Attendence Code

  • A tardy student must be here by 11:45 AM or they are marked absent for ½ day.
  • A student leaving early must stay at school until 1 PM or they are marked absent for ½ day.
  • If a student is present less than two hours they are marked absent for the entire day.
  • A student must be at school four or more hours to be counted present for the whole day.


Under law, every child between five and sixteen years of age residing in St. Mary's County must attend some public school regularly during the entire period of each school year, unless it can be shown that the child is receiving regular, thorough instruction elsewhere. Each person who has LEGAL CUSTODY OR CARE AND CONTROL of a child who is five years old or older and under sixteen shall see that the child attends school or receives instruction as required by this section [of the Student Handbook].

Lawful Absences

The following reasons are deemed lawful absences:

  • death in the immediate family;
  • student illness, for which the principal may require a physician's certificate;
  • court summons;
  • hazardous weather conditions;
  • work if approved or sponsored by the school;
  • observance of a religious holiday;
  • state of emergency;
  • suspension;
  • lack of authorized transportation; and
  • other circumstances which, in the judgment of the principal or designee, constitute a good and sufficient cause for absence from school.

Unlawful Absences

Absences, including absences for any portion of the day, for any reason other than those cited as lawful are presumed to be unlawful and may constitute truancy.

Elementary and Middle Schools
If an elementary or middle school student is unlawfully absent twenty-five (25) or more days, the student will be referred to the Pupil Services Team (PST) for consideration of retention for the following year to ensure that the student has had an appropriate opportunity to learn and master grade level skills.

These statements are from the St. Mary's County Public Schools 2007-2008 Student Handbook/School Calendar, pp. 24 & 25.