Absences from School
A student must provide (within 3 days of an absence, or if the student has several continuous absences – within 3 days after the student’s return to school) a written excuse from a parent, guardian or health practitioner for ALL absences other than those approved by the principal for a school-sponsored activity.
PLEASE NOTE: If an excuse is received after the 3-day limit, the absence(s) will remain as unexcused on the student’s attendance record. It does not matter whether the excuse was written by the parent or by a licensed/certified health practitioner; it will remain unexcused after the 3-day deadline. The excuse will be placed in the student’s file for information but the student’s attendance record will not change. Therefore, it is very important to meet the 3-day deadline.
A valid excuse must:
- be dated,
- list the student’s full name,
- contain the date(s) of the absence(s),
- list the reason for the absence(s),
- list a telephone number of the parent (if needed for verification), and
- be signed by the parent/guardian or a licensed/certified health practitioner.
Once a student has accumulated 5 full-day absences in an A-B (8 period) schedule or 10 absences in a 6/7 period schedule -- regardless of the reason -- the principal may require an excuse from a licensed/certified health practitioner for any further absence (i.e., no parent notes will be accepted to excuse an absence after the student has accrued the 5th or 10th absence). Should a death in the family occur after the 10th day, an obituary notice must be provided to the school in order for that day(s) to be excused.
With approval from the principal, students may be absent for a portion of the school day or the entire day for school-sponsored activities such as field trips, academic competitions, athletic events or other extracurriculuar activities. The school will not count the student absent from class/school in such cases.
A student who has more than 2 absences in a 20-day course, 3 absences in a 45-day course, 5 absences in a 90-day course, or 10 absences in a 180-day course may not be eligible to receive credit for that course. Students who do not meet the attendance requirement may appeal to the school’s Attendance Appeals Committee for consideration.
State attendance regulations require school personnel to conduct a Student Attendance Intervention Conference for every student who accumulates 3 consecutive unexcused absences or a total of 5 unexcused absences. At the conference, the parent or guardian and school personnel will address ways to correct and or improve the attendance issues.
A student who is absent from school or any class without permission may be subject to disciplinary action (i.e. detention, suspension, expulsion and/or ineligibility for participation in athletics or other school activities). Students under the age of 17 with excessive absences will be reported to the district’s Director of Student Services. An absence is considered unlawful if the student is absent without parental knowledge or without an acceptable reason – with or without parental knowledge.
Truancy can have a devastating impact on a young person’s education. The South Carolina Compulsory School Attendance Law requires that children between the ages of five (5) and seventeen (17) years attend school regularly. The law mandates that parents assure the presence of their children at school. Section 59-65-20 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976 states: “Any parent or guardian who neglects to enroll his child or ward or refuses to make such child or ward attend school shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $50 or be imprisoned not more than 30 days; each day’s absence shall constitute a separate offense . . . .”
What the law means is that for any unlawful absence that a child accrues, the parent or guardian could be fined $50 or serve 30 days in jail for each unexcused day! Parents are encouraged to work with school staff members to assure that their children attend school. Parental support will make a world of difference in a child’s future. If parents make education a priority, so will their children.
Make Up of Missed Work
It is the responsibility of students to get assignments when they are absent from school. Students are encouraged to get assignments from classmates if they miss a class. Students who are to be absent from school for 3 or more days may request assignments through the guidance counselors at the school. The counselors should be given at least 24 hours advance notice to enable them to obtain assignments.
Students will not be excused from work that was assigned during their absence. Work that was completed by the class while a student was absent should be completed by the student to the satisfaction of the teacher when the student returns to school. Teachers will permit students to make up work missed during a lawful absence as long as a student makes appropriate arrangements with the teacher no later than the student’s 5th day back at school.
Parents should have students at school on time each day. Also, secondary students are expected to be in their individual classes on time. The tardy student misses important instruction and creates a disruption in the class when arriving late. Late arrival (tardiness) results in interruptions to the learning process – not only for the tardy student but for the other students in the class as well. Each school has guidelines for the disciplinary consequences for tardiness. In addition, constant tardiness may be referred to the Director of Student Services for further action.
A parent or guardian must sign out any student leaving school early. Dismissals during the last 30 minutes of the day should be avoided if at all possible as it becomes a disruption to the class as teachers and students are closing instructional activities for the day.
Parents or guardians must make arrangements with the school office if other persons will be signing out their children. The school will not dismiss a student into the custody of another individual without verified permission from the parent or guardian.
Medical Homebound Instruction
Parents who anticipate a student’s absence due to an extended health problem may apply immediately for homebound instruction. Application must be made within 10 days of the first series of absences. The homebound student will be counted absent, but it will not count against his attendance in the case of perfect attendance. Students who cannot attend school because of illness or injury, even with the aid of transportation, are eligible for homebound instruction. A licensed medical doctor must certify that the student is unable to attend school but able to profit from the homebound instruction.