2011 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 22: Public Schools
Article 12: Compulsory School Attendance, 22-12-1 through 22-12-9
Section 22-12-9: Unexcused absences and truancy; attendance policies.
22-12-9. Unexcused absences and truancy; attendance policies.
A. As used in this section and Sections 22-12-7 and 22-12-8 NMSA 1978:
(1) "habitual truant" means a student who has accumulated the equivalent of ten days or more of unexcused absences within a school year;
(2) "student in need of early intervention" means a student who has accumulated five unexcused absences within a school year; and
(3) "unexcused absence" means an absence from school or classes for which the student does not have an allowable excuse pursuant to the Compulsory School Attendance Law or rules of the local school board or governing authority of a charter school or private school.
B. An unexcused absence of two or more classes up to fifty percent of an instructional day shall be counted as one-half day absence, and the unexcused absence of more than fifty percent of an instructional day shall be counted as one full-day absence.
C. Each school district and charter school shall maintain an attendance policy that:
(1) provides for early identification of students with unexcused absences, students in need of early intervention and habitual truants and provides intervention strategies that focus on keeping students in need of early intervention in an educational setting and prohibit out-of-school suspension and expulsion as the punishment for unexcused absences and habitual truancy;
(2) uses withdrawal as provided in Section 22-8-2 NMSA 1978 only after exhausting intervention efforts to keep students in educational settings;
(3) requires that class attendance be taken for every instructional day in every public school or school program in the school district; and
(4) provides for schools to document the following for each student identified as an habitual truant:
(a) attempts of the school to notify the parent that the student had unexcused absences;
(b) attempts of the school to meet with the parent to discuss intervention strategies; and
(c) intervention strategies implemented to support keeping the student in school.
D. The department shall review and approve school district and charter school attendance policies.
E. School districts and charter schools shall report unexcused absences and habitual truancy rates to the department in a form and at such times as the department determines and shall document intervention efforts made to keep students in need of early intervention and habitual truants in educational settings. Locally chartered charter schools shall provide copies of their reports to the school district. The department shall compile school district and charter school reports on rates of unexcused absences and habitual truancy and require school districts and charter schools to certify that the information is being reported consistently.
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