Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook
Introduction and Attendance
Philosophy for Students
Mukilteo School District Board of Directors view the school as a place to experience academic and social success. Success contributes to positive student self-esteem which, in turn, translates into positive student behavior. By providing opportunities for students to learn concepts, practice skills, and experience academic success, we create an environment which promotes academic and social success. Our program focuses on developing each student as a competent, self- disciplined learner. This requires learning decision-making skills; thus, our emphasis is on identifying and defining problem behaviors, problem-solving skills and prevention measures. These are built within an atmosphere of self-respect, respect for one another, and respect for the learning environment. School District policies, including rights and responsibilities, and student conduct procedures, are designed to provide boundaries within which individuals find security, yet freedom to develop self-discipline. Emphasis is placed on positive behaviors, growth and behavior-related consequences. It is important for students to be responsible for their actions. Students, parents and staff must simultaneously work to support the rights of students while helping students accept responsibility for their academic and social growth.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
The philosophy and policies of Mukilteo School District respect and protect the general rights of all students and parents. These policies establish certain student rights and corresponding responsibilities within our educational framework.
To implement our commitment to the development of student academic and social growth through the process of providing opportunities and developing self-discipline and individual responsibility in a positive way, School District personnel will:
- demonstrate respectful and positive attitudes
- define and consistently hold high academic and behavioral expectations of students
- be consistent and appropriate with students
- maintain the dignity and self-esteem of students
- create an atmosphere of respect for all
- vary the time for learning for students according to the needs of each student and the complexity of the task
- provide opportunities for success in academic and social growth
School district rules
Mukilteo School District believes that students can learn and can be taught to manage their own behavior. With that belief, the District has established three general rules of conduct that guide the behavior of students:
- students will respect the rights and property of themselves and others
- students will behave in a manner that creates a positive learning environment
- students will respect the health and safety of others
Individual schools and classrooms may develop more specific rules for students. These rules will also be consistent with Board policy and philosophy. When students do not adhere to these three basic District rules, and the rules of their specific building, the District will use discipline strategies described later in this document. These rules are in effect at all events sponsored by Mukilteo School District, including after-school and off-campus events, and on District transportation and transportation loading areas.
The positive approach
In our endeavor to focus on academic and social growth, all staff will follow a process for positively directing students in behavior change at each level of discipline. Our goal is to help students to be responsible, self-disciplined individuals.
Grievances/complaints regarding District staff or programs should be directed to the specific staff member or to the school administrator for resolution. If the grievance or complaint is not resolved at the building level, it may be directed to the Superintendent’s designee and handled according to Board Policy and Procedures 4312/4312-P. Grievance procedures and appeal processes regarding discipline, short-term and long-term suspension, and expulsion and emergency expulsion are handled in accordance to WAC 392-400 and Board Policy and Procedures 3241 and 3241-P.
The Mukilteo School District recognizes that the educational process requires a continuity of instruction, active classroom participation and meaningful life experiences. Students must attend school regularly to benefit from these educational cornerstones. Making school attendance a priority can be the biggest factor influencing a student’s academic success.
Age of Attendance and Compulsory Attendance
Attending the schools of the district shall be recognized as a right and responsibility for those who meet the requirements prescribed by law.
Every resident of the district who satisfies the minimum entry age requirement and is less than 21 years of age has the right to attend the district's schools until he/she completes high school graduation requirements. Children of age 8 and less than age 18 are required by law to attend an approved private or public school unless they are receiving approved home- based instruction. Under certain circumstances children who are 16 years of age or older may be excused from further attendance at school. The Superintendent shall exercise their authority to grant exceptions when they determine that the student:
- Is regularly and lawfully employed and either the parent agrees that the child should not be required to attend school, or the child is emancipated in accordance with Chapter 13.64 RCW,
- Is attending a residential institution,
- Has satisfied graduation requirements in accordance with the State Board of Education rules and regulations, or
- Has received a certificate of educational competence in accordance with the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education.
A resident student who has been granted an exception retains the right to enroll as a part-time student and shall be entitled to take any course, receive any ancillary services and take or receive any combination of courses and ancillary services which is offered by a public school to full-time students.
Benefits to Daily Attendance
Regular attendance to school allows a student to keep up with daily classroom activities, lessons, assignments, tests and quizzes, and to complete them on time. Other benefits include:
- Academic Achievement – students who attend school regularly are more likely to pass their classes and meet standard on local and state
- Opportunities – students who attend school regularly have opportunities such as access to counselors, access to important information such as SAT and ACT test dates or scholarship information, the ability to participate in field trips, guest speakers and
- Being a member of the school – students who participate feel a sense of belonging and being a member of something bigger than themselves. They learn teamwork, communication skills, meet others from diverse cultures and acquire other valuable social
When Your Student Misses School
Failure to attend school causes an interruption of instructional activities, some of which cannot be substituted. Failure to attend school regularly may result in the following:
- Loss of credit – beginning with the class of 2019, students must earn 24 credits to graduate on time from high school, so every credit
- Grade reduction – missing school may mean missing assignments, missing assignment deadlines and/or lower test scores, which may result in lower
- Removal from class or school – students who do not attend school regularly risk being removed from a class(es) with a loss of credit or from school entirely. Students who have missed 20 consecutive days of school may be dropped from school due to nonattendance.
- Attendance to school is mandatory – mandatory school attendance is a policy that schools take Unexcused absences may cause a school to file a Becca Petition with the courts.
Attendance in the schools of the State of Washington is compulsory from the age of eight (8) to the age of eighteen (18). When a student is sixteen (16) years of age or older, and with parental consent, students in full-time, remunerative occupations and other exceptions under RCW 28A.225.010 need not attend. However, students who enroll obligate themselves to the same attendance regulations which exist for students not covered by exceptions.
Students enrolled in Mukilteo School District will attend all regularly scheduled classes to which they are assigned unless officially excused by administration, the class teacher or designee.
All Mukilteo School District schools have closed campuses during the school day.
WAC 392-401-020 Excused absences – Absences due to the following reasons must be excused:
- Illness, health condition or medical appointment (including but not limited to medical, counseling, dental, optometry, pregnancy, and in-patient or out-patient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health) for the student or person for whom the student is legally
- Family emergency including, but not limited to, a death or illness in the
- Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or cultural
- Court, judicial proceeding, court-ordered activity, or jury
- Post-secondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation, or scholarship
- State recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW 225.055.
- Absence directly related to the student’s homeless or foster care/dependency
- Absence related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent with RCW 705.010.
- Absences due to suspensions, expulsions or emergency expulsions imposed pursuant to chapter 392-400 WAC if the student is not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying “course of study” activities as defined in WAC 392-121-107.
- Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults or
- Absences due to the student’s migrant
- An approved activity that is consistent with District policy and is mutually agreed upon by the principal or designee and a parent, guardian or emancipated
- Absences due to the student's lack of necessary instructional tools (including internet access or connectivity)
A school principal or designee has the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria for an excused absence. Districts may define additional categories or criteria for excused absences.
Excused Absences During School Facility Closures
A new section WAC 392-401-020(2) was added to the rule defining reasons a student must be considered absent in the event of emergency school facility closure due to COVID-19, other communicable disease outbreak, natural disaster, or other event when districts are required to provide synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
(a) Absences related to the student's illness, health condition, or medical appointments due to COVID-19 or other communicable disease.
(b) Absences related to caring for a family member who has an illness, health condition, or medical appointment due to COVID-19, other communicable disease, or other emergency health condition related to school facility closures.
(c) Absences related to the student's family obligations during regularly scheduled school hours that are temporarily necessary because of school facility closures, until other arrangements can be made; and
(d) Absences due to the work schedule or other obligations of the student’s parents during regularly scheduled school hours, until other arrangements can be made.
Online Learning –
Definition of Synchronous Online Instruction
“Synchronous online instruction” means scheduled, real-time instruction between the student and a certified teacher or a district staff that is supervised by a certified teacher and provides opportunities for live, two-way interactive communication online.
Definition of Asynchronous Instruction
“Asynchronous instruction” means instruction that is prepared by a certificated teacher and occurs away from the physical school setting without two-way interactive communication. Absence from Synchronous Online Instruction Chapter 392-401-016 defines a student absence from synchronous online instruction as when the student does not log in to the synchronous meeting/class
Minimum Time for Being Considered Present
Districts can establish minimum thresholds like in-person attendance for the time in which a student must be logged in to be considered present. Districts and schools must develop a consistent and equitable approach that is documented in the student handbook and communicated clearly to all students and families. Determining a threshold for when a student is present or absent should not be left to individual teachers. Mukilteo Virtual Academy will document the minimum time to be considered present in their student handbook and with students and families at the start of each school year.
Presence vs. Participation
Participation, such as turning video on and participating in discussion or chat, are not to be considered when determining if a student is present or not. These are examples of participation and should be considered distinct from attendance.
Absence from Asynchronous Instruction
Chapter 392-401-016 defines a student absence from asynchronous instruction as when there is no evidence that the student accessed the planned asynchronous activity. This section also establishes that evidence of student participation in asynchronous activities must occur daily and within a twenty-four-hour time frame of when the participation is planned or expected. Similar to local determinations on what constitutes presence for synchronous online instruction, districts and schools must develop a consistent and equitable approach that establishes what constitutes “evidence of participation.”
This policy must be documented in the student handbook and communicated clearly to all students and families. Determining what constitutes “evidence of participation” should not be left to individual teachers.
Daily Attendance Taking
Chapter 392-401-018 requires specific frequencies of taking attendance when instruction is synchronous online or asynchronous. Specifically, secondary schools must take attendance daily in each course with planned instruction, and elementary schools must take attendance at least twice a day.
WAC 392-401-030 Unexcused absences - Any absence from school is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria provided in WAC 392-401-020 (listed above).
Students who must leave school during the day must check out through the student office. Students will only be allowed to leave after a note or phone call is received from the parent/guardian. Students who leave without following this procedure will be considered truant. Students returning within the same day must sign in to avoid being marked absent for the remainder of that day.
Students who have been absent from school will be excused following a written or oral communication from the student's parent/guardian, as per building procedures, giving the date of the absence and the reason for missing school. Teachers shall ensure that the students have an admit slip prior to accepting them into class following an absence.
A written or oral communication from the parent/guardian or eligible student for an excused absence must be received within two (2) school days following a return to school, unless other arrangements have been made in accordance with building procedures, or the absence will be unexcused.
Failure to attend may result in loss of credit, grades or removal from class or school.
The District will comply with the terms of the “Becca Bill” in reporting unexcused absences to juvenile court.
Becca Bill - Attendance is important for academic success, and unexcused absences may be an early warning sign for unaddressed problems with school and future dropout. When youth fail to attend school, they are considered truant. Washington State’s truancy law, known as the Becca Bill, requires the school/District and the juvenile court to take specific actions when youth are truant.
- After one unexcused absence the parent/guardian will receive notification of their child’s absence via the school district’s automated phone message.
- After three unexcused absences, the school is required to initiate a parent conference to improve the student's attendance.
- Between the second and before the fifth unexcused absence the District will take data-informed steps to eliminate or reduce the student’s absences using either the WARNS Assessment for middle/high school students or another assessment approved by the
- After five unexcused absences in a month an administrator will meet with the parent/guardian and student to assess the barriers to school attendance and create an intervention plan. If the parent/guardian is not present for the conference, the school may meet with the student alone. The signed “Attendance Intervention Plan and Agreement” will be sent home to the parent/guardian.
- After seven unexcused absences in a month, and not later than the 15th unexcused absence during the current school year, the school district shale file a petition for civil action against the parent of the child and will be referred to the Community Engagement Board which is comprised of members of the local community to address excessive absenteeism and truancy. Districts have until the student’s seventh unexcused absence to administer a screener/assessment, provide interventions, and convene the Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 team for students with an IEP or 504 plan.
- If the student’s attendance does not improve, the truancy court hearing will be requested.
What Can Parents Do?
Students and their parents have the responsibility for ensuring that the student attends school regularly as prescribed by the Compulsory Attendance Law of the State of Washington. Strategies to help your student attend school may include:
- Contact the school immediately – if your student is going to be absent from school, contact the school immediately, excuse the absence and ask for any missing work/assignments. Make sure to follow the guidelines and attendance policies outlined in each school’s student/parent
- Help your student get to school on time every day – the Mukilteo School District has a robust transportation system. If your student is riding the bus, know your pick-up and drop-off times and locations. Coming to school late may make it difficult for your student to stay caught up with the first lessons of the
- Stay informed and involved — ask your student about their day, how school went, what they have for homework, what activities are coming up and more. Check each night that your child is completing homework assignments, attend parent/teacher conferences, read information that comes home from school, check their grades online, attend school events, and get to know their friends.
- Promote good health – make sure your student is eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise and enough quality
- Resources – resources are available if you are having trouble getting your student to
- School personnel – talk with your school’s teacher, counselor, administrator, nurse, resource officer, secretary, coach, club advisor and other staff
- Online resources
- Snohomish County Juvenile Court Department –http://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/195/Juvenile-Court
- OSPI Attendance, Chronic Absenteeism, and Truancy https://www.k12.wa.us/student-success/support-programs/attendance-chronicabsenteeism-and-truancy
Mukilteo School District is required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA - Sec. 99.7) to provide annual notification of FERPA rights. The District shall maintain those student records necessary for the educational welfare of students, for orderly and efficient operation of schools, and as required by law.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over eighteen (18) years of age ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to the student's education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within forty-five (45) days of the day the District receives a request for:
Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal [or appropriate school official] a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate or:
Parents or eligible students may ask the District to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the school principal; clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
- If the District decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the District will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without:
One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the District as an administrator, supervisor, instructor or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the District has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
Upon request, the District discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. [Note: FERPA requires a school district to make a reasonable attempt to notify the student of the records request unless it states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records on request.]
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
A student shall be responsible for the cost of replacing materials or property which are lost or damaged due to negligence. A student's diploma may be withheld until restitution is made by payment or the equivalency through voluntary work as agreed to by the District. The student or the student’s parents may appeal the imposition of a charge for damages to the Superintendent and Board of Directors.
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within forty-five (45) days of the day the District receives a request for: