Absences

It is important that students attend school regularly to acquire knowledge and develop skills. Massachusetts General Laws, c76, sec. 1, states that all children between the ages of six and sixteen must attend school. Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School may excuse up to seven days absences in any six months. Absences due to illness or other serious issues are, of course, understandable. Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School students who are sick should remain at home where they can receive care and not spread the illness to other children. Vacations, other than the regularly scheduled school vacations, are discouraged because of the disruption to the classroom learning process. It is difficult to compensate for extended loss of classroom time with make-up work. Any situation that involves serious extenuating circumstances must be brought to the attention of the principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, and team leader by the parent.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR REGULAR ATTENDANCE 

 

  1. RESPONSIBILITY FOR REGULAR ATTENDANCE

A student will not be eligible to participate in the day’s co-curricular activities if the student is tardy after 9:00 A.M. or dismissed before 1:30 P.M. without medical documentation or verified extenuating circumstances.  Participation will not be allowed without the approval of the Principal or designee.  Furthermore, in order to participate in events on non-school days, students must be in attendance on the day prior.

Regular attendance in school is required by Massachusetts law (G.L. c.76, §2) for all persons between the ages of 6 and 16. It is the shared responsibility of each student, his or her family, and the school to ensure that the student attends school each day that he or she is not sick. Failure to attend school, except under extraordinary circumstances, will require school personnel to seek help for the student and the student’s family through court action and/or through the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

Seven (7) unexcused absences in any term will result in a failing grade for that term or four (4) unexcused absences for a half credit course.    In addition three (3) tardies to any class equals one absence from that class.  For fourth quarter seniors, four (4) unexcused absences will result in a failing grade for that term.

If a student is absent for ten (10) days in a half year period (18 weeks) without clear communication about the reason, the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) will be contacted by the principal or designee. If necessary, a meeting including the parent(s) or guardian(s), principal or designee, and student will be held to determine the reasons for the absence and to encourage the student to attend school regularly. When necessary, an officer from the Melrose Police Department will be asked to join this meeting. A record of this meeting and the reason for the absence will be filed in the student’s permanent folder.

No student sixteen years of age or older shall be considered to have permanently left public school unless an administrator of the school which such student last attended has sent notice within a period of ten (10) days from the student’s fifteenth (15th) consecutive absence to the parent or guardian of such student in both the primary language of such parent or guardian and English, stating that such student and his parent or guardian may meet with the school committee or its designated representatives prior to the student permanently leaving school, within ten days after the sending of the notice. The time for meeting may be extended at the request of the parent or guardian and with consent of the school committee or its designated representatives, provided no extension shall be for longer than fourteen (14) days. Such meeting shall be for the purpose of discussing the reasons for the student permanently leaving school and alternative educational or other placements. M.G.L. c.76, §18.

A student may be re-enrolled in school after an extended absence, but academic credits and promotion to the next grade are likely to be seriously jeopardized by the student’s lack of academic progress during the extended absence. Therefore, lengthy absences for extended trips are strongly discouraged by the Melrose Public Schools; as teachers cannot provide the advance assignments or study aids a child would need over long periods of time to maintain the pace of learning in his or her classroom.

Please call in all student absences. Parents should call 781-979-2116 for middle school students and 781-979-2216 for high school students. This notification allows school personnel to know that your child is safe and that the absence is authorized.

When a student reaches the age of sixteen, he or she may withdraw from school with the permission of his or her parent or guardian. The parent(s) or guardian(s) may meet with the School Committee or the School Committee’s designated representative prior to the student’s withdrawal from school for the purpose of discussing the reason for the student’s withdrawal and the alternative educational programs available to the student. Such meeting shall take place within ten (10) days of the student’s decision to withdraw, except that the time for such meeting may be extended not more than fourteen (14) days at the request of the parent(s) or guardian(s) and with the consent of the School Committee or its designee. The student will be told that he or she may resume his or her education even if he or she has withdrawn from school pursuant to this procedure.

PRIOR TO BEING ABSENT

Please call-in all student absences. Parents should call 781-979-2116 so that school personnel will know that the child is safe and that the absence is authorized. The attendance office is located in the assistant principal’s office.

AFTER BEING ABSENT

Student must present his/her homeroom teacher with an absent note signed by the parent/guardian. The absent note should contain the student’s full name, homeroom, date(s) of absence and reason for absence. Parents are asked to call in to report a student’s absence and send in a written absent note upon the child’s return to school. Please note, that simply reporting your child absent does mean it is an “Excused” Absence. General illness is considered an unexcused absence, even with parent notification. For an absence to be excused a doctor’s note, or paperwork for a legal matter.

ABSENT MORE THAN FIVE CONSECUTIVE DAYS

Students who are absent five or more consecutive days are required to see the school nurse before they are readmitted. The student should report to the main office and the nurse will be notified. While occasional absences from school may happen due to illnesses, a pattern of excused or unexcused absences must be addressed and will result in parental notification, parental conferences and/or possible court referral.