New York's legal requirements for reporting school attendance.

Understanding New York's School Attendance Reporting Obligations

Ensuring children receive an education is not merely a societal goal but a legal requirement. In New York State, the Education Law mandates that all children between the ages of six and sixteen must attend full-time instruction. This law is rooted in a fundamental belief that education is essential for both individual development and the health of the state at large. To enforce this, New York has established specific legal requirements for reporting school attendance.

Who Is Responsible for Reporting?

The primary responsibility for reporting attendance falls on the schools. Public, private, and parochial schools must all adhere to the regulations set forth by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Each school is tasked with maintaining accurate attendance records for all enrolled students.

Daily Attendance Reporting

Schools are required to take attendance at least once daily. For older students, particularly in secondary schools, attendance may be recorded each period. This granular approach allows schools to better track truancy and class cutting.

Annual Attendance Records

At the end of each school year, districts must submit a comprehensive attendance report to NYSED. These reports play a critical role in various state funding formulas and ensure compliance with compulsory education laws.

Intervention Strategies

In cases where a pattern of unexcused absences emerges, schools must intervene. This can include outreach to parents or guardians, counseling for the student, and potential involvement of child protective services if educational neglect is suspected.

The Role of Parents and Guardians

While schools are responsible for reporting attendance, parents and guardians also have obligations under New York law. They must ensure their children attend school regularly. Failure to do so can lead to legal consequences including charges of educational neglect.

Historical Context

The importance of tracking school attendance has been recognized for over a century. For example, in the early 1900s, New York City appointed truant officers to monitor attendance and enforce laws requiring children to go to school. This historical emphasis underscores the state's long-standing commitment to education.


New York's legal framework for reporting school attendance aims to confirm that every child receives the education they are entitled to by law. By maintaining accurate records and promptly addressing absenteeism, schools play a vital role in upholding this right.