School Attendance

  • Cuyahoga County and the Parma City School District are committed to working with parents, schools and the community to keep kids in school and prevent educational neglect.
    All children deserve a solid education to prepare them for the challenges of today's world. A child who is not in school is at risk. Repeated unexcused absences have consequences to the child and the parents. This guide has been prepared to help parents understand their legal obligation and the legal consequences of educational neglect.
    Ohio law recognizes the value of regular school attendance, requiring that all children ages 6 to 18 attend school. It is the parents' legal responsibility to enroll their children in school.
    It is common for parents to have questions about when their children can legally miss school. The following are examples of lawful excuses for missing school:
    • Legitimate illness
    • Family emergency
    • Funeral
    • Religious holidays
    The following are examples of absences that are not lawful:
    • Parent forgot to wake the child
    • Parent did not know the school schedule
    • Child missed the bus
    • Child overslept or was sleepy
    • Child did not feel like going to school
    All schools welcome questions about their attendance policy and encourage parents to contact them if they have question about a particular type of absence.
    What is Considered Educational Neglect?
    In 2000, Governor Bob Taft signed as a law, Senate Bill 181. This bill redefined the categorization of a truant youth, placed strong responsibility on parents, and will work to implement truancy prevention programs into schools. In regards to youth in elementary schools, it is the parent's responsibility entirely to make sure his/her child is in school.
    Educational Neglect: When children fall within the ages of 6-12, or elementary school level, the parents are responsible for making sure that his/her child attends school regularly and on time (i.e., 15 days or more of unexcused absences is unacceptable.) Although 15 days or more of unexcused absences may not seem unusually high, over time (i.e., 8 years of schooling) your child may miss an entire school year. Therefore, staff will review and identify patterns of excessive and unexcused absences when considering filing on a student.
    The school is responsible for monitoring your child's attendance. Children will be identified who are not regularly attending school. The school will follow up through:
    • Phone calls to the family
    • Face-to-face contact
    • Scheduled home visits
    • If the situation does not improve, the school officials may do the following:
    • Family will be referred to a mediation
    • Family will be referred to available services
    • For excessive absences and non-cooperation from the parent(s)/guardian(s) a referral to the Department of Children and Family Services may be made for educational neglect.
    • As a last resort, legal action can result in court orders directed at the parents to ensure regular attendance.
    Those parents in full compliance with the standards regarding educational neglect and who are active in getting their child back to school will not be filed upon.

    Know Your Rights
    Parents who have complaints filed with the Department of Children and Family Services alleging parental educational neglect are entitled to have a lawyer represent them at all stages of their case. Generally, a Public Defender will be available at the first hearing. If the services of a private attorney cannot be afforded the court will appoint an attorney for the child and/or parent.
    There is help out there. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call. Please visit the resources page to locate phone numbers and Web sites.