The change will take time to prove its effectiveness. I believe its critical that school boards across the state call for a review of school district attendance policy before the start of school next year. With the changes to the truancy law this year, just one unexcused day (if combined with 19 excused absences) will still result in a mandatory filing at the county attorney's office. While most students in Nebraska never get close to 20 absences, kids with serious ongoing illness and other special needs could still be vulnerable under Nebraska's truancy law in districts with highly aggressive attendance policies.
In some districts a student who takes an extra couple days of family travel during the school year or misses school for competitive gymnastics or other highly competitive sports will accrue UNEXCUSED absences and could likely fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement because no longer are these absence recognized as legitimate.
I encourage School Boards to implement attendance policies that honor family time and parental authority. The Gretna School District policy as a model worth emulating.
Gretna School District Policy:
All absences, except for illness and/or death in the family, require advance approval.
An absence for any of the following reasons will be excused, provided the required procedures have been followed:
(1) Illness (personal Illness of the student)
(2) Bereavement or emergency in the family
(3) Doctor or dental appointment which require student to be absent from school
(4) Court appearances that are required by a court order
(5) School sponsored activities which require students to be absent from school
(6) Family trips in which student accompanies parents/legal guardians
(7) Religious observance
(8) Other absences which have received prior approval from the Principal
Voting in the affirmative, 46
Adams, Cornett, Harms, Lautenbaugh, Schilz, Ashford, Council Harr, B. Louden Schumacher, Avery Dubas, Heidemann, McCoy, Smith, Bloomfield, Fischer, Howard, McGill, Sullivan, Brasch, Flood Janssen, Mello, Wallman, Campbell, Fulton, Karpisek, Nelson, Wightman, Carlson, Gloor, Lambert, Nordquist, Christensen, Haar, K. Langemeier, Pahls, Coash, Hadley, Larson, Pirsch, Conrad, Hansen, Lathrop, Price
Voting in the negative, 0
Excused and not voting, 3
Cook, Krist, Seiler