School Attendance Law
Students are expected to be in school each day unless excused for one of the reasons listed below.
Parent notes may be accepted for up to 10 absences in a school year and must be turned in five (5) days after the absence. After 10 absences, parents will be required to provide written medical excuses or documentation. However, in cases when a student’s absences become excessive and are addressed through an attendance intervention (i.e. Attendance Review Team, Educational Improvement Team or School Social Work referral) absences will only be excused by written medical documentation.
Students shall be counted present when they are serving as pages of the Georgia General Assembly and/or while representing the school in an activity approved by the school and/or Board of Education. Students in foster care shall be counted present when they attend court proceedings relating to their foster care.
A student whose parent or legal guardian is in military service in the U. S. armed forces or National Guard, and such parent has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting will be granted up to five (5) days of excused absences per school year to visit with his or her parent prior to the parent's deployment or during the parent's leave.
Individual students who have emergencies to arise that necessitate their absence from school for a portion of the school day must have been present for one half of the instructional day in order to be included in attendance counts.
An unlawful (unexcused) absence is one not permitted under the Compulsory School Attendance Law (20-2-690) and policies of the Whitfield County School Board.
Any combination of five (5) unexcused tardies / late check-ins or unexcused early check-outs will be considered one (1) unexcused absence. If a student has excessive absences or tardies, the school social worker may refer the student and parent(s) to the Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), Educational Improvement Team (EIT) or the appropriate court when sufficient legal causes for these absences or tardies do not exist. Corrective measures may be taken against the student and/or parent(s).
When a high school student has more than six (6) unexcused absences per semester in a class meeting fewer than 90 days (6 block days), the student will not receive credit for that course. If a high school student has more than 10 unexcused absences in a class meeting more than 90 days (year long courses) the student will not receive credit for that course. Any student who is absent one half day is considered absent the full day. The student must be present for at least one half of the high school class period to be considered present for the class. The student and/or parent/guardian may request the school principal or designee to review the case if there are extenuating circumstances. Upon denial, it can be appealed to the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee.
According to the State Board of Education rules, a student is truant who during the school calendar year has more than five (5) unexcused absences.
A student is lawfully absent from school for the following reasons:
- Personal illness that would endanger the student’s health or the health of others.
- Serious illness or death in the student’s immediate family.
- Special and recognized religious holidays observed by the student’s faith.
- Mandated absence by order of governmental agencies, e.g., court order or pre-induction physical for the armed forces.
- Conditions rendering school attendance impossible or hazardous to health or safety.
- A period not to exceed one day is allowed for registering to vote or voting in a public election.
- Approved college visitation in accordance with high school regulations.
- Working at an electoral poll site during an election.
- Student trips deemed educational by the Superintendent or Superintendent's designee.
- Students participating in 4-H activities will be counted as present in the same manner as if they were on a field trip.
- The school will contact you in writing by mail when your child has 5, 10 and 15 total absences each school year.
- Parents may be requested to attend an Attendance Review Team (ART) meeting when students reach 5 unexcused or 10 total absences.
- Parents who do not attend the ART meeting will be referred to the school social worker. Parents may also be asked to provide a written medical documentation to excuse future absences due to illness.
- Upon review of the student’s attendance, the school social worker may refer the student and family on to the community Education Improvement Team (EIT), the Department of Family and Children Services or the Whitfield County Juvenile or Magistrate Court.
- The ART and EIT process is ongoing and may not start over each year. If the intervention was held the previous school year, the family may not attend an ART or EIT the following year. However, the family will be notified by the school social worker of the continued attendance concerns.