Policy 545







    The School Board believes that regular attendance in school and punctuality are important factors in a student's success in academic work, including success in meeting state and local requirements for graduation.  Students who attend school consistently and are on time develop better socially, establish better communication with their teachers, and acquire important lifetime habits such as dependability, self-sufficiency, and responsibility.  Therefore, the purpose of this policy is to positively encourage regular school attendance and punctuality. 




    1. The Minnesota Compulsory Attendance Law requires that every child between 7 and 16 years of age attend school.
    2. Student academic achievement is the primary goal of Richfield Public Schools. Although learning occurs in a variety of settings, time in class is essential to learning so that students can receive instruction and contribute as members of the community of learners.
    3. School staff, students, families and the community share responsibility for student attendance. Families have the responsibility for making decisions about their children's schooling. School staff has responsibility for communicating with families about student attendance.
    4. All students should receive equitable opportunity and treatment. Students have individual needs that must be considered.




    The school board recognizes that class attendance is a responsibility shared by the student, parent or guardian, and the school.  The District intends to involve all parties in promoting regular attendance.


    1. The Superintendent is authorized to set regulations, procedures and rules to implement this policy. Communication of regulations and procedures shall, at a minimum:
      1. establish clear and consistent practices across the district, including a standard set of excused absences;
      2. use accurate and timely attendance data for planning, evaluation, and communication;
      3. clarify staff roles and responsibilities;
      4. clarify the role of parents in informing the school regarding their students’ attendance or absences;
      5. require that attendance regulations and guidelines be communicated to students and families at registration, or at least annually.
      6. provide for the means of appeals by parents or guardians regarding attendance issues.
    1. Administration and School Staff have the responsibility to:
      1. engage students in the learning process with strong curriculum, instruction and relationships with staff;
      2. meet the needs of individual students by using a range of strategies and interventions;
      3. communicate attendance expectations to families, inform them of their students' attendance, and involve them in problem solving related to their students;
      4. involve the community through shared expectations and actions.
    1. Student's Responsibility - It is the student's responsibility to:

    1. attend all assigned classes and study halls every day that school is in session;

    2. be aware of and follow the correct procedures when absent from an assigned class or study hall; and

    3. request any missed assignments due to an absence, or have parent/guardian request missed assignments when appropriate


    1. Parent or Guardian's Responsibility - It is the responsibility of the student's parent or guardian to:

    1. ensure the student is attending school;

    2. inform the school in the event of a student absence; and

    3. work cooperatively with the school and the student to solve any attendance issues that may arise.




    1. Once a child has been enrolled in kindergarten, regardless of the age of the student at that time, attendance is compulsory unless and until the child is properly withdrawn from enrollment.  In the event that a child under the age of seven who was enrolled prior to their seventh birthday is properly withdrawn from enrollment, attendance is no longer compulsory until the earlier of the following is reached: 1) re-enrollment of the child as a student, or 2) the child’s seventh birthday.
    2. Students who are enrolled in the pre-kindergarten programs of the district are not subject to the compulsory attendance law, but their continued enrollment shall be subject to their meeting the district expectations for attendance that applies to students in Kindergarten through grade 12.  Pre-kindergarten students who do not meet the attendance requirements will be dropped from enrollment, and their space offered to students who may be on a waiting list for the program.  Prekindergarten students may be excused from attendance on the same basis as is permitted for students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12.


    1. Students not required by Minnesota Law to attend school may withdraw as follows:
      1. Any student under age seven (7) may be withdrawn by the parent or guardian  if: (i) the student is enrolled in another school; or (ii) the student is registered or enrolled in a home school; or (iii) the parent or guardian declares in writing that the withdrawal is due to the immaturity of the child.
      2. Any student between 16 and 18 years of age who seeks to withdraw from school, along with that student's parent or guardian:
        1. Attends a meeting with school personnel to discuss the educational opportunities available to the student, including alternative educational opportunities and,
        2. Signs a required written election to withdraw from school.





    1. A summary of this policy shall be included in the annual District Handbook / Calendar or other district publication.


    1. A summary of this policy and building attendance procedures shall be provided annually to all students and their parents in a student handbook or other building publication.


    1. A copy of the policy shall also be available upon request in each principal's office.


    Legal References: Minn. Stat. §120A.22 (Compulsory Instruction)

    Minn. Stat. §120A.24 (Reporting)

    Minn. Stat. §120A.26 (Enforcement and Prosecution)

    Minn. Stat. §120A.28 (School Boards and Teachers, Duties)

    Minn. Stat. §120A.30 (Attendance Officers)

    Minn. Stat. §121A.40 – 121A.56 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act)

    Minn. Stat. §260A.02 (Definitions)

    Minn. Stat. §260A.03 (Notice to Parent or Guardian when Child is Continuing Truant).

    Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 95 S.Ct. 729 (1975)

    Slocum v. Holton Board of Education, 429 N.W.2d 607 (Mich. App. Ct. 1988)

    Campbell v. Board of Education of New Milford, 475 A.2d 289 (Conn. 1984)

    Hamer v. Board of Educ. of Township High School District No. 113, 66 Ill. App.3d 7 (1978)

    Gutierrez v. School District R-1, 585 P.2d 935 (Co. Ct. App. 1978)

    Knight v. Board of Education, 348 N.E.2d 299 (1976)

    Dorsey v. Bale, 521 S.W.2d 76 (Ky. 1975)



    Policy References: Board Policy 541 and Administrative Guidelines 541.1 on Student Behavior











545.1 Administrative Guidelines






    Absences and tardiness interfere with the student’s ability to learn because regular attendance is so important to student success, the District has established expectations regarding attendance for all students. The District has also identified interventions aimed to help and support students to meet attendance expectations and improve academic achievement.



    1. Because daily attendance is critical to academic achievement, the District expects every student to attend school and be to class on time every day.  Ninety-five (95) percent attendances is set as the minimum standard.
    2. Each school will establish tardy rules that emphasize positivity and are consistent with the District’s attendance policy.  Ninety-five (95) percent on time is set as the minimum standard. Suspension or removal from instruction must not be used as a consequence for tardiness.



    Students who have an Individual Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan may have modified attendance expectations, incentives, recognitions and interventions.   Such modifications must be part of the written plan or program in order to supersede the general attendance expectations for students of a similar age and grade.



    Excused Absences include:

    Medical or Mental Health Needs. An absence due to illness or a medical or mental health need may be excused by the following means:

        • written verification from a health care professional;
        • verification from the school nurse; or
        • a note from the student’s parent or guardian, or the student (if eighteen or more years of age and the parent or guardian gives permission), however if the length of the illness is greater than three days, or if the student has accumulated more than eight days of absence during the school year, the parent should contact the school nurse, or provide a health care professional’s written verification.


    Religious and cultural observances

    Funeral attendance for up to four (4) days; however the principal or site administrator, or designee, may grant a longer period in writing.


    Family emergency for up to three (3) days in an academic year, however upon application by a family in extraordinary circumstances a principal or site administrator, or designee, may grant a longer period in writing.


    Approved family activity for up to ten (10) days within one school year, when

    • The parent or guardian requests permission for the absence ten (10) regularly scheduled school days in advance of the first absence; and
    • The absences are approved in writing by the principal or site administrator in advance of the first absence, and
    • Missed schoolwork is assigned by the student’s teacher or teachers, and the parent or guardian agrees that schoolwork will be completed; and
    • Where the student has shown adequate progress and attendance prior to the request.
    • Extreme weather conditions considered by the parent to be too dangerous for the student to attend school.
    • Student appointments with health care providers or other professionals when unable to schedule outside school hours and when the appointment is confirmed in writing by the health care provider or other professional.


    • Student appearances in a judicial or quasi-judicial meeting ordered by a court when unable to schedule outside school hours and when school is notified in advance by the parent or guardian, the court or the adult student.


    • College visits, up to two (2) days when the request is made in writing prior to the first absence.



    1. Teachers will provide an opportunity for students to make up work, provide an alternative assignment, or excuse missed assignment due to absences.
    2. Once the teacher has provided a clear opportunity for students to make up missed assignments, the student will take responsibility to complete the assignments within the time allowed.
    3. School handbooks will publish the process for making up assignments to families so they may assist their student.
    4. It is possible that failure to complete the assignments may affect a secondary student’s grade and assessment of progress toward achievement of graduation standards. 





    Schools will intervene with the student and the family to improve attendance.  Interventions will include but are not limited to:


    1. Schools will periodically recognize good attendance, provide good attendance tips to parents and families, and take other positive steps to encourage good attendance as deemed advisable by school administrators, school social workers, and other school professionals.
    2. After any unexcused absence, the school will notify the parent of the absence;
    3. After repeated tardies to school and/or class, staff will discuss the issue with the parent;
    4. Principals will send letters of information to families after three (3) cumulative unexcused absences, and referral for additional interventions within the school or available community resources may be initiated.
    5. School staff will notify the proper authorities in the county when a student has three (3) additional unexcused absences that occur after the date of the letter of information.
    6. Principals must comply with the procedures for reporting educational neglect and truancy to the proper authorities in the county after six (6) cumulative unexcused absences in a school year.



    1. Students who wish to participate in extra-curricular activities after school must be in attendance for at least half of the day (4 of the 7 class periods) and have a proper parent excuse for the missed class periods.  School-sponsored activities are exempt from this rule. 
    2. The Activities Director has authority to make exceptions to the 4 class period rule if parent request is received by the Activities Director in advance.
    3. A student will maintain adequate progress towards graduation to participate I extracurricular activities.