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Failure to Attend School
Excused Absences

A student may be excused for temporary absence resulting from any cause acceptable to the teacher, principal, or superintendent of the school in which the student is enrolled.

A student in grades 6 through 12 may be excused for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral held in this State for a deceased veteran.  If the student satisfactorily completes the school work missed while absent, the day of absence is counted as a day of compulsory attendance.

During the junior or senior years of high school, a student may be excused to visit an institution of higher education accredited by a generally recognized accrediting organization.  The district may not excuse more than two days during the junior year and two days during the senior year for this purpose.

A student may be excused for service as a student early voting clerk in an election, for a maximum of two days during the school year.

A school district must excuse a student:

(a) For observance of religious holy days, including travel; or

(b) For attending a required court appearance, including travel; or

(c) For an appearance at a governmental office to complete paperwork required with an application for citizenship; or

(d) For serving as an election clerk, for no more than two days;

(e) For taking part in a naturalization ceremony ; or

(f) For participation in a court ordered activity by students in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.

A school district must excuse a student for a temporary absence resulting from health care professionals for the student or the student’s child if the student commences classes or returns to school on the same day of the appointment.  This excuse includes the temporary absence of a student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder on the day of the student’s appointment with a health care practitioner to receive a generally recognized service for persons with autism spectrum disorder, including applied behavioral analysis, speech and occupational therapy.

A school district must excuse a student to visit with a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian who is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from continuous deployment of at least 4 months outside the locality where the parent, stepparent, or guardian regularly resides, for not more than 5 days in a school year.  The absence must be taken (i) not earlier than the 60th day before the date of deployment, or (ii) not later than the 30th day after the date of return from deployment.

Where excuse is mandatory, and in the instances where the student is visiting institutions of higher education, or sounding “Taps,” the student may not be penalized for that absence and shall be counted as if the student attended school for purposes of calculating the average daily attendance.  If the student satisfactorily completes the school work missed while absent, the day of absence is counted as a day of compulsory attendance.

Tex. Educ. Code §25.087.

At the beginning of the school year, the school district must notify the parent in writing that if the student is absent from school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a 6-month period in the same school year, or on 3 or more days or parts of days within a 4-week period, the parent is subject to prosecution for “parent contributing to nonattendance,” and the student is subject to prosecution for “failure to attend school.” The school district is also required to notify a parent if the student has been absent without excuse on 3 days or parts of days within a 4-week period. This second notice must inform the parent that it is the parent’s duty to monitor and require the student to attend school, and the parent is subject to prosecution for “parent contributing to nonattendance;” and that the parent must request a conference between school officials and the parent.

Tex. Educ. Code §25.095.

More Information about Failure to Attend School Cases

General Information

This information is furnished to you to provide basic information relative to the law governing procedures for Failure to Attend School and Parent Contributing to Failure to Attend School cases in the Harris County Justice Courts.

The Harris County Justices of the Peace and the Clerks of the Harris County Justice Courts are not allowed to give legal advice. You are urged to review the applicable laws and to consult an attorney of your choice for further information or answers to specific legal questions.

You have the right to a trial by a jury and to be represented by an attorney of your choice, or to represent yourself.

Disclaimer: The law is constantly changing and there may be times when the information on this web site will not be current. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This information is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.