FILE:  JBD

Cf:  JB, JBA

Cf:  JDD, JGFC

 

STUDENT ABSENCES AND EXCUSES

 

 

The Richland Parish School Board recognizes that the fundamental right to attend the public schools places upon students the accompanying responsibility to be faithful in attendance.  Regular attendance can be assumed to be essential for a student's successful progress in the instructional program.

 

The parent or legal guardian shall enforce the attendance of the student at the school to which the student is assigned.

 

The principal of a school, or his/her designee, shall notify the parent or legal guardian in writing on or before a student's third unexcused absence or unexcused occurrence of being tardy, and shall hold a conference with such student's parent or legal guardian.  This notification shall include information relative to the parent or legal guardian’s legal responsibility to enforce the student’s attendance at school and the civil penalties that may be incurred if the student is determined to be habitually absent or habitually tardy.  The student's parent or legal guardian shall sign a receipt for such notification.

 

Each school shall attempt to provide verbal notification to a child's parent, tutor, or legal guardian, and, if such verbal notification cannot be provided, then the school shall provide written notification to a child's parent, tutor, or legal guardian when that child has been absent from school for five (5) school days in schools operating on a semester basis, and for ten (10) days in schools not operating on a semester basis.  The accumulation of days absent need not be consecutive.

 

No public elementary or secondary school pupil shall be permitted for any reason to absent himself/herself from school attendance during the school day upon his/her own authority, unless legally emancipated.  The principal or designee shall make all reasonable efforts to verbally notify the parent or other person responsible for the pupil's school attendance of any such prohibited absence by a pupil.

 

TYPES OF ABSENCES

 

The days absent for elementary and secondary school students shall include non-exempted excused absences, exempted excused absences, unexcused absences, and suspensions.

 

  1. Non-exempted excused absences are absences incurred due to personal illness or serious illness in the family (documented by acceptable excuses, including a parental note) which are not considered for purposes of truancy, but which are considered when determining whether or not a student is eligible to make up work and tests, receive credit for work completed, and receive credit for a course and/or school year completed.

  2. Exempted excused absences are absences which are not considered for purposes of truancy and which are not considered when determining whether or not a student is eligible to make up work and tests, receive credit for work completed, and receive credit for a course and/or school year completed.

  3. Unexcused absences are any absences not meeting the requirements set forth in the excused absences and extenuating circumstances definitions, including but not limited to absences due to any job (including agriculture and domestic services, even in the student’s own home or for their own parents or tutors) unless it is a part of an approved instructional program.  Students shall be given failing grades for those days missed and shall not be given an opportunity to make up work.

  4. Suspensions are non-exempted absences for which a student is allowed to make up his/her work and is eligible for consideration for credit provided it is completed satisfactorily and in a timely manner.  The absence shall be considered when determining whether or not a student may or may not be promoted, but shall not be considered for purposes of truancy.  Students absent from school as a result of any suspension shall be counted as absent.

 

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

 

Exceptions to the attendance regulation shall be the enumerated extenuating circumstances below that are verified by the Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance or the school principal/designee where indicated.  These exempted absences do not apply in determining whether a student meets the minimum minutes of instruction required to receive credit.

 

  1. Extended personal physical or emotional illness as verified by a physician or nurse practitioner licensed in the state.

  2. Extended hospital stay in which a student is absent as verified by a physician or dentist.

  3. Extended recuperation from an accident in which a student is absent as verified by a physician, dentist, or nurse practitioner licensed in the state.

  4. Extended contagious disease within a family in which a student is absent as verified by a physician or dentist licensed in the state.

  5. Quarantine due to prolonged exposure to or direct contact with a person diagnosed with a contagious, deadly, disease, as ordered by state or local health officials.

  6. Observance of special and recognized holidays of the student's own faith.

  7. Visitation with a parent who is a member of the United States Armed Forces or the National Guard of a state and such parent has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting.  Excused absences in this situation shall not exceed five (5) school days per school year.

  8. Absences as verified by the principal or his/her designee as stated below:

 

  1. Prior school system-approved travel for education;

  2. Death in the immediate family (not to exceed one week); or,

  3. Natural catastrophe and/or disaster.

 

For any other extenuating circumstances, the student’s parents or legal guardian must make a formal appeal in accordance with the due process procedures established by the school system.

 

Students who are verified as meeting extenuating circumstances, and therefore eligible to receive grades shall not receive those grades if they are unable to complete makeup work or pass the course.

 

SCHOOL-APPROVED ACTIVITIES

 

Students participating in school-approved field trips or other instructional activities that necessitate their being away from school shall be considered to be present and shall be given the opportunity to make up work.

 

CHILD PERFORMERS

 

Minors employed to perform or render artistic or creative services under a contract or employment arrangement for two (2) or more days within a 30-day period must receive instruction pursuant to statutory provisions.

 

WRITTEN EXCUSES

 

For a student to be eligible to receive credit and make up work following an absence, the student shall be required in each instance to submit parental confirmation of the reasons for the absence.  If a student is tardy or absent, the parent or guardian must submit a written excuse, signed and dated, to school authorities upon the student's return to classes, stating the reason for the student's absence from school.  A doctor's, dentist’s, or nurse practitioner’s written statement of student's incapacity to attend school shall be required for those absences for three (3) or more consecutive days due to illness, contagious illness in a family, hospitalization, or accidents.  All excuses for a student's absence, including medical verification of extended personal illness, must be presented within five (5) school days of the student's return to school, or the student's absence shall be considered unexcused and the student not allowed to make up work missed.

 

REPORTING ABSENCES

 

The attendance of all school pupils shall be checked each school day and at the beginning of each class period and shall be verified by the teacher keeping such record, which shall be open to inspection by the Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance or duly authorized representative at all reasonable times.  All schools shall immediately report to the Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance any unexplained, unexcused, or illegal absence, or habitual tardiness.

 

The Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance shall, after written notice to the parent or legal guardian of a child, or a personal visit of notification, report any such child who is habitually absent or who is habitually tardy to the family or juvenile court of the parish as a truant child, there to be dealt with in such manner as the court may determine.

 

APPEAL OF ABSENCES

 

When a student exceeds the maximum number of absences allowed the parents or student may make a formal appeal to the principal if they feel any of the absences are because of extenuating circumstances.  If they feel that the decision is unfavorable, they shall appeal to the Superintendent or his/her designee.  After a review by the Superintendent or his/her designee, a decision shall be made and communicated to the parents or legal guardian by letter.

 

High school students in danger of failing due to excessive absences may be allowed to make up missed time in class sessions held outside the regular class time.  The make-up sessions must be completed before the end of the current semester and all other applicable policies must also be met.

 

TARDINESS

 

A student shall be considered tardy to class if the student is not in the classroom when the bell to begin class ceases.  A student shall be considered tardy to school if the student is not in his/her homeroom/first period class when the bell to begin homeroom/class ceases.  Tardy shall also mean leaving or checking out of school unexcused prior to the regularly scheduled dismissal.  Habitual tardiness on the part of students shall not be tolerated.

 

Students who exhibit habitual tardiness shall be subject to disciplinary action, appropriate under the circumstances.  Parents of students who continue to be tardy shall be notified for a conference with the principal, and the student may be subject to suspension from school and the parent/legal guardian subject to court fines or community service.

 

Revised:  April, 2008 Revised:  July 12, 2011
Revised:  November 11, 2008 Revised:  December 8, 2015
Revised:  August, 2010  

 

 

Ref:     La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:221, 17:226, 17:226.1, 17:230, 17:232, 17:233

Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, Bulletin 741, Louisiana Department of Education

Board minutes, 1-9-96, 11-11-08, 7-12-11, 12-8-15

 

Richland Parish School Board