Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney’s bill permitting excused absences for students who attend civic events was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee yesterday.
“The purpose of this bill is to encourage our students to get involved in civic activities at a young age without worrying about whether they are excused from school,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “My bill allows them to take part in a civic event on a school day that piques their interest or supports a passion they have — and not have that day affect their absence total at the end of the school year or put them at risk of losing credit for their classes.”
Rooney’s bill (A1271, version S2340 in the Senate) allows for excused absences for students in grades 6-12 to participate in a “civic event,” which is described as “an event sponsored by a government entity, the community, or a local nonprofit organization to address an issue of public concern such as community health and safety or environmental, economic, or community well-being.”
The bill allows local Boards of Education to permit additional absences for these purposes at their discretion. A student’s parent or guardian must send in written documentation outlining the event to school administrators at least 5 days before the absence for review and approval.
A1271/S2340 features bipartisan sponsorship and co-sponsorship support in both the Assembly and Senate. It will be discussed by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee at an upcoming session as it moves one step closer to adoption by the Legislature.