Parents are responsible for a child's regular attendance at school. Excessive absences can lead to a criminal charge being filed against each parent, punishable by up to ten days in jail or up to a $100 fine. School districts and Polk County are dedicated to ensuring every child is given the opportunity to receive the education they deserve. If a child misses 10 days of school (or more), the child's school will contact the Polk County Attorney's Office to schedule a meeting with the parents, a mediator, and the child to figure out the best solution for all.
Chapter 299 of the Iowa Code requires that every child between the ages of 5 to 16 shall attend school.
Parents: Help your children understand that by regularly showing up in school, their adult life will be better than if they don't attend!
Why Your Child is at Risk
Many state and national statistics show the dangers of children missing school.
- The U.S Department of Education reports that for every missed day of school, it takes a student two days to catch up.
- Children who are are truant in elementary school often develop a pattern of truancy that leads to dropping out of school.
- Children who do not attend school are more likely to become involved in delinquent and ultimately criminal behaviors.
- 50% of children who drop out of school are unemployed as adults.
Notify School of Any Absence
Make sure you know your school's policies about notification regarding absences and what documentation your school accepts for:
- Medical appointments
- Observance of religious holidays
- Family emergencies
Also know what absences your school will excuse. Some activities generally not accepted for an excused absence include:
- Missing the bus
- Cold Weather
- Need for sleep or rest
- Car broke down
Communication with your school is very important. Make sure to inform your school of every time your child misses class.
Advice for Parents
- Make it clear that education is important by showing interest in your child's schoolwork and activities.
- Establish a routine and be consistent.
- Set a regular bed time.
- Set clear expectations and follow through.
- Plan appointments and vacations around the school day as much as possible.
- Bring doctor's notes with dates and times your child was seen if they must miss school.
- Make sure your child arrives on time. Being late 10 minutes a day totals 30 hours of lost instruction for the school year.
- Refuse to provide and excuse for your student unless it is a legitimate absence.