HOUSE BILL 110
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; ALLOWING AN EXCUSED ABSENCE FOR ONE MENTAL HEALTH DAY PER YEAR PER STUDENT; PROVIDING LIMITATIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 22-12A-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2019, Chapter 223, Section 2) is amended to read:
"22-12A-2. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Attendance for Success Act:
A. "absent" means not in attendance for a class or school day for any reason, whether excused or not; provided that "absent" does not apply to participation in interscholastic extracurricular activities;
B. "attendance improvement plan" means a tiered data-informed system for public schools and school districts to identify students who are chronically or excessively absent and to aid public schools in developing whole-school prevention strategies and targeted interventions. Each of the tiers is defined as follows:
(1) "whole school prevention" means universal, whole-school prevention strategies for all students, including students who have missed less than five percent of classes or school days for any reason;
(2) "individualized prevention" means targeted prevention strategies for individual students who are missing five percent or more but less than ten percent of classes or school days for any reason;
(3) "early intervention" means interventions for students who are missing ten percent or more but less than twenty percent of classes or school days for any reason; and
(4) "intensive support" means interventions for students who are missing twenty percent or more of classes or school days for any reason;
C. "attendance team" means a group of school-based administrators, teachers, staff, other school personnel and community members who collaborate to implement an attendance improvement plan;
D. "chronic absence rate" means the percentage of students, in the aggregate and disaggregated by the subgroups required for reporting pursuant to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, in a public school and a school district who have been enrolled for at least ten days and who have missed ten percent or more of school days since the beginning of the school year;
E. "chronically absent" or "chronic absenteeism" means that a student has been absent for ten percent or more of classes or school days for any reason, whether excused or not, when enrolled for more than ten days;
F. "excessively absent" or "excessive absenteeism" means a student who is identified as needing intensive support and has not responded to intervention efforts implemented by the public school;
G. "excused absence" means absence from a class or school day for a death in the family, medical absence, religious instruction or tribal obligations, mental health day or any other allowable excuse pursuant to the policies of the local school board;
H. "interscholastic extracurricular activities" means those activities sponsored by a public school or an organization whose principal purpose is the regulation, direction, administration and supervision of interscholastic extracurricular activities in public schools;
I. "local school board" includes the governing body of a charter school;
J. "medical absence" or "medically absent" means that a student is not in attendance for a class or a school day for a parent- or doctor-authorized medical reason or the student is a pregnant or parenting student;
K. "school day" means a portion of the school day that is at least one-half of a student's approved program;
L. "school district" includes a charter school;
M. "school principal" includes the head administrator of a charter school; and
N. "unexcused absence" means an absence from a class or school day for which the student does not have an allowable excuse pursuant to the Attendance for Success Act or policies of the local school board."
SECTION 2. Section 22-12A-9 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2019, Chapter 223, Section 9) is amended to read:
"22-12A-9. MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS--ILLNESS--SPECIAL SITUATIONS--MAKE-UP WORK.--
A. A student may be excused for parent- or doctor-authorized medical reasons. A public school shall provide time for the student to make up the school work missed during the absence.
B. A school district shall maintain an attendance policy that:
(1) provides at least ten days of medical absences during the school year for a student who provides documentation of the birth of the student's child, and the public school shall provide time for the student to make up the school work missed during the absence; and
(2) provides four days of excused absences for a student who provides appropriate documentation of pregnancy or that the student is the parent of a child under the age of thirteen needing care, and the public school shall provide time for the student to make up the school work missed during the absence.
C. A school district that has an alternative public school for, among others, pregnant and parenting students and that allows for off-site attendance through online education shall not count students as absent as long as the students are online with the public school or other appropriate virtual course and complete their class assignments.
D. A student may, subject to the approval of the school principal, be absent from school to participate in religious instruction for not more than one class period per school day with the written consent of the student's parent at a time that is not in conflict with the academic program of the school. The public school shall provide time for the student to make up the school work missed during the absence. The school district or the public school shall not assume responsibility for the religious instruction of any student or permit religious instruction to be conducted on school property.
E. A public school student, with the written consent of the student's parent and subject to the approval of the school principal, may be absent from school to participate in tribal obligations. The public school shall provide time for the student to make up the school work missed during the absence.
F. A public school student, with the written or verbal consent of the student's parent, may take one day per school year as a mental health day; provided that the mental health day shall not be taken on a test day. The public school shall provide time for the student to make up the school work missed during the absence."
SECTION 3. APPLICABILITY.--The provisions of this act are applicable to the 2020-2021 and subsequent school years.
- 6 -