Attendance Guidelines for High School

The high school is committed to cooperating with parents and the community to provide the best learning environment in which all students are given the opportunity to become confident, responsible, and successful, life-long learners. Since attendance and participation in all classes are directly related to a child’s success, parents will receive communications from attendance staff regarding their child’s attendance status. Listed below are the guidelines used in monitoring student’s attendance.

Parents and students should be familiar with the following definitions:

 Excused absences:  An excused absence is when the parent provides permission for a student to miss school for circumstances beyond the control of the student, parent, and the school. The parent must provide a written excuse for the school immediately upon the child’s return to school. Examples of excused absences include but are not limited to: illness, medical, dental, legal appointments, religious observances, death in the immediate family, family trip (one trip per year and not to exceed five days) if pre-approved by the principal at least one week in advance.

 Unexcused absences: An unexcused absence is an absence that keeps a student away from school without a valid reason.  Examples of unexcused absences include but are not limited to: truancy (the student is absent and the school has not received notification from the parent that they are aware and support the absence); class cuts (defined as missing 10 or more minutes of class time); consecutive days of absence without communication from the parent; unapproved (pre-arranged) family trips; suspension from school; excessive absences not verified by a physician; patterned absences, etc. Students who elect to drive to school (or who ride with students that drive) and arrive late or miss school as a result of traffic conditions or problems with personal vehicles are considered unexcused. Students must sign out properly through the attendance office or the absence will be considered unexcused.

 

Consequences for Absenteeism can be divided into two categories: those assigned through school policy and procedure and those mandated by state law.

 

School-related consequences.  Consequences for excused absences relate to academic performance and investigation of the student’s health. Since attendance and participation in all classes is important, students run the risk of missing valuable instruction and receiving a grade that does not accurately reflect their potential. Students are held accountable for schoolwork missed due to any absence. Teachers have the responsibility to offer students the opportunity to make up work within a reasonable time period. Students have the responsibility for completing the missed work within the designated time period. In addition, if a student has developed a pattern of habitual absence that may be due to chronic illness, the principal may request the school nurse to evaluate the student’s physical condition. If it is determined that no bona fide medical illness exists or the student is being kept home unnecessarily, the principal may require the student be given a complete medical evaluation by a private doctor or by a clinic and a copy of the report be sent to the school. If the problem continues, the school social worker will be requested to review the situation. The principal may also require a medical excuse for each day of absence unless the school nurse requests that the student remain at home.

 

School-sanctioned consequences for unexcused absences are those permitted by school board policy.  Examples of consequences for truancy and class cutting include but are not limited to: detention, school community service, revocation of parking privileges, prohibition from participating in extracurricular activities, suspension, and recommendation for a hearing to consider additional consequences.  School personnel will also employ a variety of interventions to assist with attendance issues. Interventions may include but are not limited to: meetings with counselors, the resource officer, the social worker, administrators; referrals to community agencies, Child Study Committee, and alternative education programs.

 

State Law (§22.1-248) mandated consequences are applied to those absences considered truancies.

  • If a student is truant five days during the school year, then the parent and child must participate with school officials to develop a plan to resolve the child’s nonattendance.
  • If a sixth truancy occurs during the school year, a conference will be scheduled to resolve issues related to the nonattendance.
  • Finally, if a seventh truancy occurs during the school year,  the law specifies that the school may file a complaint with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court alleging the child is in need of supervision.  School personnel are also permitted to institute proceedings in this court against the parent(s) if they refuse to participate in the development of the plan to resolve the child’s truancy (at the fifth truancy) or if the parent refuses to participate in the conference (at the sixth truancy).