The following is Board Policy JB revised. Please note the sections highlighted in GREEN.
The Board recognizes that good attendance at school is basic to student learning. Attendance is a key factor in student achievement: therefore, students are expected to be present each day that school is in session. Parents have both a legal obligation and a moral responsibility to see that children are present every day that school is in session.
The Compulsory School Attendance Law in Tennessee requires children to attend school each day. A student who has been absent five days (this means a total of five days during the school year and not necessarily five consecutive days) without adequate excuse is considered truant and may be summoned to court. Whenever possible, attendance issues should be resolved at the school level. Prior to referral to a truancy officer, a meeting shall be held at the school to assist the family and improve student attendance via an attendance contract. If unexcused absences continue to accumulate, the Director of Schools or his/her designee will report the parent and student to the Juvenile Court for further action.
The following are official/adequate excuses that should be turned in to the attendance secretary in the school office
- Medical note for the student (doctor, dentist, hospital, etc.)
- Student illness not requiring a doctor visit ( five parent notes per semester)
- Court note for the student
- Funeral notice
- Recognized religious holiday
- College Visits
- Military deployment paperwork for parent
Appeal Procedure for Unexcused Absences
The initial appeal shall be to the building principal or designee. If not resolved at the building level, the parent can request in writing an appeal to the Attendance Office at the Sumner County Board of Education. The appeal will be heard by the Appeals Committee consisting of Director of Schools Designee, an Attendance personnel representative and a principal/assistant principal representative. The burden of proof rests on the student or guardian. The appeal process for determining unexcused absences is ancillary to a truancy decision rendered by a juvenile court judge as described in T.C.A. 49-6-3010.
A principal may verify absences for the following:
- Approved school activity that is school sponsored and school supervised
- Extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis
Tardies:Any student not in the classroom when the class begins is tardy. Students who accumulate excessive unexcused tardies are considered truant and will be reported to Juvenile Court. A tardy is only excused by a doctor's note.
Unexcused Early Dismissals: For any student that is dismissed from school without a valid reason, the absence will be considered an unexcused early dismissal. A doctor's note excuses the early dismissal. A parent note may only be used to excuse a full day of absence.
Make-up work: Upon the first day of returning to school, it is the student’s responsibility in middle and high school and the parent’s responsibility in elementary school to make contact with the teacher(s) regarding make-up work. During the school year, make-up work must be completed within a number of days equal to the number of consecutive days of the absence.
Additional Attendance Information …
Attendance at school every day is very important to student success on state assessments and for the next grade. Please encourage your child to be present every day.
If your child does need to miss school, then please be sure to send a note to school with your child when he/she returns. Notes may include, but are not limited to, parent notes and notes from a doctor, dentist, court, funeral, etc. Students may have 5 parent notes to excuse absences. Students may have an unlimited number of notes from a doctor, dentist, court, funeral, etc.
Students who do not have a note for an absence are considered unexcused. Students with unexcused absences will have their participation in non-graded extracurricular activities limited. In addition, if students do not have a note when they return, then we do not have proof that the absence was legitimate. Therefore, it is very important for students to bring a note to school and turn it in after being absent.
Progressive Truancy Plan Information for 19-20 ...
NOTICE TO PARENTS- NEW LAW- PLEASE READ
School attendance is extremely important to student success and is a popular topic with local law makers. This letter is to inform you of a few changes that will affect you and your family regarding school attendance for the 2018/19 SY. T.C.A. 49-6-3007 states the following:
(A) If the student is absent from school for an aggregate of five (5) days during the school year without adequate excuse, then the student is subject to referral to juvenile court; and
(B) It is a parental duty to monitor the student’s school attendance and require the student to attend school.
The law also states that each district shall implement progressive truancy interventions for students who violate the Compulsory Attendance Law. Below you will find Sumner County Schools tiered approach in reducing the amount of unexcused absences in effort to produce successful students.
Sumner County Schools Progressive Truancy Intervention Tiers
Tier 1-School level interventions and reward programs
Tier 2-initiated at 3 unexcused absences
*Parents must conference with administration
*Attendance contract signed at conference
Tier 3-initiated with additional unexcused absences
* Individualized Assessment completed and one of the following:
Individualized Action Plan or Improvement Plan
Referral to school counselor
Referral to community-based services
Referral to school nurse-Health plan created
Referral to Attendance Student Support counselor
Tier 4-initiated with continued unexcused absence
*Referral to School Attendance Review Team consisting of administration, counselor, student, parent, teachers, nurse, attendance clerk, psychologist, and /or truancy officer.
Tier 5-Referral to Truancy Officer
*Truancy officer intervention
*Parent could be required to attend Pre-Court Diversion Program
Tier 6-Juvenile Petition filed
These efforts of collaboration are to support your student to become a confident, productive and successful student.