My friend missed an assignment in school because of a mandatory court summons. The teacher gave him a failing grade, and overall his grade dropped 3 letters for something he couldn't control.

I'm almost certain that work and school have to give you an excused absence for attending court. If this is illegal could someone give me the law that says so?

  • 4
    Which jurisdiction is this in?
    – Flup
    Jul 31, 2015 at 22:04
  • 5
    I think that it depends on a lot of factors that you don't give us. What jurisdiction (as said above) What grade level is it? Private or public school? We can't reliably answer your question without information like this.
    – michaelpri
    Jul 31, 2015 at 23:14
  • he is attending community college in colorado, sorry, I assumed anything dealing with court law would be a federal law Aug 1, 2015 at 9:05
  • From the question, it's not even clear that you're asking about the United States. Can you edit Colorado into the question? Also, you'd be surprised how much of US law is defined by the states, not the federal government. Aug 1, 2015 at 14:05
  • Very little about educational policy or state court procedure is defined by federal law.
    – cpast
    Aug 1, 2015 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


The answer is a clear maybe.

The school has a set of rules and by not attending you have broken those rules. The rules may (probably do) allow for consideration of extenuating circumstances but, in general, it doesn't have to. There is probably an appeals process, you need to investigate this.

That said, if there are no provisions for extenuating circumstances and/or no appeals process then this may make the contract "unconscionable"; in many jurisdictions this makes the contract void. That doesn't mean you get the marks; it means you get your money back.

The circumstances of your court appearance matter: the school may grant special consideration if you are called as a juror or witness; they might not if you are a defendant.

Ultimately you had a choice, to follow the rules of the court or the school; there are consequences either way.

  • 2
    I like the refund vs "free miss" distinction. I've taken and taught enough classes that I've seen the scenario - a compressed schedule where the students know - no misses. None. Sorry. You need to be here because it's all part of this class. Missing a class is akin to missing an exam; you just can't do it. If you don't like it there are other classes, other schools.
    – jqning
    Aug 3, 2015 at 1:27
  • was going to post an answer, defer to this answer.
    – dwoz
    Nov 21, 2015 at 1:35
  • 6
    Actually, they should have leniency even if the student is in court as a defendant, because innocent people get charged with crimes all the time.
    – EvilSnack
    Nov 14, 2018 at 4:53

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