Trinity High School Attendance Information

TASD Attendance Policy and Resources

In November 2016, Pennsylvania's Public School Code was amended to reflect new expectations in terms of attendance and the definitions/penalties for truancy.

Explanation of TASD Policy

Demonstration of Skyward Family Access Absence Excuses (Illness Only)

Click to access Skyward Family Access

Trinity Area School District Policy 

  • Third Unlawful Absence
    Parent/guardian receives a third notice of unlawful absence, this time by US Mail providing “official notice of child’s third illegal absence.” Attached to this notice will be penalties for violation of compulsory attendance requirements as they pertain to both the student and the parent/guardian. Trinity will make the offer a meeting where the drafting of a Student Attendance Improvement Plan (SAIP) will be conducted to discuss the cause of the child’s truancy and develop a mutually agreed upon plan to resolve truant behavior. Issues to be reviewed at the school/family conference include the appropriateness of the child’s educational environment, current academic difficulties, physical or behavioral health issues, and family/environment concerns. At the end of the conference, all parties should sign a comprehensive SAIP that is agreed to by the school representative, the child, and the parents and/or family. The plan could include accessing academic and social/health supports from the school and community organizations, an outline of family/parent and student responsibilities, and levels of performance monitoring that include rewards and consequences.
  • Second Unlawful Absence
    Parent/guardian receives a notice via the auto calling system, alerting the parent/guardian of their child's absence.
  • First Unlawful Absence
    Parent/guardian receives a notice via the auto calling system, alerting the parent/guardian of their child's absence.
  • Fourth Unlawful Absence
    Parent/guardian receives a fourth notice of unlawful absence, this time by US Mail providing “official notice of child’s fourth illegal absence.” Attached to this notice will be penalties for violation of compulsory attendance requirements as they pertain to both the student and the parent/guardian, and a date/time for a parent/student/school conference. At the conference we will discuss the cause of the child’s truancy and develop a mutually agreed upon plan to resolve truant behavior. Issues to be reviewed at the school/family conference include the appropriateness of the child’s educational environment, current academic difficulties, physical or behavioral health issues, and family/environment concerns. At the end of the conference all parties should sign a comprehensive SAIP that is agreed to by the school representative, the child, and the parents and/or family. The plan could include accessing academic and social/health supports from the school and community organizations, an outline of family/parent and student responsibilities, and levels of performance monitoring that include rewards and consequences.
  • Fifth Unlawful Absence
    A letter will be sent via US Mail, indicating that the child's unlawful absence is in violation of the SAIP that was drafted. The letter will also detail that, without further notice, any future unlawful absences will result in a citation being filed with the local Magistrate's office. 
  • Sixth Unlawful Absence
    A citation will be filed with the local Magistrate's office. If the child is under the age of 15, the citation will be issued to the parent/guardian of the truant child. If the child is over 15, the citation may be written in the truant child's name rather than the parent/guardian's name.
    • Eighth Unlawful Absence
      (a) Children Under 13 Years of Age Any child who has not attained the age of 13 who fails to comply with the compulsory attendance requirements and is habitually truant, shall be referred by the school district to the local county children and youth agency for services, which may include addressing family issues that may be responsible for the child’s truant behavior, or possible adjudication as a “dependent” child under the Juvenile Act. The referral to the county children and youth agency may be in addition to proceeding against the parent/guardian by sending the citation to the appropriate magisterial district judge or a school may decide to refer a family to the local county children and youth agency instead of sending a citation to the appropriate magisterial district judge. If the parent/guardian provides written consent, a copy of the SAIP should be forwarded to the county children and youth agency.

      (b) Children 13 Years of Age and Older.  Any child who has attained the age of 13 who fails to comply with the compulsory attendance requirements and is habitually truant may, in lieu of being prosecuted (as described in Section V below), be referred by the school district to the local county children and youth agency for services, which may include addressing family issues that may be responsible for the child’s truant behavior or, possible adjudication as a dependent child under the Juvenile Act.

      (c) Habitually Truant.  The School Code defines habitually truant as absence for more than six (6) school days or their equivalent following the first notice of truancy given after a child’s third unlawful absence.

    Continued Truancy 

    If a child of any age continues to be truant after the above actions have been taken, then school districts are encouraged to file citations with the local magisterial district judge citing the child’s continued truancy on a weekly basis.  

    It is imperative that the local magisterial district judge be kept informed if truant behavior continues after a plan is in place. 

    Proceedings and Penalties for Violation of Compulsory Attendance Requirements (24 PS 13-1333 and 1338.1).

    School Code

    Every parent/guardian of any child of compulsory school age is subject to penalties if compulsory school-age attendance requirements are not met. While school districts are required to give three days written notice of violation of compulsory attendance prior to proceeding against the offending party it is strongly recommended that school districts make a concerted effort to address the cause of a child’s truant behavior before referring the child to another system.

    Possible sentences for parents found to be in violation of compulsory attendance law:
    •       Paying a fine up to $300 for each offense and court costs, or in lieu of or in addition to any other sentence the district justice may order the parent, guardian or person in parental relation to perform community service in the school district in which the offending child resides for a period not to exceed six (6) months.
    •       Completing a parenting education program, and
    •       In cases where the party convicted fails to pay the fine or complete the parenting education program, a subsequent sentencing to the county jail for no more than five days.
    •       Completing in lieu of, or in addition to the previous penalties, community service within the school district for a period of no more than six months.
    (Magisterial district judges may suspend all or portions of the sentence if the child is no longer habitually truant.)

    The board of school directors may bring a student before the court. 

    (Magisterial district judges may suspend all or portions of the sentence if the child is no longer habitually truant.)

    For children convicted of violation of compulsory attendance requirements by the magisterial district judge, the court, including a court not of record, must send a certified record of the conviction or other disposition to the Department of Transportation.

    •       Upon first conviction, the child’s operating privilege for operating an automobile will be suspended for 90 days.
    •       Upon the second or subsequent conviction, the child’s operating privileges will be suspended for six months.
    •       Children who do not yet have a driver’s license will be ineligible to apply for a license for the time periods of 90 days for the first conviction and six months for the second and any subsequent conviction.
    If a student of compulsory school age cannot be kept in school on account of truancy, the school district may proceed against the student before the juvenile court
    Further corrective measures for violation of compulsory attendance

    General protective services are defined as services to prevent the potential for harm to a child. Under Title 55 Pa Code, Chapter 3490.223, children who are habitually and without justification truant from school while subject to compulsory school attendance are subject to an assessment to determine if there is a need for general protective services. Children shall not be referred to the county children and youth agency for assessment as possibly needing services until after the school district has made a formal effort to involve the family and child in resolving the cause of the truant behavior.

    Charter Schools /Charter School Responsibilities

    Charter schools must report to the student’s school district of residence when a student has accrued three or more days of unlawful absences. It is the responsibility of the school district to enforce the compulsory attendance laws in accordance with the Public School Code.  However, charter schools should also follow PDE’s Recommended Responses to Unlawful Absences for the first, second and third unlawful absences including the school/family meeting and implementation of a SAIP. Charter schools should also refer the child to the county children and youth agency as stated in Section V above.

    School District Response to Charter School Absences

    Under compulsory attendance laws, the parents/guardians of a student who has accumulated three unlawful absences are to receive notice stating any subsequent unlawful absences will result in a citation being filed with the magisterial district judge. The school district of residence should send the notice to parents/guardians immediately upon notification of the third unlawful absence by charter school. It is recommended that such notice be sent through certified mail. Future unlawful absences should be filed with the magisterial district judge.

    For brick and mortar charter schools, a school district may file truancy documents with the magisterial district judge in whose jurisdiction the charter school is located, which is where the cause of action arose, or where the charter school student resides, which is where the parent/guardian may be served.

    For cyber charter schools, a school district may file truancy documents with the magisterial district judge in whose jurisdiction the charter school student resides, which is where the cause of action arose and where the parent/guardian may be served. Charter schools and cyber charter schools must cooperate with school districts by providing necessary documentation for the truancy filings, and attending the hearings to provide testimony, if necessary.