Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation into law on Friday requiring parents to notify officials when their child will be absent from school.
The law also stipulates that school officials must contact a parent if a student is absent without prior notification to the school.
The bill, known as Tabitha’s Law, is named for a Tennessee teenager, Tabitha Tudor, whose parents were not aware she did not attend school one day in 2003. The school did not contact Tudor’s parents to tell them she was absent. They did not know she was missing until almost 5 p.m. that day. She remains missing.
State 40th District Assemblyman Scott Rumana is the primary sponsor of the bill Christie signed.
“Unanticipated absences can be a sign of a bigger problem, which can be solved by being proactive,” Rumana said in a statement. “Responding quickly to an unexaplained absence can avert a tragedy and the heartache that families and communities feel when they hear a story like [Tudor’s].”