A new Oregon law allows students to take up to five “mental health days” per quarter, or 20 a year.
The allotted absences do not require a written excuse be provided to the principal of the student’s school, the Associated Press (AP) reported Sunday:
“Under state law, students can have up to five absences excused in a three month period. Anything more requires a written excuse to the principal.”
The goal of the law is to treat mental health the same as physical health, AP reports:
“Oregon will allow students to take ‘mental health days’ just as they would sick days, expanding the reasons for excused school absences to include mental or behavioral health under a new law that experts say is one of the first of its kind in the U.S.”
“Previously, schools were obliged to excuse only absences related to physical illnesses. At many schools, absences must be excused to make up missed tests or avoid detention.”
Absenteeism is already a problem in Oregon, as state data show that one in six students miss at least ten percent of school days, AP reports.