Parents are encouraged to notify the school on the day their child is absent. A note stating the reason for absence or lateness is required within two school days of the student’s return, or the absence is automatically classified as unlawful. Students who were absent from school have the responsibility to request make-up work within two days of their return.
Absences considered lawful and therefore excused, as described in the Public School Laws and Code of Bylaws of the Maryland State Board of Education, are:
- Illness of the student (doctor’s verification may be required)
- Death in the immediate family
- Court summons
- Hazardous weather condition
- Work or activity accepted by the school authorities
- Observance of religious holiday
- State emergency
- Lack of authorized transportation
- Health exclusion
- Other emergency (judgment of Superintendent or designee)
Students who take trips with their parents may be excused no more than twice during a year for a combined maximum of five days. Visits by students to prospective colleges are excused up to four days per year. In unusual circumstances, a principal may allow additional visits with excused absences.
Absences other than those cited as lawful, including “playing hookey,” are presumed to be unlawful and may constitute truancy.
Parents will be notified on the fifth day of an unlawful absence. If the absence continues for more than five days, the student will fail all subjects for the term in which the absence occurred. Parents will also be notified on the tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth days of a student’s unlawful absence.
Students with more than five unlawful absences in any 9‑week grading period will automatically fail for that grading period. When a student has reached three days or classes of unlawful absences in any marking period, the principal will mail a letter to the parents or guardians alerting them to the impending failure.
Middle and high school students who are unlawfully absent more than 10 days for a semester course or more than 20 days for a year-long course and who do nothing to make up the lost time will lose credit regardless of grades earned. Students with excessive absences may be required to present a doctor’s verification for each day absent for illness for the remainder of the year.
High school students whose absences place them in danger of losing credit for the school year can reinstate themselves by attending Saturday School. Attendance at each 3 1/2-hour Saturday School session will earn the student a half-day credit. Saturday School is also used as an option in the disciplinary process for students. Individual schools have the option to participate in this program.
A student is counted present for a full day if the student is in attendance four hours or more of the school day. A student is counted present for 1/2 day if in attendance for at least two hours of the school day, but less than four hours.
A student scheduled for less than a full day is to be counted present based on the amount of time he/she is scheduled.