State law encourages or requires districts to address truancy or chronic absenteeism through the provision of comprehensive student support services.
Code of Maryland Regulations 13A.08.01.05 Student attendance policy
Each local school system shall develop a student attendance policy which includes:
A. A general statement dealing with the local school system's purpose and rationale for promoting regular school attendance.
B. Rules, Definitions, and Procedures for Policy Implementation.
(1) Reasons for lawful and unlawful absences and tardiness include lawful/unlawful absence as defined in Regulations .03 and .04, of this chapter. Clarification of special situations for unlawful absence may also be identified.
(2) Standard for regular attendance include minimal requirements for student attendance in order to foster continuity of the instructional program. The Standard for school attendance may identify a specific number of excessive or unlawful absences allowed within a marking period, semester, or school year.
(3) Procedure to verify absences/tardiness includes responsible persons, time limits, and methods of absent/tardy verification.
(4) Penalties for not meeting Standard for regular attendance requirements include actions taken by school system staff when a student is unlawfully absent or accumulates an equivalent number of excessive or unlawful absences which exceeds the standard for regular school attendance. The penalties should be identified, and should reflect a continuum of excessive or unlawful absences.
(5) Make-up work requirements include classroom teacher and student responsibility, time limits, and grading policy for make-up work. Make-up work requirements may also involve a procedure for completing class work in advance of an absence wherever possible.
(6) Attendance-monitoring procedure includes:
(a) Record-keeping format to comply with State attendance reporting requirements;
(b) Intervention strategies and procedures for dealing with absenteeism at the beginning stages of the problem as well as chronic absenteeism; and
(c) A referral process to pupil services or other central office professionals for case management of chronic attendance cases.
(7) Reward process includes an identified motivational program to reward regular school attendance.
(8) Information dissemination includes methods for informing school staff, students, parents, and community members of attendance policy requirements.
(9) Appeals process includes specific due process procedures for appealing attendance violation decisions at the school and central office level.
(10) Legal foundation includes citations of legal authority for attendance policy development and implementation.
Maryland Code 7-302. Report of absences and maladjustment
(a) Immediate report required. -- The principal or head teacher of each public or private school in this State shall report immediately to the county superintendent, the supervisor of pupil personnel, or any other official designated by the county superintendent the name of each child enrolled in his school who has been absent or irregular in attendance, without lawful excuse, or who shows evidence of maladjustment, so that the causes may be studied and solutions worked out.
(b) Investigation; counseling; notice to Department of Juvenile Services. -- On receipt of a report from a principal or head teacher of a public school that a student has been habitually truant without lawful excuse, the appropriate representative of the school system:
- (1) Shall initiate an investigation into the cause of the child's truancy;
- (2) May provide counseling regarding the availability of social, health, and educational services; and
- (3) Following the investigation or intervention:
- (i) May notify the Department of Juvenile Services that the student has been habitually truant, without lawful excuse;
- (ii) Shall notify the appropriate local department that the student has been habitually truant, without lawful excuse, if a court has given the notice authorized by § 3-819(b-1) of the Courts Article; and
- (iii) Shall notify the Department of Juvenile Services that the student has been habitually truant, without lawful excuse, if a court has given the notice authorized by § 3-8A-19(d)(6) of the Courts Article.
(c) Student information. -- The county superintendent, the superintendent's designee, or the supervisor of pupil personnel shall provide to the local education agency information regarding the number of students identified as being habitually truant.
Maryland Code 7-302.2. Truant students.
(a) "Truant student" defined. -- In this section, "truant student" means a student:
- (1) Who is unlawfully absent from school for more than:
- (i) 8 days in any quarter;
- (ii) 15 days in any semester; or
- (iii) 20 days in a school year; and
- (2) Whose absences for purposes of item (1) of this subsection are unlawful absences as defined by regulation.
(b) System of active intervention to be established. -- Each county board shall develop a system of active intervention for truant students.
(c) Referrals; intervention. --
- (1) Each truant student attending kindergarten through 12th grade shall immediately be referred to the county board's system of active intervention developed under this section.
- (2) This section does not prohibit a county board from intervening in the case of a student who is frequently absent from school for both lawful and unlawful purposes, but is not a truant student.