New attendance policy takes a toll on students, parents, staff


Photo Credit: photo via Basma Marghany's Genesis account

After years of not having an attendance policy for the secondary and elementary school level, a new attendance policy is finally put in place

By: Basma Marghany, Editor

With the school year of 2019-2020 starting a lot has changed. One of the things that changed that might put students in jeopardy is the attendance policy in Woodbridge Township.

Previous Policy Vs New Policy

In the past years the WTSD ( Woodbridge Township School District’s) attendance policy was that students received eight unexcused absence per semester class, six per a quarter class, and two for a health. If students submitted a doctor’s note for an illness, in the past it was considered an excused absence. Parents who wrote a note as to their child’s absence were also deemed excused absences under the old policy. In September 2019,  WTSD adapted the state’s attendance policy to battle its absenteeism issues. The state’s policy limits excused absences to only five reasons:

  1. Religious observances
  2. College visits ( up to 3 visits per school year for students in 11 &12 grade only)
  3. Take our child to work day
  4. Participation in observance for Veterans’ Day
  5. The closure of busing district that prevents a student from having transportation


With it being a new attendance policy , it took a toll on students, parents,and some staff members. Kim Fortuna, a Senior mom from Colonia High School, said, ” I feel that if you’re sick and have a doctor’s note it should be accepted for your absence. I also feel that if someone is out for a funeral and it’s a close family friend that past and that it should be excused. Lastly, I feel that if it was a family member that passed that the student should take a couple of days to mourn and not have to be rushed to be back in school.”

Agreeing with Fortuna, Junior Noorein Ali added, ” It’s unfair to students who are sick beyond eight times, why should they have to risk losing credit in their class or come to school miserable just because they can’t be absent for illness.”

Even though some disagreed with new attendance policy some teachers think that it is a god idea Mr. Brian Finnegan (Biology teacher at Colonia High) said, “I feel like it is a good preparation for what life after high school will be, and if you think about it now you don have to justify why you were not in school.

Why did we adapt the state policy ?

In the past only high school students really had something to control their absenteeism. When asking Dr. Zega (superintedent of WTSD) as to why the state’s attendance policy was adapted he replied, “It wasn’t really meant to target high school students, but more for the elementary and middle school level. Since they had nothing in place for their attendance.”

Sophmore Alexa Leviten had a different approach, “I think it should have been handled a different way because high school students are more mature.¨

Now there is an elementary and middle school absenteeism policy, but high school students are now in jeopardy or losing credit and not graduating.