SCHOOL POLICY ON ATTENDANCE FOUND IN THE SCHOOL SECTION OF STUDENT HANDBOOK
TARDY TO SCHOOL- Homeroom begins at 7:35 a.m., and instruction begins shortly thereafter. Students who arrive at school after 7:40 a.m. are tardy and must report to the school receptionist to obtain a tardy slip. As per school system policy, attendance referrals will be made for students who are excessively tardy, absent, or check out frequently.
CHECKING OUT EARLY- Leaving school early is strongly discouraged because students miss important instruction and/or work. If a student needs to be checked out early, the person picking the child up must report to the receptionist to sign the child out and give a reason for the child leaving. Students checking out before 11:30 a.m. will be counted absent for the day. All student early check-out should be done prior to 3:00 because of traffic at car dismissal.
WITHDRAWAL POLICY- Students withdrawing from school need to notify the school records clerk as early as possible, but at least one day prior to withdrawal, so that the necessary forms and reports can be completed. All textbooks and library books must be turned in before leaving. Withdrawal forms will be available for release the next school day after the request is made. The parent/ guardian must provide the name, address, and phone number of the next school the student will attend.
MAKE-UP WORK- Make-up work should be completed as soon as possible upon returning to school. If students are to be absent for more than one day, arrangements can be made to pick up assignments in the office. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the teacher for make-up work. A note signed by the parent stating the reason for the absence must be sent to school.
ATTENDANCE- All students are expected to attend school regularly as provided under the Compulsory School Attendance Law. This law states that a child must attend school from the ages of 6 to 16. Children who have attendance problems could cause their parent to be charged with failure to obey this law. A student must be present at least 50% of the school day in order to be counted present. As per system policy, after 5 unexcused absences in a school year, the system will notify the parent/guardian of the penalty and possible consequences of such absences and that every subsequent absence will constitute a separate offense. Another letter is sent after the tenth unexcused absence. If the student has unexcused absences beyond ten, the student and family are referred to the Attendance Protocol Committee at the system level, where decisions on further actions are made, which may include a juvenile referral. Each student who is absent must bring a note explaining the absence to the homeroom teacher signed by the parent/guardian. Only five parent written excuses per semester are allowed. Out-of-school suspensions are considered excused absences.
BOARD POLICY ON ATTENDANCE FOUND IN THE BOARD SECTION OF STUDENT HANDBOOK
Student Attendance - In responding to student attendance issues, the Heard County School System shall comply with all requirements of state law, State Board of Education rule, and the Student Attendance Protocol that has been developed by the county's Student Attendance Protocol Committee. Excused Absences - It is the policy of the Board to excuse students from school for the following reasons:
- Personal illness or attendance in school that endangers a student's health or the health of others.
- A serious illness or death in a student's immediate family necessitating absence from school.
- A court order or an order by a governmental agency, including pre-induction physical examinations for service in the armed forces, mandating absence from school.
- The observance of religious holidays, necessitating absence from school.
- Conditions rendering attendance impossible or hazardous to student health or safety.
- A student whose parent or legal guardian is in military service in the U. S. armed forces or National Guard, and such parent has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting will be granted up to 5 days of excused absences per school year to visit with his or her parent prior to the parent's deployment or during the parent's leave.
- Registering to vote or voting in a public election, which shall not exceed one day.
- Any other absence not explicitly defined in this policy but deemed to have merit based on circumstances as determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee.
- The principal may in certain circumstances require students to present appropriate medical or other documentation upon return to school for the purpose of validating that absences are excused.
School days missed as a result of out of school suspension shall not be counted as unexcused for the purpose of determining student truancy, but shall be counted as unexcused for all other purposes.
Students Counted Present - Students shall be counted present under the following circumstances.
- When they are serving as pages of the Georgia General Assembly.
- A foster care student who attends court proceedings relating to his or her foster care shall be counted Present and shall not be counted absent, either excused or unexcused, for any day or portion of a day missed from school.
Perfect Attendance - Students who are present for at least one-half of the instructional day or four hours, whichever is greater, shall be counted present for perfect attendance purposes. High school students must be present at least two full blocks of instructional time to be counted present for perfect attendance purposes.
The principal may in certain circumstances require students to present appropriate medical or other documentation upon return to school for the purpose of validating that absences are excused.
Grades and Absences - Final course grades of students shall not be penalized because of absences if the following conditions are met:
- Absences are justified and validated for excusable reasons.
- Make up work for excused absences was completed satisfactorily.
Policies and Procedures to Reduce Unexcused Absences: Notification
- The school system will notify the parent, guardian or other person who has control or charge of the student when such student has five unexcused absences. The notice will outline the penalty and consequences of such absences and that each subsequent absence will constitute a separate offense. After two reasonable attempts to notify the parent, guardian or other person who has charge of the student, the school system will send written notice via 1st class mail or via certified mail, return receipt requested; and
- Prior to any action to commence judicial proceedings to impose a penalty on the parent for failing to comply with compulsory attendance law, the school system will notify the parent by certified mail, return receipt requested; and
- Each school shall provide to the parent of each student enrolled a written summary of possible consequences and penalties for failing to comply with compulsory attendance. By September 1 of each school year or within 30 school days of a student’s enrollment, the parent will be asked to sign a statement indicating receipt of such written statement of possible consequences and penalties. In addition, students age ten or older by September 1 must sign a statement indicating receipt of written statement of possible consequences for non-compliance with the local Board policy.
ATTENDANCE/TRUANCY INFORMATION SHEET FOUND ON THE FORM FOR PARENTS TO SIGN IN STUDENT HANDBOOK
- Every parent, guardian or other person residing in the school system is required either to enroll and send children in their care and charge between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays to a public or private school or to provide a home study program for these children which meet the requirements set forth in law, unless the child is specifically exempt. The Board of Education shall assure that all children between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays be enrolled in the public schools in the district in which they reside unless they are enrolled in a private school or home study program. Specific exemptions from the requirements of the compulsory school attendance law are provided in State Board Rule JB.
- The parent who fails to comply with mandatory attendance requirements may be found guilty of a misdemeanor through the Magistrate Court. Upon conviction, the parent may be fined not less than $25, nor more than $100, imprisoned for 30 days, required to do community service, or any combination of such penalties. See Code Section 20-2-690.1(c).
- A child who fails to comply with mandatory attendance requirements may be adjudicated unruly and either placed on probation, required to undergo a psychiatric or other mental health evaluation, placed on supervised or unsupervised abeyance, committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice, or ordered to do community service. As a general rule, the Court is not permitted to detain such a child in restrictive custody. If a child is found to have violated the mandatory attendance laws, the Court will enter a separate protective order requiring the parent to insure the child’s future compliance with the law at the risk of being held in contempt, fined and/or imprisoned. See Code Section 15-11-67.
- Absences will be classified as excused or unexcused. Excused absences are those due to emergencies such as illness, death in the family, or other extreme circumstances. Excused absences are also religious holidays, service as a page in the General Assembly, school-sponsored activities, and voter registration. Unexcused absences are all failures to attend school without proper documentation.
- Upon returning to school, students must bring documentation stating the date and reason for absence with the signature of a parent/guardian (informal documentation), or a doctor, dentist, health center or court (formal documentation). The student and/or parent have the responsibility to present the written excuse within three (3) school days of the student’s return to school. The school administration will require formal documentation after five (5) absences from a class except for extreme mitigating circumstances such as a death in the family. The principal will resolve any question in determining whether an absence is excused or unexcused.
- For students in any grade 1-12, students are absent from school if not present for at least half of the instructional time required at each grade level. A student who misses one-half or more of a class period will be counted absent for that class.
- Excused and unexcused absences will result in the loss of full credit for class participation unless students arrange to make up the work within 3 school days of returning to school. The student must complete makeup work and tests within a reasonable amount of time. If a student at Heard High School has 6 unexcused absences from any class, the student will be required to attend Saturday school in order to be allowed to make up work. See Heard High School Attendance policy in their student handbook.
- Repeated absences affect a student’s ability to obtain a Georgia Drivers license and may result in the license being revoked.
- The Heard County School System may file a juvenile complaint for excessive tardies and requests for early dismissals. Students may be required to serve in before or after school detention or lunch detention for excessive tardies.
- Each individual school in the Heard County School System may add additional consequences for unexcused absences at the principal’s discretion. Please check your child’s student handbook for additional information.