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10.17.P.1 Truancy
PROCEDURE PROCEDURE

Reference:
Section 10.17 - Policy

 

Definitions

Truancy is an unexcused absence for at least one class period during the school day or when a student is absent from school during the hours school is in session, unless excused pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-802. 

Unauthorized Absence/Truancy/Leaving Campus without Authorization is also known as ditching or skipping class/school. Dysart schools are closed campuses which means that students must remain on the school campus, attend all assigned classes and lunch periods unless otherwise authorized by school administration.

Absences – Elementary
  1. A parent/guardian should contact the school’s 24-hour absence reporting line prior to the beginning of the school day when a child will be absent. 
  2. All unreported absences will be documented as “unexcused” absences. The school will attempt to contact parents/guardians within the first two hours of the school day, in order to ensure student safety and in an attempt to document an absence reason (A.R.S. § 15-807). 
  3. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-803, a child can only be excused when he/she is accompanied by a parent or a person authorized by a parent. 
  4. A parent/guardian is the only person who may verify an unexcused absence. Unexcused absences may be verified by the parent/guardian by phone, in person, or in writing to the school office within 24 hours of a student returning to school from an absence. 
  5. Any absence that has not been verified by a parent/guardian within 24 hours will be considered unexcused.
  6. A student who independently chooses not to attend school is considered truant and cannot be excused by the parent. 
  7. Arizona Revised Statute § 15-803 defines absences as “excessive” when the number of absent days exceeds 10% of the number of required attendance days. For example, on a 180-day school calendar, excessive absences would equal 18 or more days absent. These include both excused and unexcused absences. 
  8. When a student is excessively absent, disciplinary action will occur based on the Discipline Matrix provided in the Parent/Student Handbook.  Parents will be notified by letter for excessive accumulation of absences. 

Absences - High School
  1. A parent/guardian should contact the school’s 24-hour absence reporting line prior to the beginning of the school day when a child will be absent. 
  2. All unreported absences will be documented as “unexcused” absences. The school will attempt to contact parents/guardians within the first two hours of the school day, in order to ensure student safety and in an attempt to document an absence reason (A.R.S. § 15-807). 
  3. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-803, a child can only be excused when he/she is accompanied by a parent or a person authorized by a parent. 
  4. A parent/guardian is the only person who may verify an unexcused absence. Unexcused absences may be verified by the parent/guardian by phone, in person, or in writing to the school office within 24 hours of a student returning to school from an absence. 
  5. Any absence that has not been verified by a parent/guardian within 24 hours will be considered unexcused. 
  6. A student who independently chooses not to attend school is considered truant and cannot be excused by the parent. 
  7. Arizona Revised Statute § 15-803 defines absences as “excessive” when the number of absent days exceeds 10% of the number of required attendance days. For example, on a 180-day school calendar, excessive absences would equal 18 or more days absent. These include both excused and unexcused absences. 
  8. When a student is excessively absent, disciplinary action will occur based on the Discipline Matrix provided in the Parent/Student Handbook. 

Loss of Credit 
  1. A student who is absent from any given class 10 or more times, either excused or unexcused, per semester may not receive academic credit for that class. (A.R.S. § 15-802 and A.R.S. § 15-803) 
  2. An appeal process is in place for those students who have extenuating circumstances. 
  3. Please note that official documentation, such as doctor’s note will be required to file an appeal. 
  4. Students who are under the age of 16 and have 10 or more absences may be cited to court for excessive absences. 
  5. Parents will be notified by letter when students accumulate 3, 5, 10, 15 and 18 absences. 

Court Unified Truancy Suppression
To encourage and improve school attendance, Dysart Unified School District has a partnership with Maricopa County Juvenile Court. This truancy program is called C.U.T.S. (Court Unified Truancy Suppression).
  • Any unexcused absence will count as a truant day.  
  • A student is “habitually truant” if he/she has five or more unexcused absences from school. 
  • A student that is absent more than 10 percent (18 days) of the required number of school days per year is considered to have “excessive absences” whether the absence is excused or unexcused. 
  • When a student has five or more unexcused absences or 18 excessive absences (excused OR unexcused), the student may be cited to the CUTS Program through the Juvenile Court. 
  • If the student is cited, an attendance hearing will be held with representatives from Dysart Unified School District and the Juvenile Court. Consequences at the hearing may include the following: required attendance of the parent and the child at an education class (to be held on Saturdays), work hours assigned to the child, counseling, etc. The parent may be assessed a $50 Diversion Fee. 
  • Failure to complete these consequences may result in suspension of the student’s driver’s license, or inability to get a driver’s license until the 18th birthday and/or formal court proceedings. If convicted in a formal court proceeding, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by jail time and/or fine.