Interpretation's Date: March 29, 2002
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: IV. Students
March 29, 2002
William W. Harmon, Attendance Director
Fayette County Schools
Dear Mr. Harmon:
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated December 12, 2001 relative to the truancy laws. In particular you wrote:
"Please interpret WV 18-8-8 as to what the meaning of ‘Further
admission of the child to school may be refused until such
requirements and regulations be complied with.'
West Virginia Code 18-8-8 provides:
"If a child be suspended from school because of improper conduct or refusal of such child to comply with the requirements of the school, the school shall immediately notify the county superintendent of such suspension, and specify the time or conditions of such suspension. Further admission of the child to school may be refused until such requirements and regulations be complied with. Any such child shall be treated by the school as being unlawfully absent from the school during the time he refuses to comply with such requirements and regulations, and any person having legal or actual control of such child shall be liable to prosecution under the provisions of this article for the absence of such child from school: Provided, That the county board of education does not exclude or expel the suspended child from school."
I believe that the phrase in question applies when a child is suspended for a "refusal of such child to comply with the requirements of the school". In that case, admission "may be refused until" the child agrees to comply with the requirements of the school. Such continued refusal by the child and absence from school shall constitute an unlawful absence, as stated above. The terms, "unlawful" and "unexcused absence" are interchangeable and, as a result, the procedures outlined in West Virginia Code 18-8-4 need be followed.
Please refer to the November 7, 2001 Superintendent's Interpretation addressed
to you for a full discussion on the application of that code section to guardian of a
Hoping that I have been of service, I am,