It is the duty of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to require that every educable child within its jurisdiction shall receive at least an elementary and secondary school education in so far as such level may be attained. If the parent/guardian will not insist that the child take advantage of the free educational opportunities offered, it becomes the duty of the state to require that this be done so that democratic government may be assured of a population sufficiently well educated to appreciate the responsibilities of citizenship.
Absenteeism is a constant interruption of the learning process. In many cases, the more absences a student accumulates, the less he/she can be expected to succeed. To have a successful attendance policy, cooperation is needed. Attendance rules will not be effective if students, parents/guardians, and teachers don’t work together to enforce them.
Students are to be in their homerooms by 8:00am (the start of first period). All students must sign in at the office when entering the building at or after 8:00am. Parents/guardians must sign out students who leave the building before 3:00pm. Written excuses are required for all absences.
The excuses you submit for your child’s absences are very important to the school, and they have legal importance as well. Excuses are required to be submitted within three (3) days after the student returns to school. All excuses should be given to the student’s homeroom teacher. In order to insure the accuracy of your child’s attendance record, he/she must provide a written excuse from his/her parent/guardian stating the following information:
Student’s FIRST and LAST names
- Date(s) of absence
- An acceptable reason for the absence.
- Phone number where a parent/guardian can be reached
- Parent’s/guardian’s signature
The Pennsylvania School Code recognizes the following reasons for absence as acceptable:
- Illness (10 parent excuses)
- Religious holiday (written notification in advance)
- Emergency medical or dental attention (doctor’s excuse required within three (3) school days)
- Absences approved 5 days in advance by the school principal(s)
- Death in the family (up to 3 days; newspaper notice is required) In order for an absence to be excused, the excuse must be received within three (3) days of the student’s return to school.
Because we feel a tardy student disrupts the educational process in the classroom, it is not fair to make a teacher stop his/her teaching to deal with a student who is repeatedly late. Students are considered tardy when they arrive at or after 8:00am, but before 9:00am. A written excuse is required for a tardy.
Each tardy will count as an eighth (1/8) of a day of an absence. For example, four (4) tardies or early dismissals or any combination of both that equals four (4), would equal a half (1/2) day absence.
When a student has four (4) unexcused tardies, he/she will be assigned an activity detention. Once a student accumulates eight (8) unexcused tardies, further disciplinary action will be taken.
Students who arrive after 9:00am are considered absent for a half-day (1/2) of school.
Bus transportation is provided for many students of Margaret Bell Miller Middle School. If a bus is late to school, students are not considered tardy, but they should report to the office and sign in. Students who eat breakfast at school must report to Homeroom before 8am or be considered tardy.
Early dismissals (students who are leaving the building before 3:00pm) are treated the same as absences and count toward attendance totals. A written excuse is required for a dismissal. A dismissal before 2:00pm will count as 1/2 day of absence. A dismissal after 2:00pm will count as an 1/8 of a day of absence.
If a student knows he/she must be absent from school for a valid reason other than illness, it is the student’s responsibility to request permission from a building administrator prior to the day/days of absence. Parents who are planning to take their child(ren) on an educational trip during the time that school is in session may request an excused absence for the student(s). Consideration of such a request is dependent on these conditions:
- A maximum of five (5) days permitted
- Any days beyond the maximum of five (5) days permitted will be considered unexcused and unlawful.
- Parents are advised NOT to plan educational trips within the first or last ten (10) days of school.
- The purpose, itinerary and supportive educational aspects must be clearly explained for justifying such an experience beyond the classroom.
- Such a request must be made a minimum of five (5) school days prior to the student’s anticipated absence using the proper form available at cgsd.org or the school office.
The school principal shall review each request for compliance with the state conditions. The following will be taken into consideration by the principal in granting permission for the trip:
- The student’s academic standing.
- The student’s attendance record.
- The effect the absence will have on the student’s educational welfare.
- Exceptionality of the request.
If approval is granted before the trip is taken, the student’s absence will be excused. If prior approval is NOT received, the absence will be classified as unlawful and/or unexcused. In addition, it is the student’s responsibility to contact teachers prior to the approved absence to make up assignments missed. The student is expected to complete all schoolwork that is assigned during the approved absence. Such assignments will be given to the student immediately prior to the absence.
If a student attends an Upward Bound activity on a school day, an Educational Field Trip Request form is required, and the same conditions apply.
The days used for Educational Trips count toward the student’s 10 days of absence.
An absence is considered illegal when:
- A student misses school for any reason other than those approved by the state. “Personal reasons” or “family matters/emergency” are not acceptable unless approved by administration.
- A student fails to provide the school with an acceptable written excuse from his/her parent/guardian within three (3) days of the absence.
- A student fails to provide a required doctor’s excuse within three (3) days.
Students with six (6) or more unexcused days are not permitted to participate in extracurricular events (sports, activity nights, field trips, etc.).
- When a student is absent for more than ten (10) days during the school year (excluding doctor’s excuses), his/her parents/guardians will receive a notification from the office stating that a doctor’s excuse will be required for any further absences related to illness. If a student is absent for ten (10) days and provides a doctor’s excuse for three (3) of them, these three will not be counted as part of his/her ten. In other words, a doctor’s excuse exempts these days from being counted. NOTE: It is important that your doctor specify the days that are excused from school. For example, if a student misses five days and goes to the doctor on the sixth day and he/she simply states that he/she
- has seen the student, the first five days will not be covered by the excuse. It is your responsibility to make sure the doctor includes all dates that he/she feels the student should have been out of school on the excuse. These are the only days that will be excused.
- Pupils who are absent from school for three (3) or more unexcused days will be subject to a first notice. The school is required by law to notify CYS (Children and Youth Services). After the first notice is served, if a child accumulates one (1) additional unexcused absence during the school year, it is considered truancy and could result in the serving of a warrant through the office of the District Justice. A fine and costs of up to $300 per day may occur. The school district’s official notice of absence to parents/guardians is not required in second offense cases.
- If you should receive a letter by mistake, please call the MBM office. We will be glad to correct the error with our apology.