Absences and Excuses
Descriptor Code: JBD-R(0)
(Aligned to the Juvenile Justice Reform Bill 2014/Children in Need of Services (CHINS) which is a “cooperative agreement between the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Human Services, Department of Education, Department of Behavioral, Health and Developmental Disabilities, Department of Public Health, and Department of Community Health. This Bill defines “truancy” as ten (10) unexcused absences.)
NOTE: The Georgia Compulsory School Attendance Law defines “Truancy” as having more than five unexcused absences. (SBOE Rule JB 160-5-1-.10)
1. Each school in the Morgan County Charter School System will assign an attendance clerk to monitor student attendance daily. Parents of an unexcused absent student will be called by the school (through Infinite Campus) on the day of the absence and also receive an email.
-Calls can be blocked if parent notifies the school that the student will have an excused absence and will provide documentation the next day.
2. Within 24 hours after the third consecutive absence, a school staff member will contact parents personally to check on the child, to discuss the importance of being in school, etc., if the parents haven’t already contacted the school’s front office. A referral will be made to the school counselor if parents are unable to be contacted.
-Documentation will be made on the Contact Log in Infinite Campus.
3. The attendance clerk will notify the parents after the 5th unexcused absence or the 10th total (excused and unexcused) absence and requesting their presence at a mandatory, Attendance Review Team meeting. This team will be comprised of a school administrator, school counselor, school social worker, and the student, as appropriate. The student’s teacher, a member of the court system or other community agency representatives will be invited to the meeting, as well. At this meeting, an Attendance Plan/Truancy Prevention Plan will be developed which will be signed by all members, including the parents. For parents who do not attend the meeting or call to reschedule, a citation may be issued and they will be summoned to appear in Magistrate Court, where the judge will set a date for a Pre-Warrant hearing. The Judge will issue an order to the parents referencing regular school attendance. The School Social Worker will be responsible for reporting back to the judge if the order is not followed. The School Social Worker will work with the parents to provide resources and services to help alleviate attendance issues. If attendance problems continue, the School Social Worker will inform the judge and a warrant will be issued for the parent’s arrest. The School Social Worker will communicate with the school counselor(s)/attendance contact concerning the outcome of the filed complaint.
- Documentation of this meeting will be made in the Contact Log of Infinite Campus.
4. Follow up on the plan will be carried out at the school level. If the plan is not being followed or is not working, the school will consult the system Social Worker.
5. After the tenth (10th) unexcused absence, the School Social Worker will request that a Notice of Arrest Warrant Application and Pre-warrant Hearing be issued by the School Resource Officer to the parent(s). The Magistrate Judge will set a date for the Pre-warrant Hearing. At the Pre-warrant Hearing, the Magistrate Judge will issue an order to the parent(s) requiring the child’s (or children’s) regular school attendance and prohibiting any further unexcused absences. The School Social Worker will be responsible for reporting back to the judge if the order is not followed.
Should the child (or children) have one (1) additional unexcused absence after the Pre-warrant Hearing is held, an arrest warrant will be immediately issued for the parent’s (or parents’) arrest. Should the child (or children) have one (1) additional unexcused absence prior to the scheduled Pre-warrant Hearing, an arrest warrant for the parent(s) may be immediately issued without notice or a hearing upon proper application by the School Resource Officer. Once arrested, the case will be bound over to Superior Court and the parent(s) will be brought before the Superior Court Judge for further action and/or prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office.
•Teachers must mark attendance every day/every period. Accuracy and timeliness of reporting attendance will be overseen by the principal.
•An Attendance Contact Person will be identified by the principal of each school.
•Truancy laws are in effect for students aged five (once enrolled in school and in attendance for 20 days) through the sixteenth birthday.
•For students aged 16 and above, each of the procedures stated in this document will continue to be in effect except no complaint will be able to be filed.
•Parents have three school days to turn in excuses or the absence will remain unexcused. The student’s parent should write a note to the school stating the child’s first and last names, date(s) and reason for the absence.
•Parents should call the school office if they know that the student will be absent more than one day, and send in a written excuse when the student returns.
•Excused absences (Morgan County Board of Education Policy JBD) include:
1. When the student is ill and when attendance in school would be detrimental to his/her health or the health of others:
Schools may require students to present appropriate medical documentation upon return to school for the purpose of validating that the absence is an excused absence. (With proper verification by a physician of a chronic illness, a student may be eligible for hospital/homebound instruction, as outlined in State Board of Education Rule 160-4-2-.31 Hospital/Homebound (HHB) Services.)
2. When there is serious illness or death in the student’s immediate family. (Immediate family is defined as father, mother, brother, sister, grandparent, and anyone living in the same home. [Note: A principal may require a student to present appropriate medical documentation regarding the family member’s illness upon return to school for the purpose of validating that the absence is an excused absence.]
3. When the absence is mandated by order of governmental agencies, including pre-induction physical examinations for service in the armed forces or by a court order.
4. When a religious holiday necessitating absence from school is celebrated.
5. When conditions render attendance impossible or hazardous to the student’s health or safety.
6. When the student is registering to vote or voting, for a period not to exceed one day. Students may register to vote or vote in a public election within a specified time period during the school day with written permission from the principal or designee, secured in advance.
7.When the student is visiting with a parent in the active military who is leaving or returning from deployment to combat duty (for a maximum of 5 days per year).
• Excuses must be submitted to the school within three days after the absence. Once three days have passed without a written excuse, then that day’s absence will remain an unexcused absence.
• All other absences will be counted as unexcused, which includes, but is not limited to: family vacations/travels, missing the school bus, not waking up on time, baby-sitting, not having anything clean to wear, or not wanting to attend school that day.
• Students will be allowed to make up missed work whether the absence is excused or unexcused.
• Students will be counted present if they serve as Pages in the Georgia General Assembly, are foster children keeping court dates, are attending a regular or special school activity, are participating in one college visit per year (see BOE Policy JBD for specifics), or for any other absence not explicitly defined in these procedures but deemed by the Board of Education to have merit based on circumstances.
1. After the fifth unexcused tardy and/or unexcused check-out, parents will be notified in writing by the school’s designated staff member.
-Documentation will be provided on the Contact Log in Infinite Campus.
2. After the tenth unexcused tardy and/or unexcused check-out,, the student will be referred to the Attendance Review Team, at which time the group will meet with the parent to encourage timeliness and to discuss reasons for the tardiness in order to identify solutions and consequences.
-Documentation will be provided on the Contact Log in Infinite Campus.
Morgan County Charter School System
Date Issued: 6/1/2006Last Revised: 7/22/2016