7 Melissa G. Ballard
8 Kera Birkeland
Jordan D. Teuscher
10 LONG TITLE
11 General Description:
12 This bill adds mental or behavioral health as a valid excuse for a school absence.
13 Highlighted Provisions:
14 This bill:
15 ▸ adds mental or behavioral health as a valid excuse for a school absence; and
16 ▸ makes technical and conforming changes.
17 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
19 Other Special Clauses:
21 Utah Code Sections Affected:
23 53G-6-201, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2020, Chapter 20
25 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
26 Section 1. Section 53G-6-201 is amended to read:
27 53G-6-201. Definitions.
28 As used in this part:
29 (1) (a) "Absence" or "absent" means the failure of a school-age child assigned to a class
30 or class period to attend a class or class period.
31 (b) "Absence" or "absent" does not mean multiple tardies used to calculate an absence
32 for the sake of a truancy.
33 (2) "Minor" means a person under the age of 18 years.
34 (3) "Parent" includes:
35 (a) a custodial parent of the minor;
36 (b) a legally appointed guardian of a minor; or
37 (c) any other person purporting to exercise any authority over the minor which could be
38 exercised by a person described in Subsection (3)(a) or (b).
39 (4) "School day" means the portion of a day that school is in session in which a
40 school-age child is required to be in school for purposes of receiving instruction.
41 (5) "School year" means the period of time designated by a local school board or
42 charter school governing board as the school year for the school where the school-age child:
43 (a) is enrolled; or
44 (b) should be enrolled, if the school-age child is not enrolled in school.
45 (6) "School-age child" means a minor who:
46 (a) is at least six years old but younger than 18 years old; and
47 (b) is not emancipated.
48 (7) (a) "Truant" means a condition in which a school-age child, without a valid excuse,
49 and subject to Subsection (7)(b), is absent for at least:
50 (i) half of the school day; or
51 (ii) if the school-age child is enrolled in a learner verified program, as that term is
52 defined by the state board, the relevant amount of time under the LEA's policy regarding the
53 LEA's continuing enrollment measure as it relates to truancy.
54 (b) A school-age child may not be considered truant under this part more than one time
55 during one day.
56 (8) "Truant minor" means a school-age child who:
57 (a) is subject to the requirements of Section 53G-6-202 or 53G-6-203; and
58 (b) is truant.
59 (9) (a) "Valid excuse" means:
60 (i) an illness, which may be either mental or physical;
61 (ii) mental or behavioral health of the school-age child;
65 (A) individualized education program; or
66 (B) Section 504 accommodation plan;
69 governing board, or school district.
70 (b) "Valid excuse" does not mean a parent acknowledgment of an absence for a reason
71 other than a reason described in Subsections (9)(a)(i) through (vi), unless specifically permitted
72 by the local school board, charter school governing board, or school district under Subsection