Interpretation's Date: March 28, 2002
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: V. Personnel
SubSection: B. Principals, Supervisors, and Central Office Administrators



March 28, 2002

William W. Harmon, Attendance Director Fayette County Schools
111 Fayette Avenue
Fayetteville, West Virginia 25840

Dear Mr. Harmon:

This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated October 18, 2001 relative to laws relating to truancy. In particular you asked:

"(1) Is this the minimal number of unexcused absences for which a parent can be served a written notice? If not, where would one find any other criteria for the service of a written notice as stated in WV 18-8-4?

(2) In WV 18-8-4, how can the actual "receipt of the notice" by the parent be verified for the purpose of truancy charges being taken against the parent?"

West Virginia Code 18-8-4 requires the attendance director or assistant to serve written notice "in the case of five consecutive or ten total unexcused absences of a child during a school year." However, in serving the needs of the school system and the children therein, the attendance director may write to parents and guardians and request meetings whenever the need presents itself. This additional duty may be found in the same section of code wherein it states:

"The county attendance director and the assistants shall diligently promote regular school attendance. They shall ascertain reasons for inexcusable absences from school of pupils of compulsory school age and students who remain enrolled beyond the sixteenth birthday as defined under this article and shall take steps as are, in their discretion, best calculated to correct attitudes of parents and pupils which results in absences from school even though not clearly in violation of law."

As to the actual "receipt of notice", sending the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, results in a green card being returned to the sender with the signature of the individual who accepted receipt of the same. If the notice sent by certified mail is refused, the entire envelope will be returned to the sender with a stamped notation by a postal worker that the same was refused. Although that refusal may be enough to proceed to court, you may also resend the notice by first class mail with an additional letter indicating that the meeting and/or case will proceed in spite of the refusal of the certified mail.

Hoping that I have been of service, I am,



David Stewart
Superintendent of Schools


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