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Suggestions to Parents of Children with Attendance Problems

While not all of these suggestions are appropriate to your situation, it is to you and your child's benefit that you follow as many of the suggestions as possible.



Provide Justification for Absence

It is required that you provide a doctor's note to certify all personal illness absences.  For absences not directly related to the child's personal illness, third party verification will be needed, for example, a note from a probation officer or court of law.  The Compulsory Attendance Law does address full day as well as partial day absences.  Therefore, late arrival to school, single period absences, or early removal from school will also require the documentation as described above.  Remember, ultimately it is the parent's responsibility to do everything possible to comply with the Compulsory Attendance Law.  Non-compliance with this requirement will lead to court action. 



Monitor your child's attendance

Now that you have been made aware of your child's attendance problems, don't rely on the school to contact you.  Make it your business to check regularly with the school attendance office, your child's teachers, and via the online Parent Portal system.




Keep a written record or log of all contacts made with school officials, police, social agencies, etc. in your efforts to resolve the attendance problems. 



Contact a school counselor

It might be helpful for you to call the school counselor to arrange a meeting with all your child's teachers to discuss attendance, academic progress, and behavior. 



Check absences on report card

Remember to ask to see your child's report card.  It is issued every six weeks.  Look not only at the grades, but also the absences.



Read the student handbook

Student handbooks are distributed to the students at the beginning of each school year.  If you haven't seen one, please get one from the school and become familiar with the district and school policies and procedures.  Pay particular attention to the section regarding absences and attendance policies. 



Require a reasonable curfew

Require your child to be home at a reasonable hour in order to get enough rest to attend school the next day.  If your child violates the curfew, provide appropriate consequences. 



Shadowing After Truancy

If at all possible, commit yourself to accompany your child from class to class to class for the entire school day immediately after he/she has been truant.  Although this may sound like a drastic measure, this will demonstrate to school authorities and to your child your full cooperation and since effort to thwart truancy. 



Call the police if needed

Call the police if your child becomes violent and/or destructive when you are trying to send him/her to school.  Follow through with filing charges against your child if aggressive behavior continues.



Know your child's friends

Keep a list of names, phone numbers and addresses of your child's friends.  Exchange phone numbers with their parents.  Beware of friends that go by street names and are secretive about their personal lives. 



Limit activities on school nights

  • Time spent talking on the telephone
  • Watching television
  • Visiting with friends
  • Involvement in social activities
  • Any other extracurricular activities that is inappropriate on school nights



Provide Rewards and consequences

Discuss with your child the house rules and the consequences that will occur if the rules are broken.  Write them down and post them where your child can see them daily. 



Seek assistance from social agencies

Do not hesitate to ask for assistance from professionals in counseling, alcohol abuse, parenting classes, psychological, psychiatric services and child placement facilities.  Communities in School can assist in locating appropriate services. 



Report your child as a runaway if needed

Notify the police department if your child is under 17 years of age and they are unable to be located.



Practice good parenting skills

  1.   Tell your child you do not approve of his/her behavior, but that you still continue to love him/her.
  2.    Practice what you preach" because a child will model a parent's behavior.
    1. Don't use abusive language direct towards your child or in his/her presence.
    2. Emphasize that honesty is the best policy.
    3. Respect school officials in dealing with your child's problems.
    4. Limit, if not eliminate, the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other substances that might endanger you or your family's health. 

It is important to keep the Attendance Officer informed of the action you are taking to resolve the attendance problems and the results of your activity.  If there is no communication from you in this regard it will be assumed no action has been taken by you to correct the problem.  This could make you liable for truancy court action if the attendance problem continues to exist.