Texas requires a child who is at least six years of age, or who is younger than six years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached his/her 19th birthday to attend school for the entire period the program is offered unless exempt by TEC 25.086. While students are not required to enroll in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, once enrolled the students are required to attend school. TEC 25.085 and Board Policy FEA (LEGAL)
The parent/guardian commits an offense of criminal negligence under TEC 25.093 if, after having received the above warning in writing, a child has unexcused, voluntary absences for ten (10) or more days or parts of days within a six-month period or three (3) or more days or parts of days within a four-week period from school. An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. TEC 25.093, Family Code 51.03(b)(2), and Penal Code 12.233
A parent/guardian of a school-age child has the responsibility to require that his/her child attend school regularly. When sickness or another reason necessitates an absence, a note signed by the parent/guardian or phone call explaining the reason for the absence is required prior to or when the student returns to school. If a student fails to submit a note from the parent or the school does not receive a phone call from the parent, the absence will automatically be considered unexcused.
Absences for vacations, business trips, babysitting, working, and other such reasons shall be considered unexcused.
Compulsory School Attendance—Texas Education Code 25.085
A child who is required to attend school shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is provided.
A) An individual commits this offense if the individual:
- is required to attend school under section 25.085; and
- fails to attend school on ten (10) or more days or parts of days without an excuse within a six-month period in the same school year or three (3) or more days or parts of days without an excuse within a four- week period.
Parent Contributing to Non-Attenance —Texas Education Code 25.094
B) An offense under this section may be prosecuted in:
- the constitutional county court of the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of 1.75 million or more;
- a justice court of any precinct in the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located; or
- a municipal court of the municipality in which the parent resides or in which the school is located.
C) An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor. Each day the child remains out of school may constitute a separate offense. Two or more offenses under Subsection (a) may be consolidated and prosecuted in a single action.
If a student has three (3) unexcused absences within a 4-week period, the student will receive a Compulsory Attendance Notification (CAN) letter. The letter will be emailed to the student's parent/guardian. The parent/guardian has five (5) school days to contact the attendance clerk at their school to correct any errors. If the school attendance record is not corrected by the 5th school day, a second warning letter will be emailed once the student receives 6 unexcused absences in a 6-month period.
- If a student has eight (8) unexcused absences in a 6-month period, an Attendance Improvement Plan will be issued.
- If a student has ten (10) unexcused absences in a 6-month period, an affidavit shall be issued.
- In either case, the student's attendance will be monitored for the remainder of the school year.
- Attendance officers by law have to file on students/parents who reach 10 unexcused absences in a 6 month period.
- If you get a letter and have any questions, contact your child's school attendance clerk.
Attendance for Credit
In addition to the statute related to compulsory attendance, a student must also be in compliance with the attendance for credit statute which states that the student must be in attendance for at least 90% of the days a class is offered in order to gain credit or be promoted. All absences, excused and unexcused, are counted for the purpose of determining attendance for credit. For each course/class in which a student falls below the 90% threshold, a review of the record will be conducted and the student may be required to complete a plan created by the principal in order to gain credit or be promoted. Once a student falls below the 75% threshold, an Attendance Review Committee must meet to develop a plan for the student to complete in order to gain credit or be promoted. TEC 25.092 and Board Policy FEC (LOCAL)
Parents are able to access current attendance data via the Home Access Center or via the Katy OnTheGo Mobile app.