Titan Guide » Attendance & Off Campus Policy

Attendance & Off Campus Policy

SMHS believes in the value of strong attendance, and attendance policies are designed to promote regular class participation. The student’s job is not merely to acquire knowledge for him/herself, but to contribute to the learning community by sharing ideas, perspectives, and values with others.  Poor attendance prevents the student from being an active member of the learning process.

For an absence to be excused, the student must provide a note from home, with name, identification number, and grade properly signed by a parent/guardian, specifically stating the reason for the absence and the date of the absence.  School personnel, in accordance with California Law, will determine whether the absence will be excused.  Only excused absences will entitle the student to make up any missed work.  A parent note does not automatically excuse an absence.  

The school loses state funding for every student absence, regardless of the reason for it.  The money received from the state, known as ADA, is critical to the school as any loss directly affects the district’s operating funds.  State law requires that every student attend school full time until the age of sixteen.  When a student reaches the age of sixteen, he/she may attend continuation school part-time until he/she turns eighteen or graduates.

The school district receives a payment of $32.29 from the state each day that a student is in school.  A student who attends school every day during the school year means that the district receives an approximate amount of $5812 for that student.  Due to the importance of this funding to the district, we request that if the student is absent, the district be reimbursed by sending a check for $32.29 to the San Marino Unified School District for each day the student is absent.

A sixth truancy to any one class in a semester may result in a failing academic grade in addition to a failing grade in citizenship for that class.  See page 19 for more information on truancy.
Seniors—A senior who accumulates more than nine non-school related absences to any one class in a semester will lose the privilege of participating in the graduation ceremony and may be withheld from participating in other school activities or earning senior awards.  School-related events must be approved as such by an administrator before the student misses a class.  An appeal process will allow students to petition to exceed this limit due to absences beyond the control of the student such as extended illness (verified by doctor) or required court appearances.  It should be noted that such absences do not automatically increase the permitted total number of absences.

If a family knows prior to an absence that a student will be out for three or more days, a note should be brought to the attendance office prior to the absence.  This “planned absence” note will allow us to notify teachers and facilitate make-up work for the student.

After any absence, the student must bring to the attendance office a written note from home which specifies the student’s name, the reason for the absence, the date(s) and periods missed, grade level, and ID number.  A parent must properly sign the note.  IT IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE FOR A PERSON TO SIGN ANYONE ELSE’S NAME, EVEN IF THAT OTHER PERSON IS AWARE OF THIS ACTION.  SIGNING SOMEONE ELSE’S NAME FOR ANY REASON WILL BE CONSIDERED FORGERY. Students must report to the attendance office with their note early enough to be on time to their first period.  “Standing in a long line” will not excuse tardiness to class.  Students returning from absence should report to the attendance office no later than 7:40 AM.

Absentees will be issued a pink Absence Card in the morning and will have to present it in each class in order to be readmitted.  Students who return from an absence without a proper note will be issued a pink Truant Card.  The student will have 3 days to bring a proper note from home.  If after 3 days this absence has not been properly accounted for, it will remain a truant and disciplinary action will follow.

The first 2 tardies to any class will not affect the citizenship grade.  The classroom citizenship grade will be lowered a level with each tardy after the first one.  Upon the sixth tardy to a class, the student will receive an “F” in citizenship.  Subsequent tardiness may result in an administrative reduction in citizenship or a drop/fail from the class.  Unexcused tardiness in excess of 7 minutes is considered a truancy.

The Administration will again use a disciplinary policy regarding class truancies that combines detentions and administrative lowering of citizenship grades.  It is hoped that progressive consequences will present a fair policy that emphasizes the seriousness of truancy.
1st Class Cut: The student will be assigned one hour of detention.  Failure to attend detention for any reason other than an all-day illness from school will result in an administrative lowering of the citizenship grade.  If a student misses detention due to absence, it is the student’s responsibility to reschedule the detention.  Failure to do so will result in an administrative grade drop and suspension for defiance of authority (EC 48900). 
2nd Class Cut: 2 hours of detention for every period of truancy
3rd Class Cut: Administrative citizenship grade drop and two hours of detention for every period of truancy
4th Class Cut: Same as the third class cut.
5th Class Cut: Automatic “F” in citizenship for the semester.  Parents will be notified by phone.
6th Class Cut: Drop/Fail from class
It must be noted that law allows for involuntary transfer to continuation school as a consequence of repeated truancy.  

Please note: Students found off campus during school hours can be cited by the San Marino Police Department for Daytime Curfew Violation (SMCC 14.08.01).

Off Campus Passes

Off Campus Passes for appointments requiring that the student leave school before the end of the instructional day will be issued only upon presentation of a written note signed by the parent which specifically states the nature of the appointment, the time the student must leave school, and the approximate time at which the student will return to school.  The note must be brought to the attendance office before school on the morning of the appointment.  A pass will be given to the student.  If for any reason the student does not return to school at approximately the time indicated in the note, the parent should send a follow-up note confirming the parent’s awareness of the student’s extended absence and the actual time of return to the school.  This note may be returned with the student or, if necessary, the following day.


The Health Office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day.  The APO will assume nursing duties whenever the Health Office is vacant.  Students desiring the services of the Health Office are asked to enter during the school day with a pass from a teacher.  If the student must go home and there is no nurse volunteer, students must check out through the attendance office.

All offices will use the following procedure:
The parent or those authorized on the emergency card are contacted by phone with instructions to pick up the student in the Health Office or the APO.  Students are not to wait unsupervised in the parking circle or any other area.
If a student is ill and is to walk, ride a bike, or drive a car to the home of those assuming responsibility, phone permission must be obtained.
Only a parent/guardian may give permission for an ill student to go to his/her home when there is no adult at home.


Leaving campus without first clearing through the Attendance Office will be treated as a truant.  Except for SENIORS with Off-Campus Privilege at lunch, NO student may leave campus without a pass, for any reason.


A doctor’s note is to be presented to the counselor when a student needs to be excused for more than 3 days.  The note is placed on file in the Counseling Office and the counselor will notify the P.E. teacher.  Please note that even excused absences require makeup work in P.E. to earn credit and/or avoid a lowered grade due to missed class.