All students enrolled in Lancaster Mennonite High School are expected to attend school and classes on a regular basis. Pennsylvania law requires school attendance until the age of 17. Students absent from class have the responsibility to make up missed work.
Lancaster 24-Hour Phone line for Attendance Messages
Parents should call the school attendance line at (717) 299-0436 ext. 550 whenever their student will be absent from or late to school. If the attendance office does not receive a lawful excuse in writing or by phone within five days of a student’s return to school following an absence, the absence is recorded as unexcused.
Legal or Excused Absences
Excusable absences include illness, death in the immediate family, impassable roads or other urgent reasons approved by the principal or the principal’s designee. With pre-approval, educational trips, church activities and college visits may also be excused. Unexcused absences include those for job interviews, care for younger children, oversleeping, missed bus, personal problems, hunting or fishing, shopping, hair appointments, farm shows (unless exhibiting) and trips (unless educational and pre-approved).
Illegal or Unexcused Absences
When a student is under 17, Lancaster Mennonite High School is required to report excessive unexcused absences to the public school district in which the student resides. School district officials may take action against the student and the parents that could result in fines, participation in court mandated programs and/or suspension of the student’s driving privileges.
After age 17, unexcused absences are no longer illegal. More than three days of unexcused absences for students above 17 are considered excessive and will not meet minimum attendance requirements. Underclassmen 17 or older who accumulate more than three unexcused days may need to make up each unexcused day prior to the next academic year. Seniors who have enough academic credits for graduation but fail to meet the minimum attendance requirements will be allowed to participate in commencement; however, these students will not receive an LMH diploma until the days of excessive absence have been made up.
LMH does not give a penalty for the first three unexcused absences during the school year; however, each additional unexcused day results in a 1% point deduction from the quarter grade in each course. Truancy from school and/or individual classes (unexcused absences without parental permission prior to the absence) results in a 2% point deduction from the quarter grade in each class missed. Students have the option of completing community service at a local non-profit organization, one hour for each percentage point for each class, in place of receiving grade deductions. Community service hours need to be verified by a supervisor at the non-profit organization, and must be completed before the end of the academic quarter to avoid grade deductions. After the fifth absence for illness in a school year, the administration may require a note from a physician for all future absences for illness in order to record the absence as excused.
A request for excusing an educational trip is to be made at least five school days in advance of the requested absence. This policy applies to college visits, church activities and educational trips with a parent or other responsible adult. Educational Trip Request Forms can be printed but are also available in the school office. To maintain satisfactory academic performance, the maximum number of days excused per school year should not exceed five.
Tardy to School
A tardy to school is classified as excused or unexcused using the same criteria as for general absences. Each student is permitted one unexcused tardy to school per semester without penalty. Students are assigned to an after-school detention for their second through fifth tardy to school. Parents will be notified when the first detention (for the second tardy) is assigned. For the sixth and any subsequent tardy to school, the student will meet with an administrator to devise a plan to modify the behavior.