Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–203. Enforcement; penalties.

(a) An accurate daily record of the attendance of all minors covered by § 38-202 and this section shall be kept by the teachers of each educational institution. These records shall be open for inspection at all times by the Board, the State Superintendent of Education, school attendance officers, or other persons authorized to enforce this subchapter.

(b) Repealed.

(c)(1) The absence of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) without valid excuse shall be unlawful.

(2) An absence of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) who is enrolled in a public school is deemed unexcused unless the minor's parent, guardian, or other person who has custody or control of the minor provides the school with a valid excuse for the minor's absence within 5 school days upon the minor's return to school.

(d) The parent, guardian, or other person who has custody or control of a minor covered by § 38-202(a) who is absent from school without a valid excuse shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(e) Any person convicted of failure to keep a minor in regular attendance in a public, independent, private, or parochial school, or failure to provide regular private instruction acceptable to the Board may be fined not less than $100 or imprisoned for not more than 5 days, or both for each offense.

(f) Each unlawful absence of a minor for 2 full-day sessions or for 4 half-day sessions during a school month shall constitute a separate offense.

(f-1) Repealed.

(f-2) Repealed.

(g) For the 1st offense, upon payment of costs, the sentence may be suspended and the defendant may be placed on probation.

(h) For any person convicted under this section, the courts shall consider requiring the offender to perform community service as an alternative to fine or imprisonment or both.

(i) Within 60 days after the end of a school year, each public, independent, private, or parochial school shall report to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and make publicly available the following data for each school or campus under its authority based on the preceding school year:

(A) The number of minors, categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, who had unexcused absences for:

(i) One to 5 days;

(ii) Six to 10 days;

(iii) Eleven to 20 days; and

(iv) Twenty-one or more days;

(A-i) The work of the school-based student support teams in reducing unexcused absences, including:

(i) The number of students who were referred to a school-based student support team;

(ii) The number of students who met with a school-based student support team;

(iii) A summary of the action plans and strategies implemented by the school-based student support team to eliminate or ameliorate unexcused absences; and

(iv) A summary of the services utilized by students to reduce unexcused absences;

(v) A summary of the common barriers to implementing the recommendations of the school-based student support team;

(B) The number of minors, categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, that the school reported to the Child and Family Services Agency pursuant to § 4-1321.02(a-1) and (a-2);

(B-i) The number of minors categorized by grade, or equivalent grouping for ungraded schools, that the school referred to the Court Social Services Division of the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for truancy; and

(C) The policy on absences, including defined categories of valid excuses, that it used.

(j) By August 1, 2012, the Mayor shall develop, through rulemaking, appropriate enforcement mechanisms to ensure that each school, principal, and teacher is in full compliance with the requirements of this subchapter and any regulations issued pursuant to this subchapter.

(k) By November 30 of each year, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education shall publicly report on the state of absenteeism in the District based on data from the preceding school year, including an analysis of truancy and chronic absenteeism by school or campus and the impact of current laws on improving school attendance.