The BECCA Law
Effective the 1995-96 school year, the BECCA Law revised the procedures for enforcing the State Compulsory Attendance Law. It requires the reporting of unexcused absences and the filing of petitions with the juvenile court to reduce truancy. The BECCA bill assists parents and the school in keeping students in school with the support of the juvenile court system, police and outside agencies.
Policies and Procedures
Along with implementing the BECCA Law, NJH has an attendance policy designed to help students develop and practice responsible attendance habits and increase their potential for academic success. We appreciate our parents' understanding and support in notifying the Attendance Office when a student is absent. The following are steps that we will take to help students maximize their educational experiences:
- Attendance will be taken in the first ten minutes each period in each class.
- Students who arrive to class 20 minutes late or later will be marked absent.
- Truant students will have consequences outlines in this policy.
- One (1) unexcused absence within a month results in a phone call to the parent or guardian.
- Two (2) unexcused absences within a month will result in a letter being sent home.
- This letter asks the parent to contact the school to set up a conference.
- Seven (7) unexcused absences within a month or ten (10) unexcused absences during the year may result in a petition being filed by the school with the juvenile court system.
- Excessive absences (excused and unexcused) will result in a letter of "concern" being sent home and may be referred to our Truancy Intervention Program Specialist.
- 20 consecutive absences will result in the withdrawal of the student from NJH who subsequently cannot be counted as enrolled according to WAC.392.1018.
What Should I do if I am Absent?
If you are absent . . . Have your parent or legal guardian call the 24-hour Attendance line at (425) 408-6710 each day. If that is not possible, bring a note signed by your parent or guardian within 48 hours of your return to school. The note must include a REASON why the student was not in school. Take the note to the Attendance office when you arrive at school. Failure to bring a note is considered truancy.
If you know you are going to be absent for three or more consecutive days . . . Have your parent or legal guardian write a note indicating the reason for your planned absence and the specific dates you will be gone. Pick up a "Pre-Arranged Absence Form" in the Attendance Office. Have each teacher sign the form and turn it in to the Attendance Office for a copy to be made and kept.
What is an Excused Absence?
The Northshore School Board, in Policy No. 3122, directs the schools to accept the following as valid reasons to excuse a student from the state requirement to attend school daily.
- Illness or health condition, verified by parent
- Family emergency, verified by parent
- Religious observance, request by parent
- School-approved activity (like a field trip)
- Disciplinary suspension or expulsion
- Travel, with prior parent notification to the Attendance office
School administration is authorized to determine whether an absence may be excused. They may decide this based solely on the criteria defined above.
What Happens if I am Truant (Unexcused Absence)?
If you have an unexcused absence or are truant--
Truancy is defined as being absent from school or class without the consent of the parent(s), or absent from school or class once arriving on the campus without the knowledge and consent of the school. Leaving class or school without going through your teacher and the Attendance Office will be considered truant and be subject to discipline.
➢ Unexcused Tardies
Three (3) unexcused tardies will result in After School Detention or Saturday School. Repeat offenders will follow our progressive disciplinary process.
➢ First Truancy
A call home and student is assigned two (2) or four (4) hours of Saturday School.
➢ Second Truancy
A call home and four (4) hours of Saturday School will be assigned.
➢ Continued Truancy
Possible suspension or expulsion.
Students with attendance problems may be referred to the Juvenile court system under the BECCA Bill.
Students can face court-imposed discipline and the family can be fined for each absence.
➢ 20 Consecutive Truant Days
Any student who is absent for twenty (20) consecutive school days will be withdrawn from Northshore Junior High School. See WAC.392.1018.
What If I Arrive late or Need to leave Early?
If you are late to school...
Upon arriving at school bring a written note from a parent/guardian to the Attendance Office telling why you were tardy. Only medical and dental appointments or illnesses are excused. Failure to bring an excuse is considered truancy. For your convenience, we provide a downloadable Absence/Tardy Note on our NJH website at NJHWEB.nsd.org.
If you are late to class ...
Get a note or pass from the teacher who kept you. Infraction slips will be given to students without a note or pass.
If you need an early dismissal...
A note or verification from your parent or guardian must be brought to the Attendance Office before school the morning of your early dismissal. You will be given a pass to leave class at the appropriate time. Come to the Attendance Office to meet your parent and they will sign you out on the Early Dismissal Log Sheet.
If you need to go home...
Students must check out in the Attendance Office before leaving campus. Students who need to go home because of illness must check out with the school nurse. A parent or guardian must go to the Attendance Office and sign a student out of school.