In the wake of the tragic death of Alianna DeFreeze, a fourteen-year old Cleveland student, Ohio has passed a new statute establishing a new, stricter time limit for public schools to notify parents or guardians of a student’s absence.
Effective April 5, 2019, all Ohio public school districts, brick-and-mortar charter schools, and STEM schools must notify a student’s parents or guardians of the student’s absence from school within 120 minutes from the beginning of the school day. Previously, schools were only required to notify parents or guardians within a reasonable time period.
To comply with the new statute, R.C. 3321.141, a school must demonstrate a good faith effort to contact an absent student’s parents or guardians. Schools are permitted to choose from a variety of means of notification, including a telephone call (with verification of call placement), the school’s automated student information system, an email, an in-person visit to the student’s residence, or any other viable procedure adopted by the district’s Board of Education.
The statute that contained the previous requirement of notification within a “reasonable time” -- RC 3313.205 – remains in effect, subject to the new 120-minute deadline, and still mandates that schools have a written absentee notification policy.
Although the new law and its 120-minute time limit currently only apply to public schools, the requirement may prompt private schools and other institutions to consider stricter notification policies.
View the new bill in its entirety here
, and the Ohio Legislative Service Commission Final Analysis here