 9th grade, regular attendance is a better predictor of high school graduation rates than 8th grade
- test scores.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or a contagious rash.
- Avoid appointments and travel when school is in session.
- Keep track of your child’s attendance. Missing more than 9 days, excused or unexcused, could put your
- child at risk of falling behind.
- Set a regular bedtime and morning routine as well as finishing homework and packing backpacks the
- night before.
- Have a back-up plan in place with family members, neighbors, or other parents for getting your child to
- school in case something comes up.
If you are struggling to get your child to school for any reason, we are here to support you and work with you towards possible solutions. Please do not hesitate to contact the school to schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s attendance.
Download and sign this letter. Your signature will indicate that you have read (or someone read it to you) and understand this letter.