Office of Research Legislative Budget
www.lsc.ohio.gov and Drafting Office
H.B. 38 Bill Analysis
135th General Assembly
Click here for H.B. 38’s Fiscal Note
Version: As Introduced
Primary Sponsors: Reps. Blackshear and Miranda
Effective Date:
Holly Cantrell, Attorney
 Authorizes school districts to allow students in grades K-12 to take up to three mental
health days as excused absences from school.
Mental health days as excused absences
The bill authorizes school districts to allow students in grades K-12 to take up to three
“mental health days” as excused absences from school. For that purpose, the bill defines a
“mental health day” as a school day during which a student attends to the student’s emotional
and psychological well-being in lieu of attending school.
School districts that allow for mental health days are required to excuse a student’s
mental health day absence without any need for a physician’s or other health professional’s
certification of the student’s condition. Additionally, they must implement the same policy in
each school building they operate and must provide an opportunity for students to make up
any school work missed during their absence. However, the bill specifies that, in granting
mental health days, a district may excuse students from school altogether or establish an in-
school mental health program for students to attend in lieu of regular classes. It also specifies
that once a student uses one excused mental health day, a district may refer that student to the
appropriate school health and support services, such as counseling, social work, or
psychological services.
February 21, 2023
Office of Research and Drafting LSC Legislative Budget Office
They also may prohibit excused mental health days from being taken on certain days of
the year, such as school days scheduled for standardized testing. However, they must provide
advance notice of those days on the school calendar at the start of each school year.1
Finally, the bill states that absences for mental health days cannot be used in the
calculation of absence hours that would otherwise trigger mandatory parental notice, under
continuing law. Under that law, a student is considered excessively absent when the student’s
combined nonmedical excused absences and unexcused absences exceed 38 hours in one
school month or 65 hours in a school year. However, only a student’s unexcused absences
count toward truancy.2
Action Date
Introduced 02-15-23
1 R.C. 3321.042.
2 See R.C. 3321.191(C)(1), not in the bill.
P a g e |2 H.B. 38
As Introduced