Absentee/Attendance Policy and Procedures
School Attendance is Mandatory
Perhaps the most crucial single factor to doing well in school is simply being in school on time on a daily basis. Our attendance policy supports a student's right to public education and parental interest in providing the best possible education for children.
School hours are:
8:00 AM to 2:11 PM Monday
8:00 AM to 2:11 PM Tuesday
8:00 AM to 12:55 PM Wednesday
8:00 AM to 2:11 PM Thursday
8:00 AM to 1:56 PM Friday
Hawai'i Revised Statutes (H.R.S. 3021-1132) requires all children who will have arrived at the age of at least five years on or before July 31 of the school year, and who will not have arrived at the age of eighteen years, by January 1 of any school year to attend either a public or private school for, and during the school year unless excluded from school or excepted from attendance. This section also states that any parent or guardian having the responsibility for the care of the child must ensure that the child attend school unless exempted by law and that for the 2017-18 school year, any parent, guardian, or other person having the responsibility for, or care of, a child who will be at least five years of age on or before July 31 of the school year shall enroll the child in a public school kindergarten unless the child is enrolled at a private school or the child's attendance is otherwise exempt under this section.
Furthermore, H.R.S. 302A-1135 provides that a parent or guardian who does not enforce the child's regular school attendance may be guilty of a petty misdemeanor. The penalty for a petty misdemeanor is a fine of up to $1,000 (H.R.S. 706-640) or jail time up to thirty (30) days (H.R.S. 706-663).
Pursuant to H.R.S. 571-11(2), Family Court can place a child under jurisdiction for truancy if the child is not attending school or is not receiving the educational services required by law.
Signing Your Student In/Out for Medical Appointments:
Students must remain on the school campus once they arrive at school, except when parents/guardians arrive to take the student out of school for a legitimate reason such as a medical appointment. When the parents/guardians arrive at the school office, they must sign the child out, and then wait while the child is called from their class. If they return that same day, they must sign the child in, so the student receives a pass to return to class. Students that are released from school before 11:30 AM will be marked as absent for the day. Students who come to school tardy or after 11:30 AM are considered absent.
Call the school at 889-7119 before 8:00 AM each day your child is out from school. When a student is absent, the parents will receive an automated phone call from the school after 10:00 AM stating that their child is not in school.
Each morning, teachers will document that your child has an unexcused absence if (s)he is not on campus. When your child returns to school, parents must promptly (within 1 week) send a note to the teacher/school explaining the reason for the absence. A student has an "excused" absence when (s)he is not physically present in school due to one of the following reasons:
- The student was sick or injured and absent for 1-4 days and parents sent in a written explanation for the absence within one week of the student's return to school. Otherwise, the absences will remain unexcused.
- Death in the family with notification by the parents
- Doctor or dentist appointment with notification by the parents and a doctor/dentist's note
- An extended or serious illness/injury requires a doctor's note. If your child is absent for five or more consecutive days, you must provide a doctor's note verifying the illness or injury.
In addition to the automated phone call, a student absence may trigger a personal phone call from an administrator, teacher, health aide, counselor and/or school social worker. If unable to reach the parent by phone, staff members may visit the home.
Make-Up Work Due to Excused School Absence
Upon return to school, students will be granted one calendar day per day of absence to submit missed work. It is the responsibility of the student to confer with each teacher in order to determine assignments missed. Students must request missed assignments immediately upon their return to school.
As a general rule, work assignments will not be provided during a student's absence due to illness unless requested. They need to focus on getting well. When student is well enough to return to school, there is ample time built into the make-up policy to complete the missing work. As always, should a student become seriously ill or face an extended absence from school, the team and the parents will work for a realistic solution to address individual student needs.
Truancy & Chronic Absences: Family Court Involvement
"Truancy" means a student is absent from class(es) or the school campus without authorization (HAR 8-19-2, Chapter 19, Student Misconduct, Discipline and Reporting Offences). Students who miss a lot of school do poorly academically. Those who are chronically absent from school lose valuable instructional time and become frusterated becasue they have difficulty catching up on their assignments.
The following is the sequence of actions regarding unexcused absences at Kohala Middle School:
- 4 days of unexcused absences: Advisory teacher will call home to remind students/parents of compulsory attendance laws and document the contact.
- 6 days of unexcused absences: Counselor will call home to remind students/parents of compulsory attendance laws and document the contact.
- 8 days of unexcused absences: A non-attendance letter will be mailed to the parents informing them of the number of absences and cautioning them that a court petition is possible.
- 10 days of unexcused absences: A second non-attendance letter will be mailed to the parents informing them of the number of absences and warning them that a court petition is pending unless the student attends school.
- 15 days of unexcused absences: The school will petition the family court for assistance in assuring that the student regularly attends school, in accordance with the Compulsory Attendance Laws of the State of Hawai'i. In this case, both student and parent are required to attend the court proceedings during the work week,. They must appear before a judge to account for the truancies. The Court will order with a plan to remediate the situation and get the student back in school on a consistent basis. Oversight via regular hearings at Waimea Family Court will continue until regular attendance has resumed for a sustained period of time.
There are times when a student will legitimately miss more than 15 days of school due to an extended illness or injury. The school will facilitate a partnership with community social agencies when student or family problems are causing irregular attendance.