Student/Family Support Services » Attendance



It is so important that your student is in school every day, on time and not leaving early! Research shows repeated absences can have a negative impact on a student’s achievements and test scores. There is also a strong link between attendance and graduation rates. Our goal is for your student to be successful at school and beyond. 


An accurate daily record is kept of all absences, tardies, and early departures. Total school attendance is a factor in the school accreditation process required by the state.


Students are required by state law to attend school regularly. Multiple unexcused absences may violate this law.


Marion Community Schools communicates with parents/guardians regarding absences. In short, after 5 absences, Marion Community Schools sends a letter to parents/guardians advising them of school attendance policy. At 8 absences, another letter is sent stating any further absences must be accompanied by appropriate documentation explaining the reason for the absence (i.e. doctor’s note).


At 10 unexcused absences, the case can be categorized as truancy and may be referred to the appropriate officials. 


At the high school level, additional disciplinary consequences may be assigned beginning with 1 day missed, so that we can provide proactive support and prevent students from falling behind in credit-bearing courses, keeping them on track for graduation. In addition, Indiana law allows driver permits and licenses to be suspended or revoked due to habitual truancy. See the MHS Student Handbook for details (click here). 


Unexcused absences are any that don't qualify as excused or exempt, as outlined below.


Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Together, we can help your student succeed.



A student’s parent/guardian must notify the school each day the student is absent from school. This means if a student is out for more than one day, a separate notification is expected each day they are out. 

Parents/guardians are expected to contact the school by telephone on the day of the absence. (Click here for building phone numbers.)

  • PK-4: Absence should be reported to your school building office by 8:15 a.m.
  • 5-12: Absence should be reported to your school building office by 9:15 a.m. 

If making a call is not possible, written documentation from the parent should be delivered (email or on paper) to the school office by the day of the student’s return. We ask that documentation of such absences be provided within 24 hours of the absence. If you cannot meet that 24-hour turnaround, please reach out to us as quickly as possible. 


False informing to the attendance office by a student will result in 2 days In School Suspension for the student. False informing by an adult is unlawful.

NOTE: All absences must be reported. Any absence that is not reported (via the methods stated above) is considered unexcused, regardless of the reason for the absence.


Absences can be considered excused as follows:

  • Illness/incapacity may be considered excused as follows:
    • If a student is sent home sick by a school nurse: excused absence 
      • For students who drive themselves to school, the school nurse will contact the parent/guardian if the student is being sent home sick; for all other students, the school will contact the parent/guardian to come and pick up the student 
      • NOTE: If a student contacts their parent/guardian for an early pickup due to illness and does not go through the school nurse and no absence report is made by the parent/guardian: unexcused absence  
    • If a parent calls (or provides written notification) to report a student is absent due to illness/incapacity: excused absence 
    • NOTE: By law Marion Community Schools retains the right to require physician's documentation for any reported absence due to illness, regardless of the number of previous absences. In such cases, documentation should be provided to the school from a licensed physician or the school nurse within 6 days of the request, or the absence will be considered unexcused. 
    • Click here to view MCS health guidelines for students
  • Attendance at a family funeral; MCS retains the right to require documentation. 
  • Military-related function
  • Court-related function

NOTE: All absences must be reported. Any absence that is not reported (via the methods stated above) is considered unexcused, regardless of the reason for the absence.


Exempt absences do not count against a student's attendance record. MCS retains the right to require documentation, and specific documentation is outlined in the law in some cases. Some exemptions may require advance permission in writing from parents and school principal. 

  • Service as a page or honoree of the General Assembly (State Legislature)
  • Service on a precinct election board or for political candidates or parties
  • Subpoenaed as witness in judicial proceeding
  • Duty with the Indiana National Guard (not to exceed 10 days) or the Indiana wing of the civil air patrol
  • Educationally related nonclassroom activity (see IC 20-33-2-17.5); requires principal approval in advance; pre-arranged college visits may qualify in this category
  • Exhibiting or participating in State Fair (not to exceed 5 days; see IC 20-33-2-17.7)
  • Religious instruction (not to exceed 120 minutes in a week; see IC 20-33-2-18)

NOTE: Exempt absences do NOT mean that students are exempt from missed classwork. See the FAQ below regarding making up missed classwork.

We encourage anyone who receives communication from us regarding their student's attendance to reach out to the school immediately.


In some cases, the absence may be recategorized as excused or exempt based on a parent/guardian's report. Please review the information above regarding those types of absences, so you can speak with your school about your student's specific situation. 


In the case of multiple unexcused absences, we would like to work with your family proactively to determine the best way to support your student's needs. We encourage you to reach out to us before you reach the 10-day limit, so that we can help connect you with such support. Once you have reached the 10-day limit, our options are guided by the requirements put in place by the state of Indiana. So please reach out to us early to discuss your situation!

Any student arriving late at the start of the day must check in at the building office prior to going to class. 


In grades 7-12, multiple tardies may result in disciplinary consequences. Please review specifics in your building's student handbook (click here). In addition, at the high school level, class period absences will accrue and be counted as full day absences, in accordance with the policy outlined above. (Each seven periods absent — or the equivalent minutes — count as a full day). 


In grades K-6, late arrival, missed mid-day time, and early departure will all be tracked, and minutes will accrue. Once the number of minutes missed has reached the equivalent of a day, it will be considered an absence. See information above regarding absences. 

We encourage families to avoid scheduling appointments (such as dental and doctor visits, etc.) during the school day if possible.


Any partial absence should be reported as outlined above. MCS retains the right to require documentation.

  • If a student is returning to school after an appointment, they must check in at the building office prior to going to class.
  • If a student needs to leave school early, the parent/guardian should notify the school by phone or in writing no later than the morning of the appointment. Student must be signed out. 

Exempt or excused absences do NOT mean that students are exempt from missed classwork. Students or their parent/guardian should always check with their teacher(s) regarding any missed classwork for any absence. (Click here for teacher contact information.)


If a student misses 3 or more consecutive days, their parent/guardian can ask the school building office to arrange for assignments and materials such as books, school-provided mobile device, etc., to be compiled for pickup. Such requests must be made at least 24 hours in advance of pickup.