A child shall be considered a resident of the Bensalem Township School District if either his/her parents or the legal guardians of his/her person reside in the district. If a child's parents or legal guardians are divorced or separated, he/she shall be allowed to attend district schools if his/her custodial parent or legal guardian resides in the district and he/she resides with the custodial parent or legal guardian. A resident shall be defined as one having lodging and an actual physical presence in the district. The superintendent shall have the power to require proof of residence by a sworn statement and by other criteria.
"Residence shall mean the domicile or place where a student lives or has his/her home with the intention that it is his/her home permanently or indefinitely. It is the place to which, whenever he/she is absent, he/she has the intention of returning. Ownership of a property in and of itself does not constitute residency."
The Bensalem Township School District believes that regular attendance in the classroom is conducive to learning and that frequent absences of pupils from regular classes disrupt the continuity of the instructional process. The district believes that through daily attendance:
1. Continuity of learning leads to improved student achievement
2. Regular school attendance that includes active and regular classroom participation leads to improved student achievement
3. A level of responsibility will develop and prepare students for adulthood and the workforce of the 21st century
Class participation is a factor in determining student achievement. The school cannot teach students who are not present. Poor attendance may limit accomplishments and reinforce a habit, which will handicap the individual in future education or employment.
Therefore, in accordance with the laws of the state, the Bensalem Township School District requires the regular attendance each day that school is in session of all school age children.
The school laws of Pennsylvania require children of compulsory school age to be in attendance on all days school is in session. A student's excused absence may be for reasons that include, but not be limited to:
3. Death in immediate family
4. Absence for religious holidays
5. Exceptionally urgent reasons that may affect the child and ordinarily do not include work at home
6. Religious instruction
7. Health care appointment for student
8. Tutorial work
Make Up Work Due to Legal Absences
A student shall be permitted to make up work and/or examinations missed while legally absent from school. Arrangements for making up work shall be made between the individual student and his/her teacher(s), in consultation as needed with the building principal or his/her designee. It shall be the building principal's responsibility to insure that an effective procedure is established for making up work between the student and teachers.Absence NotesAbsences shall be treated as unlawful until the district receives a written excuse explaining the absence. Absence notes are to be submitted to the appropriate school office within three (3) school days upon the student’s return to school. If the note is not submitted within the three (3) day grace period, the absence may be declared illegal/unexcused.
Unexcused or Unlawful Absences
"Unexcused absence" is the absence of a student for any of the following reasons:
1. Absence through parental neglect
2. Illegally employed
"Unlawful absence" is unexcused absence for all students in kindergarten through 16 years of age.
Follow-up to Unlawful Absences for Students Who Are of Compulsory School Age
1. The principal or designee shall make the decision declaring an absence as "unlawful" based upon information received from all available sources.
2. The principal or designee shall record the unlawful absence.
3. In the event a student accumulates three (3) days of unlawful absence in a school year, the principal shall send a first offense notice to the parents/guardian and a copy to the home and school visitor.
4. For each incident of unlawful absence after a first offense notice has been sent, the principal shall direct, in writing, the home and school visitor to issue a citation to the parents/guardian of the student and file a complaint with the District Magistrate.
5. Once the first notice has been issued, it will remain in effect until the student reaches the age of 17.
6. The principal/designee/home and school visitor shall attend citation hearings as scheduled by the District Magistrate.
Chronic Cases of Unlawful Absenteeism for Students Who Are of Compulsory School Age
1. If, after the first citation and hearing, additional unlawful absences occur, the principal shall consult with the home and school visitor to formulate a plan for improving the students attendance pattern.
2. Simultaneously, the home and school visitor may refer the case to one (1) or more of the following agencies:
- Bucks County Children & Youth Social Service Agency
- Family Services
- District Magistrate
- Other agencies as necessary
For each day of absence from class judged as unexcused or unlawful by school authorities, the student may receive a failing grade for the daily work in class. The student may forfeit the right to make up any written work or take any written examinations or tests missed during such absences.
Tardiness shall be defined as "the occurrence of a student arriving after the bell rings signifying the beginning of the official school day."
Habitual tardiness for reasons that clearly constitute unjustified partial absence from school will be treated with the same seriousness as an unexcused or unlawful absence with similar consequences. Ten (10) unexcused tardies will be counted as one (1) unlawful absence. Punitive measures can result for habitual tardiness. These punitive measures shall be in accordance with established building code guidelines and procedures.
Absences Due to Family Trips During the School Year
Requests by parents for permission to have children absent from school for family trips should be made in writing and processed by the principal or his/her designee. The request must be received by the principal at least ten (10) days prior to the anticipated absence. Absences approved by the principal will be considered an “excused absence.” Up to five (5) days will be approved.Before approving the absences due to family trips, the principal or his/her designee will review the current academic and attendance status of the student and will review Bensalem Township School District’s attendance policy. If a student goes on a trip for more than ten (10) school days, they will be withdrawn from the Bensalem Township School District.The student shall be held responsible for making up missed assignments and tests. No student will be granted approval during PSSA testing (Testing dates can be found on the back cover).To view Attendance Policy #204, click on the below link, then click "Enter Public Site." Click the "Policies Tab" and go to Policy #204.
Request for Early Dismissal
All cases of early dismissal should be preceded by a note from the parent/guardian stating the time, date, and reason for dismissal.
The parent or guardian may report to the school office to request that his/her child be dismissed. When the parent or guardian comes to the school office for his/her child, he/she must sign a registry stating the reason for dismissal and the date and time of dismissal. A signature must be placed on the registry. If the student legally drove to school, the student must report to his/her grade level office and sign out.
Student absences that result from early dismissal shall be treated in accordance with attendance laws. A student who is released from school with a note will be recorded as present.
Upon his/her late arrival, the student must present a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian. The note must clearly indicate the reason for the late arrival.
The district supports all attempts to make it possible for all students to graduate from the schools. The district recognizes that some students repeatedly disobey the rules designed to operate an efficient school. Therefore, the district makes provisions for aiding such students to change their behavior and foster improvement in their academic performance.
A student or parent may, at any time, request a waiver of the preceding provision by informing the student's principal in writing.
Homebound Instruction (School Board Policy 117)
Students whose absence due to illness or injury is anticipated to be longer than three (3) weeks may request homebound instruction. This service is initiated by a medical doctors note certifying the reason and expected length of absence. The request should be submitted to the school counselor.