STUDENT ABSENCES AND EXCUSES
Notes are REQUIRED EACH and EVERY time a student is absent or tardy to/from school
As stated in the new Attendance Policy (adopted by Board in July), it is the obligation of the parent/guardian to report a child’s absence or tardy/early dismissal each day. The policy requires that parents call the school if their child is going to be absent.
Upon the student’s return to school from an absence or tardy, the parent shall provide written documentation stating the day(s) absent/tardy and the reason for the absence/tardy. If the school does not receive written documentation within two school days after the student returns, the absence or tardy will be “unexcused.”
After 8 absences or 5 tardies, ONLY a DOCTOR’s note or COURT note will be accepted.
The policy also states that the district will refer students and their parents to Hamilton County Juvenile Court for “habitual and chronic unexcused absences.”
The Superintendent will also revoke the driving privileges of students of driving age for excessive, unexcused absences.
All students are expected to attend regularly and to be on time for classes in order to receive maximum benefit from the instructional program and to develop habits of punctuality, self-discipline and responsibility. Although the District works towards perfect attendance each day, it does not want students at school if they are ill.
Parents are to call the attendance line any time their child is going to be absent or tardy. The office staff will call the homes or offices of any student’s parent who fails to contact the school.
Students who are absent from school or who miss more than 5/7 of the school day are not permitted to take part in after-school programs/activities unless special permission has been approved by the principal.
Reporting and Monitoring Student Absences
It is the obligation of the parent, guardian or custodian to report the child’s absence or tardy each day.
- The parent should phone the school within one hour from the start of school on the day of the absence.
- Upon the student’s return to school, the parent shall provide written documentation stating the day(s) absent and reason for such absence.
- If within two school days after returning to school following an absence, written documentation has not been received, the absence will be “unexcused.”
- The parent (and not the school) maintains responsibility to make certain the absence note was submitted to the proper school attendance authority in a timely fashion.
- Each student must have on file a completed Emergency Medical Authorization form which provides:
- The name of the parent, custodial parent, guardian or legal guardian or other person having care or charge of a student.
- A telephone number where the parent, custodial parent, guardian, legal guardian or other person having care or charge of a student can be reached during the day.
- The name and telephone number of an emergency number designee to contact if the parent, custodial parent, guardian, legal guardian or other person having care or charge of a student cannot be reached.
In general, excused absences/tardies include but not limited to:
- Personal illness or injury.
- Medical or dental appointments (partial days, in most cases).
- Illness or death in the family.
- Funeral of immediate family member or relative.
- Religious holiday (not counted against the eight day absence rule).
- Appointments for court.
- Pre-approved vacations. Five days per year approved in advance by the principal. These days shall be included in the eight-day absence rule. Family vacations must be pre-approved by using the vacation request form. Vacation that is not approved, will count as non-excused.
- Head lice. Children excluded from school due to head lice are allowed one excused absence per occurrence for treatment. Treatments lasting beyond one day will be unexcused.
- Emergencies and other reasons deemed good and sufficient by the principal.
Unexcused Absences and Tardies
The school administration makes the final decision whether an absence/tardy is excused or unexcused. In general, unexcused absences/tardies include (but are not limited to):
- Missing the school bus.
- Experiencing transportation problems at home or on the way to school.
- Remaining home to complete school assignments.
- Missing school without legitimate illness.
- Oversleeping. Alarm clock (student’s or parent’s) failed to work.
- “Nobody got me up.”
- Not having suitable clothing to wear to school or sent home for inappropriate clothing or early release.
- Working at a job during the school day without a proper work permit.
- Any form of recreation (i.e. fishing, hunting or club sports – unless pre-approved vacation days).
- Personal business that can be done after school or on weekends.
- “Helping at home” or “Was needed at home.”
- “I had a game last night.”
- Senior pictures/portraits.
Important Note: If within two school days after returning to school following an absence, written documentation has not been received, the absence will be “unexcused.”
Documentation of Absence/Tardy
Generally, a parent note may document eight absences from school per school year or five tardies to school per year for the reasons identified as “excused absences.” Absences in excess of eight per school year or tardies in excess of five per school year may not be excused by a parent and shall require documentation by the student’s physician, etc. or any of the other reasons listed under excused absences.
The foregoing general rule is for the convenience of school officials in the administration of this attendance policy. This rule does not create an entitlement for a student to be absent from school eight days per school year or tardy to school five days per school year for reasons other than those identified as Excused Absences. School officials may waive application of this general rule where circumstances indicate that its application does not service the student’s best interest. Those circumstances include, but are not limited to, the student’s and/or the student’s siblings’ attendance in the current or prior school year. Special requirement of students who have been adjudicated as guilty for truancy charges and parents who have been adjudicated as guilty for “Contributing” charges related to truancy of their child(ren).
Nothing contained in this attendance policy is intended nor should be construed as restricting the discretion of school officials to make inquiries and request such verification/documentation as is reasonably necessary to determine if an absence or tardy is for any of the reasons identified in this policy as “Excused Absences.” In all instances where students and/or parents have previously been adjudicated guilty for truancy-related offenses (habitual/chronic truancy and contributing), excused absences shall be granted only on the condition of a note from a physician (see next section) or personally excused from school by the school administrator.
The Board authorizes the Superintendent to establish a hearing and/or notification procedure for those students who have excess absences/tardies.
Important Note: Five tardies = One unexcused absence
Medical excuses are acceptable documentation of an absence or tardy to school following a personal, in-office examination by a physician. Doctors may excuse absences or tardies to school for only the specific dates the student was under his/her direct medical care (during which the student was medically unable to attend school). Excessive medical excuses may result in the school contacting the physician for additional medical documentation.
- A notification/awareness letter will be sent after the fourth absence and/or third tardy.
- A notification letter to meet with the Superintendent will be sent after the sixth absence or fourth tardy.
- A medical documentation letter, stating that a medical excuse will be required for any further absence, will be sent after the eighth absence or fifth tardy.
- After ten absences, the student will be considered truant and will be referred to Hamilton County Juvenile Court.
The Board authorizes the Superintendent to establish a hearing and notification procedure for the purpose of denying a student’s driving privileges if that student of compulsory school age has been absent without legitimate excuse for more than 10 consecutive days or a total of at least 15 days during a semester or term.
After consultation with the Juvenile Court of Hamilton County; with parents, guardians of other persons having care of students and with appropriate state and local agencies, the Board adopts the following policy:
- The Board may require the truant to participate in a truancy intervention program.
- The Board may require a habitual truant to undergo appropriate counseling
- The Board may require the parent, guardian or other person having care of the student to attend a parental involvement program.
- The Board may require the parent, guardian or other person having care of the student to attend a truancy prevention mediation program.
- The Board may notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles of a habitual truant.
- The Board may take legal action.
- The following definitions apply:
- “Chronic Truant” means any student of compulsory school age who is absent without legitimate excuse for seven or more consecutive days, ten or more school days in four weeks, or fifteen or more school days in a year.
- “Habitual Truant” means any student of compulsory school age who is absent without legitimate excuse for absence for five or more consecutive school days, seven or more school days in four weeks, or twelve or more school days in a school year. For purposes of this definition, a suspension or expulsion would constitute a legitimate excuse.