Attendance is a vital aspect of successful learning. Students need to be in school daily, and absences must be kept to a minimum. Parents are encouraged to avoid situations where a youngster requires an early release from school or is absent from school for avoidable reasons. Unexcused absences are directly followed up by all schools through parent contact and coordination with appropriate community agencies. At the high school level, specific guidelines have been developed to stress the importance of daily attendance and participation. Regular school attendance is the responsibility of parents. Per Connecticut General Statutes 10-184 mandatory attendance is required for students age five to eighteen unless signed out by a parent. Parents of children age five and six have the option of not sending the child to school until the child is seven years of age. Parents may exercise such option by signing an option form annually at the child's district school.
Reporting Daily Student Absences
Each school makes a concerted effort daily to verify student absences by contacting the home. This is done in order to confirm that the student is absent for acceptable reasons and, as importantly, to check with parents to be sure that a child is not assumed to be in school. In order to be of assistance in verifying student absences, we strongly urge parents to call the school when their children are absent. The best time to do this is as early in the morning as possible. In those cases when parents do not call, the school staff will make every effort to contact the homes.
Unauthorized absence from school is considered truancy and will be treated as such. It is the parent's legal responsibility to ensure a student's regular attendance. Disciplinary action, when appropriate, shall be taken in such cases, beginning with notification of parents. Continued violation may lead to suspension from school. The Board of Education recognizes the importance of early intervention for students exhibiting truancy behavior. A "truant" means a child between the ages of 5 and 18 enrolled in a grade who has four (4) unexcused absences in one month, or ten (10) unexcused absences in one year. A "habitual truant" means any such child who has twenty (20) unexcused absences within a school year and will result in a referral to Juvenile Court. School personnel, wherever possible and as much as possible, will seek cooperation from parents and assist parents in remedying and preventing truancy.
Parental Requests for Early Dismissal
The Meriden Board of Education recognizes the tremendous importance time-on-task plays in a student's academic success and has committed significant resources to improving time-on-task in the Meriden Schools. The Board believes that regular requests by a parent or guardian for early dismissal, although well-intentioned, are contrary to its efforts, disruptive to the school program, and negatively impact student learning. Therefore, the Meriden Board of Education does not approve of and strongly discourages regular requests for early dismissal.