Attendance going south


Aiden perales

Students in attendance at school. Photo by Aiden Perales

Daniel Botello, Assistant editor

As students return to school fresh and rested after the winter vacation, school attendance offices across the city are starting to take role for their students again. Attendance in schools is very important to districts as it helps create funding for resources and gives schools a good rating towards the end of the year. 

“We receive funding for students that are present, so everyday during third period which is out ADA time, it’s important to have accurate attendance because that’s what we report to the government so that we can get funding for our student services,” AP of attendance Stephanie Contreras said. 

Attendance also matters academically, a student can only have a certain number of unexcused absences in the entire school year until disciplinary action is taken by the district. Students and their parents can be taken to court by the district, and some students are even forced by law to make up class hours during breaks and weekends. 

“Student can have 18 absences per class without being penalized, penalized being that after 18 unexcused absences they will possibly have to do attendance recovery and make up the hours.” Contreras said. “Students will also be put on an attendance contract and monitored by our truancy officer and attendance staff, if there is a violation of the contract and continuous absences the student and their parent will be filed truancy charges and taken to court, once at court the judge will court order fees, various penalties, they can order a GED if they are repeat offenders, they can be denied a VOE which can prevent students from getting their permit and drivers license, and will have to do attendance recovery.

There is also a big difference in unexcused and excused absences. Unexcused absences will count against you and teachers are not required to let you make up work. While excused absences are the opposite. 

“Unexcused absences count towards your truancy, and teachers don’t have to let you make up any of your work if you have an unexcused absence, but if you have excused absences teachers are required to make up your work and they don’t count against you in court,” attendance officer June Garcia Said.

The processing time for attendance has also slowed in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which means that parents and students will have to file their tardiness and absences earlier if they want to see them go away quicker. 

“We usually say 24 to 48 hours to get everything entered, but right now because of COVID it takes a little longer because there are a lot of people who are out, so sometimes it can take a little but we stay between 4 to 5 days,” Garcia said