• Steilacoom High School Attendance Policy


     SHSD Policy 3122 Excused and Unexcused Absences

     Why are we focusing on attendance?


    Commonly referred to as the Becca Bill, our state has established guidelines for schools to monitor and report the accumulation of unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence within any month of the current school year will be followed by a letter or phone call to the parent/guardian informing them of consequences of additional unexcused absences. After two unexcused absences within any month of the current school year, a conference will be held between the principal or assistant principal, student and parent to analyze the causes of the student’s absenteeism. The district will also assign a staff member to give the student the WARNS assessment in order to determine potential interventions and next steps. If a student reaches five unexcused absences in any single month, or ten unexcused absences in the current school year, the district is required to file a petition for civil action in juvenile court, per RCW 28A.225.030.

    ACCEPTABLE Reasons for an Excused Absence

    1. Participation in district or school approved activity or instructional program, or;
    2. Illness, health condition, or medical appointment (including but not limited to, medical, counseling, dental or optometry), or;
    3. Family emergency, including but not limited to, a death or illness in the family, or;
    4. Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural instruction, or;
    5. Court, judicial proceedings or serving on a jury, or;
    6. Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation or scholarship interview, or;
    7. State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 28A.225.055, or;
    8. Absence directly related to the student’s homelessness status, or;
    9. Absence resulting from a disciplinary/corrective action (e.g. short-term or long-term suspension, emergency expulsion), or;
    10. Principal (or designee) and parent, guardian, or emancipated youth mutually agreed upon approved activity.

    Excused Absence, in this sense, means being absent from campus for any portion of the school day, including lunch.

    ATHLETES on a Game Day

    On the day of a game, absences for any part of the day must be excused with a third party note. If an athlete is absent for any part of the day without a third party note, they will not be eligible to play.

    EXCUSING an Absence

    A parent or guardian must call, write a note, or come into the attendance office to excuse a student’s absence or tardy. Absences must be excused before the absence occurs or within 48 hours after the absence by one of the following means:

    • A phone call to the Attendance Office: 253-983-2303.
    • When leaving a voice mail, please speak clearly and include the following information:
      • Student name;
      • Parent or guardian name;
      • A phone number where parent or guardian can be reached; and,
      • The reason for the absence/specified type of appointment.
    • A note brought to the attendance office by the student including the following information:
      • Student name;
      • Parent or guardian name;
      • A phone number where parent or guardian can be reached; and,
      • The reason for absence/specified type of appointment.

    EXTENDED Absences

    Any absence over two days (not including illness) must have prior approval through a planned absence form. Signatures from parents and teachers are required. Forms may be found in the attendance office and must be submitted to the attendance office prior to the absence. 


    Students who are late to class must report to the attendance office to print a tardy slip from the tardy kiosk. Acceptable reasons for a tardy are the same as those for an absence.

    A tardy is defined as:

    • Being less than ten minutes late to the start of class.

    In each quarter the consequence for repeat tardies (after the third tardy) will be as follows:

    • Step One - Meeting with administrator. 30-Minute Lunch Detention. Notify parent.
    • Step Two - Meeting with administrator. 45-Minute After-School Detention. Notify parent.
      • ASD takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the small conference room next to the Attendance Window from 2:15-3:00. There is an activity bus which departs at 3:10.
      • ASD supersedes any previously scheduled co-curricular activities, including practice and/or competitions (and travel) for athletics.
      • Students may also be recommended (or make a request) for case review by a student restoration panel at this step. 
      • Students who no-show their detentions will serve lunch detentions until we have a parent meeting to discuss the issues at hand.
    • Step Three - Meeting with administrator. 1-Day In-School Suspension. Notify parent.
      • ISS takes place in Pod 111, from 7:35-2:05. Students may lose co-curricular privileges. 
    • Step Four - Meeting with administrator. 1-Day Out-of-School Suspension. Notify parent.
      • Students will lose co-curricular privileges. 


    Truancy is defined as:

    • Ten or more minutes late at the start of class.
    • Ten or more minutes unaccounted for during class.
    • Being off campus during lunch if you are not a qualified senior.
    • Choosing to be absent from class, even if you are still in the building (including being in the library or hallways, or bathroom without a pass from a teacher).

    The consequences for truancies will be the same as the consequences for tardies, however, truant students will also be referred to the Pierce County Juvenile Court per BECCA Law.