West Virginia - Family Engagement on Chronic Absenteeism: Program requirements

Area: 
Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
statute; regulation
Summary: 

State law involves parents in responding to truancy or chronic absenteeism using non-punitive or supportive interventions.

West Virginia Code 18-8-4. Duties of attendance director and assistant directors; complaints, warrants and hearings.

(b) In the case of three total unexcused absences of a student during a school year, the attendance director or assistant may serve notice by written or other means to the parent, guardian, or custodian of the student that the attendance of the student at school is required and that if the student has five unexcused absences, a conference with the principal, administrative head or other chief administrator will be required.
(c) In the case of five total unexcused absences, the attendance director or assistant shall serve written notice to the parent, guardian or custodian of the student that within five days of receipt of the notice the parent, guardian or custodian, accompanied by the student, shall report in person to the school the student attends for a conference with the principal, administrative head or other chief administrator of the school in order to discuss and correct the circumstances causing the unexcused absences of the student, including the adjustment of unexcused absences based on the meeting.
(d) In the case of ten total unexcused absences of a student during a school year, the attendance director or assistant may make a complaint against the parent, guardian or custodian before a magistrate of the county. If it appears from the complaint that there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the accused has committed it, a summons or a warrant for the arrest of the accused shall issue to any officer authorized by law to serve the summons or to arrest persons charged with offenses against the state. More than one parent, guardian or custodian may be charged in a complaint. Initial service of a summons or warrant issued pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be attempted within ten calendar days of receipt of the summons or warrant and subsequent attempts at service shall continue until the summons or warrant is executed or until the end of the school term during which the complaint is made, whichever is later.


West Virginia Code 18-8-4. Duties of attendance director and assistant directors; complaints, warrants and hearings.

(h) In addition to those duties directly relating to the administration of attendance, the county attendance director and assistant directors also shall perform the following duties:

  • (1) Assist in directing the taking of the school census to see that it is taken at the time and in the manner provided by law;
  • (2) Confer with principals and teachers on the comparison of school census and enrollment for the detection of possible nonenrollees;
  • (3) Cooperate with existing state and federal agencies charged with enforcing child labor laws;
  • (4) Prepare a report for submission by the county superintendent to the State Superintendent of Schools on school attendance, at such times and in such detail as may be required. The state board shall promulgate a legislative rule pursuant to article three-b [§§ 29A-3B-1 et seq.], chapter twenty-nine-a of this code that set forth student absences that are excluded for accountability purposes. The absences that are excluded by rule shall include, but are not limited to, excused student absences, students not in attendance due to disciplinary measures and absent students for whom the attendance director has pursued judicial remedies to compel attendance to the extent of his or her authority. The attendance director shall file with the county superintendent and county board at the close of each month a report showing activities of the school attendance office and the status of attendance in the county at the time;
  • (5) Promote attendance in the county by compiling data for schools and by furnishing suggestions and recommendations for publication through school bulletins and the press, or in such manner as the county superintendent may direct;
  • (6) Participate in school teachers’ conferences with parents and students;
  • (7) Assist in such other ways as the county superintendent may direct for improving school attendance;
  • (8) Make home visits of students who have excessive unexcused absences, as provided in subsection-a of this section, or if requested by the chief administrator, principal or assistant principal; and
  • (9) Serve as the liaison for homeless children and youth.

West Virginia Administrative Code 126-81-5. Responsibilities.

  • 5.3.c.2. In the case five (5) total unexcused absences, the attendance director or assistant shall serve written notice to the parent, guardian, or custodian of the student that within five (5) days of receipt of the notice the parent, guardian or custodian, accompanied by the student, shall report in person to the school the student attends for a conference with the principal, administrative head, or other chief administrator of the school in order to discuss and correct the circumstances causing the unexcused absences of the student, including the adjustment of unexcused absences based upon such meeting.
    West Virginia Secretary of State

West Virginia Code 18-8-5a. Home visitations.

  • If approved by the principal, administrative head or other chief administrator, a teacher may use one noninstructional day during an employment term for the purpose of home visitations with the parent, guardian or custodian of any pupil or pupils designated by the principal, administrative head or other chief administrator. Priority shall be given to those pupils identified as potential school dropouts or whose school attendance is otherwise jeopardized.
  • Such home visitations shall be deemed the equivalent of one day of continuing education in accordance with rules and regulations of the state board requiring such education.
  • The county board may adopt rules and regulations regarding such home visitations and shall reimburse a teacher for the necessary traveling expenses upon presentation of an itemized, sworn statement.

West Virginia Code 18-8-5. Duties of principal, administrative head or other chief administrator.

 If the principal, administrative head or other chief administrator of a school determines that an enrolled pupil has accumulated unexcused absences from attendance at such school for five instructional days during any one half of the instructional term, the principal, administrative head or other chief administrator shall contact any parent, guardian or custodian of the pupil and shall hold a meeting with any person so contacted, and the pupil, and any other person that the administrator deems a relevant participant in such meeting.  

West Virginia Administrative Code 126-81-6. County Attendance Policy Components.

  • 6.1. Each county's attendance policy shall address the following components:
    • 6.1.a. Philosophy:  A philosophy declaring the board's intent to increase attendance by:
      • 6.1.a.1.  creating a positive safe environment conducive to learning and committed to helping students develop responsibility, self-discipline, and other good work habits.
      • 6.1.a.2. developing a system enlisting parental/guardian support for daily school attendance by students.
    • 6.1.b. Principles of Operation:  County school districts are responsible for:
      • 6.1.b.1. appointing a designated school attendance coordinator (principal or designee) who collects classroom attendance data and makes appropriate referrals to the county attendance director.
      • 6.1.b.2. reporting student attendance information which reflects the allowable deductions as defined by the WVBE.
      • 6.1.b.3. defining excused and unexcused absences in compliance with W. Va. Code §18-8-1 and §18-8-2, and attendance in W. Va. 126CSR42, WVBE Policy 2510, Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Education Programs (Policy 2510); provided, however, that no county may require more than a parental excuse for absences resulting from a documented chronic medical condition or a documented disability as defined in §126-81-4.9. and §126-81-4.10.
      • 6.1.b.4. defining extenuating circumstances for absences which may require homebound/hospital instruction as outlined in Policy 2510.
      • 6.1.b.5. setting reasonable preventive measures and consequences for student tardiness.
      • 6.1.b.6. county attendance policy will be posted on a county school district's website and readily available to the public.
      • 6.1.b.7. assuring that a student may not be suspended solely for failure to attend class.  Other methods of discipline may include, but are not limited to, detention, extra class time, or alternative class settings.
      • 6.1.b.8. reporting all school dropouts to the WVDE.
        West Virginia Secretary of State

West Virginia Administrative Code 126-81-6. County Attendance Policy Components.

  • 6.1.c. Development of Processes and Procedures:  County school districts are responsible for:
    • 6.1.c.1. developing a process to notify students and their parents/guardians of the county attendance policy and their responsibility and accountability for regular school attendance.
    • 6.1.c.2. developing procedures and reasonable timelines requiring students with excused and unexcused absences to make up school work.
    • 6.1.c.3. requiring a student maintain satisfactory attendance (satisfactory being defined as no unexcused absences) during one complete semester following the revocation of his/her driver's license.
    • 6.1.c.4. developing an attendance appeal process for students and parents/guardians.
      West Virginia Secretary of State

West Virginia Administrative Code 126-81-6. County Attendance Policy Components.

  • 6.1.e. Preventive and Corrective Measures:  designed to meet the developmental needs of students, preventive, and corrective measures should include developing:
    • 6.1.e.1. preventive and educational procedures including:  incentives, to maintain and improve attendance and reduce tardiness.
    • 6.1.e.2. procedures for notification of parents/guardians of absences and  procedures for securing parent/guardian involvement to improve student attendance.
      West Virginia Secretary of State
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