Education Law Questions? Ask an Education Lawyer
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What state is this in?
(Illnesses are generally excused absences and will not be counted against the student, but I want to provide you with a specific reference).
I am very sorry to learn of this situation. Unfortunately, Texas has a reputation for being extremely aggressive towards enforcement (and even prosecution) of truancy laws.
The primary statute is Texas Ed Code 25.087 which exempts from truancy those absences approved by the administration.
If your child is ill, most school districts will require a physician (or other comparable healthcare professional - RNP, PA, etc.) to verify the illness if they are absent for more than 7 days (the number of days is going to be based on local district protocols.
If your child has chronic health problems, you can look into initiating what is called a "Health Plan" or "504 plan" - where your child's chronic health problems are discussed and written into their education plan and future absences due to illness from such chronic condition are more easily deflected.
You can also try contacting the school district (above the principal) and ask to have a meeting to discuss the situation. The District may or may not agree with your assessment of the situation - be prepared to show that your child was indeed ill (again a physician's statement is going to be your best argument).