PEACH COUNTY ATTENDANCE PROTOCOL

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1 PEACH COUNTY ATTENDANCE PROTOCOL PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS: The Peach County Attendance Protocol Committee was established, as mandated by O.C.G.A , to ensure the coordination and cooperation among officials, agencies, and programs involved in compulsory attendance issues, to reduce the number of unexcused absences from school, and to increase the percentage of students present to take tests which are required to be administered under the laws of this state. The Peach County School District emphasizes the value of regular attendance in enabling students to benefit from the school program. Regular attendance by students facilitates the development of the skills and knowledge necessary to function in a modern democratic society. Georgia law places the responsibility on each student to attend school on a daily basis and the responsibility on each parent or guardian to send their child to school on a daily basis. More important, however, is the effect of regular and punctual attendance on the student s scholastic achievement. Not only is each day s lesson important to the individual student, but his/her presence as a class participant contributes to education of others. Frequent absences and tardies for any reason are almost certain to affect adversely a student s schoolwork. Each student is expected to be in school every day except when illness, injury, or some providential condition beyond his/her control prevents attendance. An absence is defined as non-attendance in an approved regularly scheduled class or activity, regardless of the reason for such non-attendance. An exception is when a student participates in an approved activity (such as, but not limited to field trip), he/she may be excused from school, counted present, and shall be responsible for any work missed during the time he/she is away from school. Truant is defined as any child subject to compulsory attendance who during the school calendar year has more than FIVE days of UNEXCUSED absences. STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES ARE: 1. To request make-up assignments. 2. To take advantage of educational opportunities by attending all classes daily and punctually. 3. To provide the school with an adequate explanation and appropriate documentation indicating the reason for the absence. 4. To request make-up assignments. STUDENT RIGHTS ARE:

2 1. To be informed of School Board policies and individual school rules regarding absenteeism and tardiness. 2. To appeal a decision pertaining to an absence. 3. To make up class work within the specified time following an absence. COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE Georgia law requires that each parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of a child between the sixth and sixteenth birthdays shall enroll and send the child to a public school, private school or home study program, and such child shall be responsible for enrolling and attending such school. Each day s absence from school after the school district notifies the parent of a child of five unexecuted/undocumented shall constitute a separate offense. A parent who violates this law shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be subject for each offense to a fine of not less than $25 or more than $100, imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, community service, or any combination of such penalties. A student between 6 and 16 who violates this law is subject to being adjudged an unruly child by the Peach County Juvenile Court and may be placed on probation, ordered to perform community service, committed to an institution for juvenile delinquents, or committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice. In addition, a student who has 10 or more unexcused/undocumented absences shall be subject to driver s license revocation. Excused Absences Students may be temporarily excused from school by the principal in the following circumstances: Serious illness or hospitalization, including maternity confinement and delivery; Serious illness or death in the immediate family which would reasonably necessitate absence from school; Special and recognized religious holidays observed by the student s faith;

3 Court orders or mandates by order of governmental agencies, including pre-induction physical examinations for the armed forces; Conditions rendering attendance impossible or hazardous to student health or safety; and Other circumstances where the parent or guardian makes prior arrangements with the building principal for their child to be absent from school, i.e., college visits, serving as a legislative page, and other special family occasions. Procedure for documenting absences as Excused: Absences shall be considered excused and shall not penalize student grades if the following conditions are met: Students who desire to document an absence shall present a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian within three (3) days of returning to school. Failure to present an excuse within three (3) days shall result in an unexcused absence. Documentation presented after three (3) days will not be considered. Documentation may not be sent by FAX, , or telephone. A student absent for five (5) consecutive days must submit a medical excuse for absences to be excused. Any student found to have submitted an excuse falsely presented as being from a parent or guardian will be subject to school discipline (Level II). Absences covered by such false excuse will be deemed unexcused and no make up work will be accepted. The principal or designee will determine whether or not an absence is excused, and may, at his/her discretion, require supporting documentation from doctor, dentist, clinic, court, funeral home, etc. in order to make this determination. The decision of the principal or designee with respect to the justification and validity of proffered documentation for an absence is final. Students shall be given a reasonable opportunity, not exceeding five (5) days, to make up work or tests which were missed because of an excused absence from school. It is the student s responsibility to arrange to make up work. Failure to make up work after a reasonable time will result in a grade of 0. Students placed in in-school suspension or participating in school related or sponsored activities are considered to be in attendance at school. Absences resulting from disciplinary suspensions shall be excused for purposes of this policy. However: Make up of assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. that are both assigned and due during a period of suspension must be completed and submitted no later than

4 the fifth (5 th ) day following the student s return from suspension. Failure to make up work within five (5) days will result in a grade of 0. Work assigned prior to the start of a suspension and due during the suspension shall be accepted and graded if submitted by the suspended student s parent or guardian or other representative on the due date. Work assigned during a student s suspension to be due after the suspension shall be accepted for grading on the due date. It is the student s responsibility to get all classroom assignments during periods of suspension. Procedures for Handling Excessive Unexcused Absences: The Peach County school system will use its best efforts to follow these procedures to reduce the number of unexcused absences from school. 2 nd Unexcused absence- School personnel (teacher/principal designee) will contact parent by telephone, concerning the reason(s) for absences, and will explain the procedure for documenting absences as excused, as outlined in Student Code of Conduct. The appropriateness for hospital/homebound should be discussed at this point. 3 rd -4 th Unexcused absence- School personnel (principal designee) will send a note home to parent, including the total number of unexcused absences, and the school s attendance policy. 5 th -Unexcused absence- School personnel (principal designee) will refer student to the School Social Worker for counseling and appropriate intervention. A school social worker referral form must be completed and all relevant correspondence and documentation must be attached to the referral form. The School Social Worker will send a letter to the parent requesting them to contact the School Social Worker to discuss the reasons for student s absences (family, economic, health, transportation, etc.), the system s attendance policy, the Compulsory Attendance Law, and the consequences for non-compliance with the system policy and the Compulsory the Attendance law. (Parents and students ages 10 and older will sign the attendance consequences notice, established by the Attendance Protocol Committee, if they have not already signed it.) 6 th -7 th Unexcused absence- In compliance with O.C.G.A , the School Social Worker will make another attempt, by letter, to contact parents, who fail to respond to School Social Worker s first contact.

5 8 th -9 th Unexcused absences- After two reasonable attempts to notify a parent without response, the School Social Worker will send a letter via certified mail, with return receipt, in compliance with O.C.G.A th Unexcused absences- Once a student accumulates 10 unexcused absences, the School Social Worker will file a juvenile truancy complaint with the Peach County Juvenile Court. Peach County Juvenile Court Process: 1. A juvenile truancy complaint will be forwarded to Peach County Juvenile Court by the School Social Worker; this complaint will include the student s attendance history, vital information on the parent(s), and the efforts used to address the problem. 2. An informal adjustment hearing will be scheduled by the Juvenile Court with notification sent to the child and his/her parents. In attendance at the adjustment hearing will be: the student and his/her parent(s), the School Social Worker, a representative from the Department of Family and Children Service, Mental Health, the Health Department and other agencies to be determined as needed. 3. A. An informal adjustment agreement will be developed at the hearing with input from all parties. Parties will agree to and sign conditions and stipulations of that informal adjustment agreement. B. If the parents and/or child do not appear or do not agree to the informal adjustment, the Juvenile Officer will proceed with filing a petition bringing the child before the court. Prosecution against the parents will be initiated. 4. The informal adjustment agreement will be approved by the Judge and filed with the court. 5. If the parents and/or child fail to abide by the terms of the informal adjustment agreement, the Juvenile Officer will file a petition bringing the child before the court. The parents will be prosecuted by the District s Attorney s Office for failure to comply with the Compulsory School Attendance Law.

6 Consequences for Unexcused Absences: I. Academic Consequences: A student absent more than 20 unexcused days of school in grades K-8 shall not receive credit for work passed during the school year. A student absent more than 8 unexcused days per semester (semester=18 weeks) in grades 9-12 will not receive credit for work passed during that semester. A student (grades K-8) who exceeds twenty (20) unexcused days in a school year and a student (grades 9-12) who exceeds eight (8) unexcused days in a semester may appeal the denial of credit and/or retention to the principal. II. Court-related/Legal Consequences: The law requires that children attend school until they reach the age of 16. When children miss school, the law punishes the children and the parents or guardians. Here is what can happen. 1. What may happen to the child? A child who does not go to school can be arrested, held in the RYDC (a youth jail) and prosecuted for being unruly. If found guilty, the child may be subject to further incarceration, probation, community service, or other punishments. Additional offenses can result in additional punishment. Any child placed in jail or prison for juvenile offenders will be required to go to school there. 2. What may happen to the parent or guardian? Parents must see to it that their children go to school. A parent who fails in this duty is subject to being arrested, placed in jail, tried, and convicted for violation of this law. A parent convicted of this offense may be put in jail for up to 12 months and fined up to $ What may happen to the family? Georgia law says a child who is not provided proper education by the parent is a deprived child. If a child is deprived, he or she can be removed and placed in another home where other adults will take care of the child. If the parents are receiving benefits on behalf of the child, those benefits will be given to the new caretaker. If parents seriously deprive a child and don t correct the situation, their parental rights can be terminated, meaning they will never again be parents to the child, and new permanent parents will be found for the child. IF CHILDREN DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL, ANY OR ALL OF THE ABOVE MAY HAPPEN! III. Driving Privileges:

7 The School District is required to report to the Georgia Department of Education which in turn reports to the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety Driver s License Bureau, certain violations of the Code of Conduct which may lead to restrictions being placed on the student driving privileges. Violations which must be reported include: dropping out of school, exceeding more than 10 unexcused absences in any semester, suspensions from school for the following: threats or actual violence towards any school district personnel or their property, possession and/or sale of drugs/alcohol; possession and/or use of a weapon; any sexual offenses; and causing bodily harm or disfigurement. Note: Students assigned to Crossroads Alternative School are not permitted to drive to school. IV. Possible Career-Related Consequences: According to a study did by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an agency within the U. S. Department of Labor, about 400, 000 persons dropped out of high school between October 2001 and October About two-thirds of these high school dropouts were in the labor force in October 2002; their unemployment rate was 29.8 percent-almost 13 percent higher than the unemployment rates for the high school graduates during that time. The unemployment rate was 23.4 percent among male dropouts and 37.6 percent among female dropouts. Similarly, the unemployment rate for workers who dropped out of high school is nearly for times the rate for college graduates. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that in the year 2000, college graduates age 25 and over earned $500 more per week than workers who had less than a high school diploma. TARDIES Tardiness is defined as failure to be in a place of instruction at the assigned time without a valid excuse. Leaving school before school is officially over is also considered tardy. If a K-8 student is tardy upon arrival to school, a parent must accompany the student to the office and sign for the student. Failure to sign for the student shall result in the parent being contacted and requested to return to school and sign for the student. The tardy student may not be permitted to attend class until the parent has signed for the student. If a 9-12 student is tardy upon arrival to school, the student shall report to the designated area to receive a tardy slip for admission to class. The student who desires to receive an excused tardy shall present a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian. Failure to present a written excuse shall result in an unexcused tardy. Excuses may not be sent by FAX or . Parent s signature on the school s student log may not constitute a written excuse. The principal or his designee shall determine whether or not a tardy is excused. TARDY TO CLASS

8 Being late to class is considered a tardy. For grades 6-12, a student is allowed three (3) tardies per the nines weeks. Additional tardies to class shall be dealt with in the following manner: Four (4) Tardies to class (per nine (9) weeks) = Detention Five (5) Tardies to class (per nine (9) weeks) = Saturday School/ Six (6) Tardies to class (per nine (9) weeks) = In School Suspension Additional tardies In School Suspension, Principal discretion & Note: Students assigned to Crossroads Alternative School will be provided the Crossroads Tardy Policy when they register.

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