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New Ohio Attendance and Truancy Law

The Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 410 that goes into effect this new school year. With this new law, all school districts across the State will be required to notify parents of specific accumulated excused and unexcused absences during the school year.

With this new law, two new categories of accumulated absences were created: Excessive Absences and Habitual Truant.

Excessive absences:

“38 or more hours in one school month with or without a legitimate excuse”, and

“65 or more hours in one school year with or without a legitimate excuse”.

Habitual truant is defined by:

“Absent 30 or more consecutive hours without a legitimate excuse”,

“Absent 42 or more hours in one school month without a legitimate excuse”; and

“Absent 72 hours or more in one school year without a legitimate excuse”.

If a student meets the above criteria, the new law requires each school district to notify parent/custodian/guardian by letter of this information. Therefore, if your student goes beyond these requirements, we will send you a letter in the mail. In addition, the school district is required to notify the Ohio Department of Education through our state reporting system.

Districts are also required to develop an Absence Intervention Team to work with the parent/custodian/guardian and student on improving attendance to school. If the student does not make progress on the plan within 61 days or continues to be excessively absent, the new law requires the district to file a complaint in juvenile court.

 

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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

•Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.

•Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.

•Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

◦School officials with legitimate educational interest;

◦Other schools to which a student is transferring;

◦Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;

◦Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;

◦Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;

◦Accrediting organizations;

◦To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;

◦Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and

◦State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

The source of this information is:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20202-8520

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