24 P.S. § 13-1329 Excuses from attending school
(a) The board of school directors of any school district may, upon certification by any licensed practitioner of the healing arts or upon any other satisfactory evidence being furnished to it, showing that any child or children are prevented from attending school, or from application to study, on account of any mental, physical, or other urgent reasons, excuse such child or children from attending school as required by the provisions of this act, but the term "urgent reasons" shall be strictly construed and shall not permit of irregular attendance. In every such case, such action by the board of school directors shall not be final until the approval of the Department of Public Instruction has been obtained. Every principal or teacher in any public, private, or other school may, for reasons enumerated above, excuse any child for non-attendance during temporary periods.
24 P.S. § 13-1330 Exceptions to compulsory attendance
The provisions of this act requiring regular attendance shall not apply to any child who--
(2) Has been examined by an approved mental clinic or by a person certified as a public school psychologist or psychological examiner, and has been found to be unable to profit from further public school attendance, and who has been reported to the board of school directors and excused, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the State Board of Education;
24 P.S. § 13-1332 Reports of enrollments; attendance and withdraws; public and private schools
Every principal or teacher in every public school, and every principal, teacher or tutor in every school other than a public school, and in every institution for children, and every private teacher in every school district, shall, immediately after their admission to such school or institution, or at the beginning of such private teaching, furnish to the district superintendents, attendance officers, home and school visitors, or secretaries of the boards of school directors of the districts wherein the parents or guardians of such children reside, lists of the names and residences of all children between six (6) and eighteen (18) years of age enrolled in such school or institution, or taught by such private teacher; and shall further report at once to such district superintendent, or secretary of the board of school directors, the name and date of withdrawal of any such pupil withdrawing from any such school or institution, or from such private instruction, if such withdrawal occurs during the period of compulsory attendance in said district. Every principal or teacher in a school other than a public school, and every private teacher, shall also report at once to the superintendent, attendance officer, home and school visitor, or secretary of the board of school directors of the district, any such child who has been absent three (3) days, or their equivalent, during the term of compulsory attendance, without lawful excuse.
24 P.S. § 25-2510.1 Payments on account of homebound children
Every school district, regardless of classification, shall be paid by the Commonwealth for the school year 1966-1967, and for each school year thereafter, on account of the instruction of homebound children, an amount determined by multiplying the mandated minimum hourly rate for instructing homebound children by the district's aid ratio. Payments made to school districts for the instruction of homebound children shall only be made to the extent funds are appropriated for this purpose.
22 Pa Code § 11.13 Compulsory school age.
Compulsory school age refers to the period of a child’s life from the time the child enters school as a beginner which may be no later than at the age of 8 years, until the age of 17 or graduation from a high school, whichever occurs first. A beginner is a child who enters a school district’s lowest elementary school grade that is above kindergarten.
22 Pa Code § 11.24. Unaccounted absences.
Students whose names are on the active membership roll, who are at anytime in the school term absent from school for 10 consecutive school days, shall thereafter be removed from the active membership roll unless one of the following occurs:
(1) The district has been provided with evidence that absence may be legally excused.
(2) Compulsory attendance prosecution has been or is being pursued.
22 Pa Code § 11.25 Temporary excusals due to illness or other urgent reasons.
(a) A principal or teacher may, upon receipt of satisfactory evidence of mental, physical or other urgent reasons, excuse a student for nonattendance during a temporary period, but the term ‘‘urgent reasons’’ shall be strictly construed and does not permit irregular attendance. A school district shall adopt rules and procedures governing temporary excusals that may be granted by principals and teachers under this section. Temporary excusals may not exceed 3 months.
(b) A school district, area vocational technical school, charter or independent school may provide students temporarily excused under this section with homebound instruction for a period not to exceed 3 months. A school district, area vocational technical school, charter or independent school may request approval from the Department to extend the provision of homebound instruction, which shall be reevaluated every 3 months. When a student receives homebound instruction, the student may be counted for attendance purposes as if in school. A school district shall be reimbursed for homebound instruction provided to a student under section 2510.1 of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 PS § 25-2510.1).
(c) A school district shall adopt policies that describe the instructional services that are available to students who have been excused under this section. The policies must include statements that define the responsibilities of both the district and the student with regard to these instructional services.
22 Pa Code § 11.34 Excusals from attendance for other than temporary reasons
(a) A school district may excuse a school age child from compulsory school attendance upon recommendation of the school physician and a psychiatrist or public school psychologist, or both, and with the approval of the Secretary. The excusal, which shall be reevaluated every 3 months, may be extended upon the recommendation of the school physician and with the approval of the Secretary. Children so excused shall be entered on the inactive roll.
(b) Prior to seeking excusal and the Secretary’s approval, the school district shall provide the child’s parents with written notice of both the proposed excusal, including the reasons for the excusal, and an opportunity to be heard. For a child enrolled in special education, the notice and opportunity to be heard shall be governed by § § 14.161 and 14.162 (relating to prehearing conferences; and impartial due process hearing and expedited due process hearing).
22 Pa Code § 11.41 School district policies and rules
(a) Each school board shall adopt written policies concerning district child accounting, attendance, admission, excusal and program procedures as necessary to implement this chapter. The policies shall be a matter of public record.
(b) Each school board shall adopt, and distribute yearly to parents, written rules governing student admissions, attendance, absences and excusals, that are in conformity with this chapter.
(c) Each school board shall adopt a written policy permitting students to be excused for participation in agricultural fairs in conformity with section 1329(b) of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P.S. § 13-1329(b)).
22 Pa Code § 12.1 Free education and attendance
(a) All persons residing in this Commonwealth between the ages of 6 and 21 years are entitled to a free and full education in the Commonwealth’s public schools.
(b) Parents or guardians of all children between the ages of 8 and 17 are required by the compulsory attendance law to ensure that their children attend an approved educational institution, unless legally excused. Students who have not graduated may not be asked to leave school merely because they have reached 17 years of age if they are fulfilling their responsibilities as students. A student may not be excluded from the public schools or from extracurricular activities because:
(1) The student is married.
(2) The student is pregnant.
(3) The student has a disability as identified by Chapter 15 (relating to protected handicapped students).
(4) The student is an eligble student identified under Chapter 14 (relating to special education services and programs).
22 Pa Code § 14.162 Impartial due process hearing and expedited due process hearing.
(a) In addition to the requirements incorporated by reference in 34 CFR 300.504 (relating to procedural safeguard notice), with regard to a student who is mentally retarded or thought to be mentally retarded, a notice when mailed shall be issued to the parent by certified mail (addressee only, return receipt requested).
(b) If parents disagree with the school district’s, or the early intervention agency’s in the case of a young child, identification, evaluation, or placement of, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the student or young child, the parent may request an impartial due process hearing.
(c) A school district or early intervention agency may request a hearing to proceed with an initial evaluation or a reevaluation when a parent fails to respond to the district or early intervention agency’s proposed evaluation or reevaluation. When a parent rejects the district or early intervention agency’s proposed identification of a child, proposed evaluation, proposed provision of a free appropriate public education or proposed educational placement, other than the initial placement, the school district or early intervention agency may request an impartial due process hearing. If the parent fails to respond or refuses to consent to the initial provision of special education services, neither due process nor mediation may be used to obtain agreement or a ruling that the services may be provided.
(d) The hearing for a school aged child with a disability or thought to be a child with a disability shall be held in the school district at a place and time reasonably convenient to the parents and child involved. A hearing for an eligible young child or thought to be an eligible young child shall be conducted at a place and time reasonably convenient to the parents and child involved. These options shall be set forth in the notice provided for requesting a hearing.
(e) The hearing shall be an oral, personal hearing and shall be closed to the public unless the parents request an open hearing. If the hearing is open, the decision issued in the case, and only the decision, shall be available to the public. If the hearing is closed, the decision shall be treated as a record of the student or young child and may not be available to the public.
(f) The decision of the hearing officer shall include findings of fact, discussion and conclusions of law. Although technical rules of evidence will not be followed, the decision shall be based solely upon the substantial evidence presented at the hearing.
(g) The hearing officer shall have the authority to order that additional evidence be presented.
(h) A written or at the option of the parents, electronic verbatim record of the hearing shall, upon request, be made and provided to parents at no cost.
(i) Parents may be represented by legal counsel and accompanied and advised by individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of children with disabilities.
(j) A parent or parent’s representative shall be given access to educational records, including any tests or reports upon which the proposed action is based.
(k) A party may prohibit the introduction of evidence at the hearing that has not been disclosed to that party at least 5-business days before the hearing.
(l) A party has the right to compel the attendance of and question witnesses who may have evidence upon which the proposed action might be based.
(m) A party has the right to present evidence and testimony, including expert medical, psychological or educational testimony.
(n) A party to a hearing has the right to obtain written, or, at the option of the parents, electronic findings of fact and decisions.
(o) The decision of the hearing officer regarding a child with a disability or thought to be a child with a disability may be appealed to a court of competent jurisdiction. In notifying the parties of the decision, the hearing officer shall indicate the courts to which an appeal may be taken.
(p) The following applies to coordination services for hearings and to hearing officers:
(1) The Secretary may contract for coordination services for hearings related to a child with a disability or thought to be a child with a disability. The coordination services may include arrangements for stenographic services, arrangements for hearing officer services (including the compensation of hearing officers), scheduling of hearings and other functions in support of procedural consistency and the rights of the parties to hearings. The compensation of hearing officers does not cause them to become employees of the Department.
(2) A hearing officer may not be an employee or agent of the school entity in which the parents or the child with a disability or thought to be a child with a disability resides, or of an agency that is responsible for the education or care of the child with a disability or thought to be a child with a disability or by a person having a personal or professional interest that would conflict with the person’s objectivity in the hearing. A hearing officer shall promptly inform the parties of a personal or professional relationship the officer has or has had with any of the parties.
(q) The following time line applies to due process hearings:
(1) A hearing shall be held after the conclusion of the resolution session under 34 CFR 300.510 (relating to resolution process) or after one of the parties withdraws from mediation or the parties agree to waive or agree to end the resolution session.
(2) The hearing officer’s decision shall be issued within 45 days after the resolution or mediation session ends without resolution or agreement date.
(3) A hearing officer may grant specific extensions of time beyond the periods in paragraphs (1) and (2) at the request of either party.
(4) If an expedited hearing is conducted under 34 CFR 300.532 (relating to appeals), the hearing officer decision shall be mailed within 30 school days of the public agency’s receipt of the request for the hearing without exceptions or extensions.
(r) Each school district and early intervention agency shall keep a list of the persons who serve as hearing officers. The list must include the qualifications of each hearing officer. School districts and early intervention agencies shall provide parents with information as to the availability of the list and shall make copies of it available upon request.
(s) Except as provided in 34 CFR 300.533 (relating to placement during appeals), during the pendency of any mediation proceeding conducted in accordance with 34 CFR 300.506 (relating to mediation), unless the school entity and the parents of the child agree otherwise, the child that is the subject of the mediation shall remain in the current education placement until the mediation process is concluded.
(t) The Department will report to the Board by September 1 each year on the number of impartial due process hearings held during the previous school year. The report will also provide a Statewide summary of the results of the hearings in a manner that will not violate the confidentiality of children and families. The report will also address actions taken during the previous school year and future plans to strengthen the activities of due process hearing proceedings.