115C-379. Method of enforcement.

(a) It shall be the duty of the State Board of Education to formulate the rules that may be necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this Part. The Board shall prescribe (i) what shall constitute unlawful absence, (ii) what causes may constitute legitimate excuses for temporary nonattendance due to a student's physical or mental inability to attend or a student's participation in a valid educational opportunity such as service as a legislative page or a Governor's page, and (iii) under what circumstances teachers, principals, or superintendents may excuse pupils for nonattendance due to immediate demands of the farm or the home in certain seasons of the year in the several sections of the State.

(b) In addition to any excused absences authorized pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the rules shall require school principals to authorize the following excused absences:

(1) Religious observance. - A minimum of two excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by the faith of a student or the student's parent or legal guardian.

(2) Military leave. - A minimum of two excused absences each academic year, if all of the following conditions are met:

a. The student's parent or legal guardian is an active duty member of the uniformed services, as defined by Article 29B of this Chapter, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

b. The student's parent or legal guardian has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting.

c. The student is not identified by the local school administrative unit as at risk of academic failure because of unexcused absences.

The rules may require that the student's parent or legal guardian give the principal written notice of the request for an excused absence a reasonable time prior to the religious observance or military leave. The student shall be given the opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance or military leave.

(c) It shall be the duty of all school officials to carry out such instructions from the State Board of Education, and any school official failing to carry out such instructions shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor: Provided, that the compulsory attendance law herein prescribed shall not be in force in any local school administrative unit that has a higher compulsory attendance feature than that provided herein. (1955, c. 1372, art. 20, s. 2; 1963, c. 1223, s. 7; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 887; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2007-186, s. 1; 2010-112, s. 1; 2019-201, s. 1(a).)