Attendance and Truancy

  • Illinois law requires that whoever has custody or control of any child between six (by September 1) and seventeen years of age shall assure that the child attends school in the district in which they reside, during the entire time school is in session (unless the child has already graduated from high school). Illinois law also requires that whoever has custody or control of a child who is enrolled in the school, regardless of the child’s age, shall assure that the child attends school during the entire time school is in session.

    “All students in Lake County Area Schools are expected to attend school every day. The Compulsory School Attendance Law states that whoever has custody or control of any child between the ages of 7 and 17 years must send the child to a public or private day school on a regular basis.” [Lake County Regional Office of Education]

    Subject to specific requirements in State law the following children are not required to attend public school: (1) any child attending a private school (including a home school) or parochial school, (2) any child who is physically or mentally unable to attend school (including a pregnant student suffering medical complications as certified by her physician), (3) any child lawfully and necessarily employed, (4) any child over 12 and under 14 years of age while in confirmation classes, (5) any child absent because of religious reasons, including to observe a religious holiday, for religious instruction, or because his or her religion forbids secular activity on a particular day(s) or time of day, and (6) any child 16 years of age or older who is employed and is enrolled in a graduation incentives program. For students who are required to attend school, there are two types of absences: excused and unexcused. Excused absences include illness (including up to 5 days per school year for mental or behavioral health of the student), observance of a religious holiday or event, death in the immediate family, family emergency, situations beyond the control of the student, circumstances that cause reasonable concern to the guardian for the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or safety, attending a military honors funeral to sound TAPS (grades 6-8), and/or other situations which are beyond the control of the student as determined by the district board of education, or other circumstances which give reasonable concern to the guardian for the safety or the health of the student. [105ILCS 5/262a)]

    Additionally, a student will be excused for up to 5 days in cases where the student’s guardian is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat-support postings. The Board of Education, at its discretion, may excuse a student for additional days relative to such leave or deployment. A student and the student’s guardian are responsible for obtaining assignments from the student’s teachers prior to any excused absences and for ensuring that such assignments are completed by the student prior to his or her return to school. Students who are excused from school will be given a reasonable timeframe to make up missed homework and classwork assignments.

    All other absences are considered unexcused. Pre-arranged excused absences must be approved by the building principal. The school may require documentation explaining the reason for the student’s absence.

    A student will be released from school as an excused absence to observe a religious holiday or for religious instruction. The student’s guardian must give written notice to the school principal at least 5 calendar days before the student’s anticipated absence(s).

    Students excused for religious reasons will be given an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement.

    Students may also be excused from physical education courses based on medical or religious prohibitions. Excusal requests based on medical prohibitions must be in writing and must include a signed statement from a person licensed under the Medical Practices Act corroborating the medical basis for the request. Excusal requests based on religious prohibitions must be in writing and must include a signed statement from a member of the clergy corroborating the religious basis for the request. Upon written notice from a student’s guardian, a student will be excused from engaging in the physical activity components of physical education during a period of religious fasting. Excusal requests based on medical or religious prohibitions will be reviewed on an individual basis in accordance with State and Federal law.

    Student attendance is critical to the learning process. Truancy is, therefore, a serious issue and will be dealt with in a serious manner by the School and District. Absences that total 10% or more of school days of the most recent academic school year, including absences with and without valid cause, and out-of-school suspensions are considered chronic truants. Students who are chronic truants will be offered support services and resources aimed at correcting the truancy issue.

    If chronic truancy persists after support services and other resources are made available, the school and district will take further action, including:

    • Referral to the truancy officer.
    • Appropriate school discipline.

    A guardian who knowingly and willfully permits a child to be truant is in violation of State law.

Diagnostic Procedures for Absences & Support Services to Truant or Chronically Truant Students

  • State law requires every school district to collect and review its chronic absence data and determine what systems of support and resources are needed to engage chronically absent students and their families to encourage the habit of daily attendance and promote success. This review must include an analysis of chronic absence data from each attendance center. Furthermore, State law provides that school districts are encouraged to provide a system of support to students who are at risk of reaching or exceeding chronic absence levels with strategies and are also encouraged to make resources available to families such as those available through the State Board of Education's Family Engagement Framework to support and engage students and their families to encourage heightened school engagement and improved daily school attendance. The School and District use the following diagnostic procedures for identifying the causes of unexcused student absences: Interviews with the student, his or her parent/ guardian, and any school officials who may have information about the reasons for the student’s attendance problems.

    The principal is to report chronic truants to the superintendent. The principal shall meet with the families, teacher, and the school social worker to determine the most effective course of action. At this meeting the group should address the potential effect of the resources which are available to the child:

    • In-house behavior modification program.
    • Social work services.
    • Behavior management system.
    • Special education placement.
    • Alternative education placement.
    • Community services.

    At this meeting, the most appropriate resource should be chosen by the group. The principal and social worker will then work together to monitor the student’s absence. A parent or guardian who knowingly and willfully permits a child to be truant may be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of thirty days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1500.00.

Automated Attendance Calls

  • Automated messages will be sent to parents via phone call, text, and email utilizing automated messaging service through BlackBoard. If your child will be absent or tardy, contact the appropriate school by the indicated times below so that you will not receive an automated message of your child's absence:

    • Laura B. Sprague School  (847) 945-6686 or email before 10:00 am on the day of the absence.
    • Half Day School (847) 634-1484 or email before 9:00 am on the day of the absence.
    • Daniel Wright Junior High School (847) 604-5280 before 8:30 am on the day of the absence.

    When calling or emailing, provide the following information:

    • Spell your child's first and last name.
    • Your child's teacher's name (for Sprague and Half Day schools).
    • Your child's grade.
    • Reason for the absence (include symptoms if your child is ill).