Regular attendance at school is vital to educational development. If students are absent from school due to illness or for another legitimate reason, they must bring a written excuse signed by their parent, legal guardian or doctor. Students and parents/guardians have three days to verify tardiness or absences, after which they are coded unlawful. Parents/guardians are expected to call the school by the third day of consecutive absences.
A student is counted present for a full day if the student is in attendance four or more hours of the school day. A student is counted present for one-half of the day if in attendance for at least two hours of the school day, but less than four hours. A student scheduled for less than a full day of classes is to be counted present based on the amount of time he/she is scheduled.
Parents are highly discouraged from scheduling vacations that result in unlawful absences from school. However, high school students visiting an institution of higher education in anticipation for potential future enrollment may be granted a lawful absence as long as the parents/guardians give a two-week notice, receive permission from the school principal and the trips are limited to no more than five days in any school year. Other lawful absences include: death in the immediate family; illness of the student which requires a note from a parent/guardian or physician; court summons; hazardous weather conditions; work approved or sponsored by the school; observance of religious holidays; state emergencies; student suspension; lack of authorized transportation; health exclusion; and other emergencies or circumstances which in the judgment of the Superintendent provide a “good and sufficient cause for absence from school.”
Students unlawfully absent more than 10 percent of the school days in any given marking period (4.5 days), semester (9 days) or academic year (18 days) may be considered for retention. Parents of students who have a history of chronic truancy may be referred for intervention at any time. Additionally, school officials adhere to the following communication plan:
- Daily automated call out
- After five absences of any kind, the school will notify parents/guardians through a letter sent home, by phone or other electronic communication.
- After 10 absences, parents/guardians are contacted. A meeting may be set to develop an attendance improvement plan and/or the student will be referred to the school’s pupil personnel worker.
- After 15 absences, the student may be scheduled for a school attendance review.
- Additional absences may result in the student and their parent/guardian being referred to the State’s Attorney’s Office for possible legal action for chronic truancy.