State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_115C > GS_115C-378

Article 26.


Part 1. Compulsory Attendance.

§ 115C‑378.  Childrenrequired to attend.

(a)        Every parent,guardian or custodian in this State having charge or control of a child betweenthe ages of seven and 16 years shall cause the child to attend schoolcontinuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to whichthe child is assigned shall be in session. Every parent, guardian, or custodianin this State having charge or control of a child under age seven who isenrolled in a public school in grades kindergarten through two shall also causethe child to attend school continuously for a period equal to the time whichthe public school to which the child is assigned shall be in session unless thechild has withdrawn from school.

(b)        No person shallencourage, entice or counsel any child of compulsory school age to beunlawfully absent from school. The parent, guardian, or custodian of a childshall notify the school of the reason for each known absence of the child, inaccordance with local school board policy.

(c)        The principal,superintendent, or a designee of the principal or superintendent shall have theright to excuse a child temporarily from attendance on account of sickness orother unavoidable cause that does not constitute unlawful absence as defined bythe State Board of Education. The term "school" as used in thissection includes all public schools and any nonpublic schools which haveteachers and curricula that are approved by the State Board of Education.

(d)        All nonpublicschools receiving and instructing children of compulsory school age shall berequired to make, maintain, and render attendance records of those children andmaintain the minimum curriculum standards required of public schools. If anonpublic school refuses or neglects to make, maintain, and render requiredattendance records, attendance at that school shall not be accepted in lieu ofattendance at the public school of the district to which the child shall beassigned. Instruction in a nonpublic school shall not be regarded as meetingthe requirements of the law unless the courses of instruction run concurrentlywith the term of the public school in the district and extend for at least aslong a term.

(e)        The principal orthe principal's designee shall notify the parent, guardian, or custodian of hisor her child's excessive absences after the child has accumulated threeunexcused absences in a school year. After not more than six unexcusedabsences, the principal or the principal's designee shall notify the parent,guardian, or custodian by mail that he or she may be in violation of theCompulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot bejustified under the established attendance policies of the State and localboards of education. Once the parents are notified, the school attendancecounselor shall work with the child and the child's family to analyze thecauses of the absences and determine steps, including adjustment of the schoolprogram or obtaining supplemental services, to eliminate the problem. Theattendance counselor may request that a law enforcement officer accompany himor her if the attendance counselor believes that a home visit is necessary.

(f)         After 10accumulated unexcused absences in a school year, the principal or theprincipal's designee shall review any report or investigation prepared underG.S. 115C‑381 and shall confer with the student and the student's parent,guardian, or custodian, if possible, to determine whether the parent, guardian,or custodian has received notification pursuant to this section and made a goodfaith effort to comply with the law. If the principal or the principal'sdesignee determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has not made a goodfaith effort to comply with the law, the principal shall notify the districtattorney and the director of social services of the county where the childresides. If the principal or the principal's designee determines that theparent, guardian, or custodian has made a good faith effort to comply with thelaw, the principal may file a complaint with the juvenile court counselorpursuant to Chapter 7B of the General Statutes that the child is habituallyabsent from school without a valid excuse. Upon receiving notification by theprincipal or the principal's designee, the director of social services shalldetermine whether to undertake an investigation under G.S. 7B‑302.

(g)        Documentation thatdemonstrates that the parents, guardian, or custodian were notified and thatthe child has accumulated 10 absences which cannot be justified under theestablished attendance policies of the local board shall constitute prima facieevidence that the child's parent, guardian, or custodian is responsible for theabsences.  (1955,c. 1372, art. 20, s. 1; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 5; 1963, c. 1223, s. 6; 1969, c.339; c. 799, s. 1; 1971, c. 846; 1975, c. 678, s. 2; c. 731, s. 3; 1979, c.847; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985, c. 297; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 769, s. 2;1998‑202, s. 13(aa); 2001‑490, s. 2.38; 2003‑304, s. 3; 2009‑404,s. 1.)