|ABSENCES ADD UP!
Compulsory School Attendance (Act 94-782)(Act 99-705)
The Alabama Compulsory School Attendance Law (Section 16-28-3) requires children between the ages of 7-17 to enroll and attend school. Additionally, Section 16-28-12 of the Code of Alabama, as amended May 17, 1993, requires that any parent/guardian who enrolls a student in school be responsible for the child’s regular attendance and proper conduct. Effective July 1, 2000, an additional amendment to this section requires that each child who is enrolled in a public school shall be subject to the attendance and truancy provisions of this article except that any parent or parents, guardian or guardians who voluntarily enrolls their child in public school, who feels that it is in the best interest of that child, shall have the right to withdraw the child at any time prior to the current compulsory attendance age.
The Escambia County Board of Education believes that students being on time and prompt both to school and to each class period are essential. It is essential that students do not miss instructional time due to tardiness. It is essential that students are not disruptive to the class work of others by tardiness and it is essential that students develop good life-long habits of being punctual.
· Students are required to be on time for school. It is the responsibility of parents or guardians to make sure that their children arrive on time each day.
· Any time a student is absent or tardy, the parent or guardian must send a written note to school satisfactorily explaining the absence or tardy. Excused absences include: illness, death in the immediate family, inclement weather, legal quarantine, and emergency conditions (as determined by principal). Family emergencies, scheduled family commitments, etc., must secure permission from principal prior to absences. The note or doctor’s statement must be sent to the school within three (3) days of the student’s return to school to be counted as an excused absence.
· A written note from parents or guardians, as described above, will excuse absences for grades K through 8 for up to, but not exceeding seven (7) absences per year. A written note from parents or guardians, as described above, will excuse absences for grades 9 through 12 for up to, but not exceeding (5) absences per year.
· Parents or guardians of a student in Grades (9-12) who is absent six (6) or more times will be required to present a clinical or doctor’s note to the school in order for the absence to be excused. Principals have discretionary authority to excuse absences.
· Parents or guardians of any student having a chronic medical problem that may cause the child to miss school are required to provide the school with a clinical or doctor’s statement verifying the child’s condition at the beginning of the school year. The statement will reflect the nature of the child’s illness, and state that the child may have to miss school from time to time due to illness. Failure of the parent/guardian to provide the school with a chronic ailment statement can result in unexcused absence accumulation.
· Students must be in attendance one-half of the instructional day to be counted present. Tardiness and early checkouts are strongly discouraged.
· Students are allowed one (1) excused absence for each occurrence of head lice.
· Students age seventeen (17) or older who accumulate more than ten (10) days total unexcusedabsences during a year may be withdrawn from school if the student cannot pass any classes for that year.
· No student with an unexcused absence will be allowed to make-up his/her work missed unless it is a six weeks, nine weeks, or semester exam. If a test or graded class work is missed due to an unexcused absence, the student will receive zeros for the test or graded class work. If no tests or graded class work are missed, no grades will be recorded that day for the student.
Parents should be held generally accountable for the attendance of their child/children. Section 12-15-13, Code of Alabama, 1975,provides that the failure on the part of any parent, guardian, or other person having custody of the child to cause such child to attend school as required by the compulsory attendance law shall be held to be encouraging, causing and contributing to the delinquency or need of supervision of such child.
- Filing the Complaint: Where the parent or guardian is contributing to the truancy of a child, the school attendance officer can file a complaint with the juvenile intake officer.
- Schedule of Hearing: When charges are filed against an adult, the case may be set for the earliest possible date to accept a plea if possible, the trial may be set within two weeks of the submission of the plea if possible.
- Sanctions Applied to Adults: Where an adult has been found guilty of contributing to the delinquency, dependency, or need of supervision, the court may fine the defendant $500.00 or sentence him/her to hard labor for the county for a period not to exceed 12 months or both. The court also has the power to suspend any sentence, remit any fine, or place such person on probation under orders, directives or conditions for his discipline and supervision as the court deems fit.
- Court Costs/Attorney Fees/Restitution: In both adult and juvenile actions, appropriate court costs and attorney fees may be charged to the parents where feasible. The court may consider ordering restitution by the parents to the school system for funds lost by reason of their child’s truancy.
CHECK-OUTS FROM SCHOOl
- Students who need to leave school for any reason must have a parent/guardian or designee to come to the school to check out this student through the principal’s office. Parents/guardians or their designees must provide a picture I.D. when checking out a student in all grades. If extenuating circumstance occur, sudden illness, accident or similar incidents, parents/guardians or their designee must check out the student.
- The nature of the check-out will determine whether the absence from any part of the school day will be excused.
- Only an excused check-out permits work to be made up. When five (5) check-outs occur during a semester, a doctor’s note is required for the check-out absence to be excused.
CHILD UNDER PROBATION
- The school attendance officer should be notified by the juvenile probation officerof all children in the school system under probation supervision by the juvenile court as consistent with state statute,Code of Alabama (1975), 12-15-100 and 105.
- Where a child under probation is truant, the school attendance officer may immediately notify the juvenile probation officer.
Early Warning or Intervention Program
- The Early Warning Prevention Program is used in all Escambia County Schools during the 2014-2015 school year. Students can be referred for excessive absences, unexcused absences, truancies, and suspension absences to the program. The Early Warning Prevention Program is held each month in Brewton and in Atmore. They are coordinated by the system’s Attendance
- Officer with the Escambia County Juvenile Courts and the District Attorney participating.
- The parent will receive official notification by U.S. Mail.
- If the parent and student fail to appear at the scheduled Early Warning Program, the parent may receive legal notice and a court referral.
· When excused absences become excessive, the attendance officer may be requested to do a home visit to verify the absences.
· When a student has accumulated five (5) days of parental/guardian excused absences, the parent will be notified of absences by the attendance clerk and/or principal. The principal and or designee will contact the parents/guardians regarding the absences or may send the attendance officer to verify the reasons for the absences.
· When a student surpasses five (5) parents/guardians absences, a doctor’s note will be required for the absence or the absence will be recorded as Unexcused. At this point the principal and/or attendance officer may serve the parent with “Notice to Appear” in the Early Warning Prevention Program. Principals have discretionary authority to excuse absences.
· In case of prolonged absence due to illness, the parent or guardian should seek assistance from the Homebound Program or make other reasonable arrangements with the principal of the school.
· The principal or his designee will make every reasonable effort to contact (by telephone or in writing) the parents of any absent students on the day of the absence.
· In cases of extended illness or hospitalization, the parent should keep the principal posted
· regularly regarding the student’s attendance.
· A student will have three (3) days to make-up work with excused absences. After three (3) days, if the student has not completed work missed due to excused absences, zeros may be given to students.
Exemptions/Incentive for Good Attendance
As incentive for students to attend school regularly, Escambia County Board of Education will:
· Allow students in grades 7-12 with an “A” average, with no more than (three) 3 excused absences (per semester) or (one) 1 unexcused absences (per semester), to be exempted from their semester exams, unless there has been prior approval by the administration for extenuating circumstances
· Allow students in the 12th grade with no more than (three) 3 excused absences or (one) 1 unexcused absence to be exempted from the first semester exams for the subject area(s) in which they have met the college readiness benchmark on the ACT.
· Allow students in grades 7-12 with 0 absences to be exempted from their semester exams in courses
that they have at least a 70 average.
· Allow students in grades 7-12 with (one) 1 excused absence to be exempted from their semester exams in courses they have at least an 80 average.
· Students with five (5) or more check-outs per class period per semester, or 5 unexcused tardies per semester, per class period, will take their semester exams. A doctor’s note will be required when a student has more than 5 check-outs or tardies per class period, per semester for the check-outs or tardiness to be excused.
A student suspended for any reason during a given semester, whether out-of-school or to OCS (On Campus Suspension), or placed in Alternative School, will be required to take their semester exams.
- In an effort to avoid discrimination toward any religion, Escambia County Board of Education allows principals to use their discretion in permitting an excused absence based upon the parent’s assurance of a bonafide, declared religious holiday regularly observed by his religion on that date.
Again, regular attendance is essential to quality education, and Escambia County Board of Education promotes all students being in attendance when they are physically able to attend.
A parent, guardian, or other person having charge of any child officially enrolled in Alabama public schools (K-12) will explain in writing the cause of any and every absence of the child no later than three (3) days following return to school. A failure to furnish such explanation will be evidence of the child being truant each day he is absent. The child shall also be deemed truant for any absence determined by the principal to be unexcused based upon the State Department of Education’s current School Attendance Manual. Seven (7) unexcused absences within a school year constitute a student being truant for the purpose of filing complaint/petition with the court. The Interagency Committee on Youth Truancy Task Force recommendations known as the Early Warning Truancy Prevention Program timeline for reporting truancy will define the truancy status of any student as follows:
FIRST TRUANCY/UNEXCUSED ABSENCE (WARNING)
- Parent/guardian shall be notified by the school principal or his/her designee that the student was truant and the date of the truancy.
- Parent/guardian shall also be provided with a copy of Alabama’s compulsory school attendance laws and advised of the penalties that can be applied and the procedures that shall be followed in the event that another unexcused absence occurs.
SECOND TRUANCY/UNEXCUSED ABSENCE – Parent Notification
- The principal’s designee from the local school will notify the student’s parents/guardians of the second unexcused absence.
FOURTH UNEXCUSED ABSENCE – EARLY WARNING
- The parents, guardians, or person having control of the child shall (1) attend a conference with the attendance officer and principal or his/her designee and/or (2) participate in the early warning program provided by the juvenile court.
- Attendance at one of these conferences shall be mandatory except where prior arrangements have been made or an emergency exists.
- Failure to appear at the school conference and/or appear at the early warning program shall result in the filing of a complaint/petition against the parent under Code of Alabama (1975), 16-28-12(c) (failure to cooperate), or a truancy against the child, whichever is appropriate.
SEVENTH UNEXCUSED ABSENCE, BUT WITHIN TEN (10) SCHOOL DAYS (COURT)
- If appropriate, file complaint/petition against the child and/or parents/guardians.
Unexcused absences and Grade Retention and/or Course Failure
· Grades K-4. Any student attaining more than ten (10) unexcused absences during a school year will not receive credit for any of his/her work and will repeat the entire grade.
· Grades 5-12. Any student attaining five ( 5 ) unexcused absences for a year long course or three (3) unexcused absences for a one (1) semester course will receive written notification from the school’s attendance clerk or designee of the student’s possible failure due to unexcused absences. Any student attaining more than ten (10) unexcused absences in a year long course will fail that course for the year. If students have six (6) or more unexcused absences in a one semester course, they will fail the course.
· A student failing a grade due to excessive unexcused absences must repeat the grade or course(s).
· Summer School or Credit Recovery will notpurge a student’s absentee record for excessive unexcused absences. There is no provision for Summer School or Credit Recovery to substitute for the time missed for unexcused absences. A student failing a grade due to excessive unexcused absences must repeat the grade or course(s). Summer school or credit recovery will not substitute for it.
No student with an unexcused absence will be allowed to make up his/her work missed. If a test or graded class work is missed due to unexcused absence, the student will receive zeros for the test or graded class work. If no tests or graded class work is missed, no grades will be recorded that day for the student. However principal discretion may be used in extenuating circumstances on a case by case basis.
TARDY POLICY FOR SCHOOL AND CLASS
A parent/guardian must come into the school‘s office to sign-in the student. This is for the safety of your child.
Noting that tardiness of an elementary-age child is usually due to the parent, penalties for the child should be minimal. Each tardy should be documented. Parent contact should be made after the third incidence. Excessive tardiness (determined by the principal) should be referred to the Attendance Office for follow-up to determine if and/or when the parent would be required to attend an early warning session. Possible charges may be filed against parents of K-4 students who are habitually late.
Grades 5-12: TARDY TO SCHOOL AND TARDY TO CLASS
- 1st Warning
- 2nd Two days detention and Parent Notification
- 3rd One day after school detention or early morning detention and parent written notification
- 4th Two days of after school detention or early morning detention
- 5th Three days after school detention or early morning detention
- 6th Referral to Attendance Officer for Early Warning Prevention Program
- 7th One day On-Campus Suspension (OCS)
After Early Warning notification the student will be assigned 1 day OCS for each tardy to school thereafter or equivalent at the Principal’s discretion due to availability of facilities.