Policy 4400

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ATTENDANCE   Policy Code:   4400

Attendance in school and participation in class are an integral part of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Regular attendance develops patterns of behavior essential to professional and personal success in life. Regular attendance by every student is mandatory: the State of North Carolina requires that every child in the State between the ages of seven (or younger if enrolled) and 16 years attend school. While there are times when students are unable to attend school, parents or legal guardians have the responsibility for ensuring that students attend and remain at school daily.

It will be the responsibility of the principal to be familiar with current rules and regulations relative to attendance and absences and to monitor regularly:

  1. teacher compliance;
  2. decisions relative to classifications of absences as excused or unexcused; and
  3. absence cases needing further review or action.

It will be the teacher’s responsibility to be familiar with current rules and regulations relative to attendance and absences, and to carry out his/her duties with regard to such requirements.

Contents

A. ATTENDANCE RECORDS

School officials will keep an accurate record of attendance, including accurate attendance records in each class. Attendance records will be used to enforce the Compulsory Attendance Law of North Carolina. (See Section B).

To be counted present, a student must be in attendance at least one-half of the student school day/period. To be considered present for the day, the student must be in attendance for more than 50% of class time to be counted present. In addition, a student will be considered present if he/she has the principal’s approval to attend an official school activity at a place other than the school. The student will have an opportunity to make up his or her missed work without receiving penalties to his/her grade(s). (See Section D).

A student must be at his/her assigned station for work at the time appointed for the school day or class to begin or the student will be recorded as tardy for the day or class. Excessive tardies may result in disciplinary action.

B. ATTENDANCE LAW

The principal will take all steps required by the Compulsory Attendance Law, G.S. 115C-378, for excessive absences. The principal or designee will notify the parent, guardian, or custodian by mail when 3 days, 6 days, and 10 days of unexcused absences have accumulated that he or she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified. Once the parents are notified, the school social worker will work with the child and his or her family to analyze the causes of the absences and determine steps to eliminate the problem.

The principal will review any report or investigation prepared by the school social worker in accordance with N.C. G.S. 115C-381 and will confer with the student and his or her parent, guardian, or custodian to determine whether the parent, guardian, or custodian has received notification pursuant to this section and made a good faith effort to comply with the law. If the principal determines that parent, guardian, or custodian has not, he or she will notify the district attorney.

For the purposes of meeting the requirements of the compulsory attendance law, excused and unexcused absences shall be defined as the following:

Excused Absences An absence may be excused for the following reasons:

  1. personal illness or injury which makes the student physically unable to attend school;
  2. isolation ordered by the State Board of Health;
  3. death in the immediate family;
  4. medical or dental appointment or such an appointment which has been approved by the principal;
  5. participation under subpoena as a witness in a court proceeding;
  6. observance of an event required or suggested by the religion of the student or the student's parent(s) with prior approval by the principal;
  7. participation in a valid educational opportunity, such as travel, with prior approval by the principal;
  8. out of school suspension; or
  9. visitation with the student’s parent or legal guardian, at the discretion of the superintendent or designee, if the parent or legal guardian (a) is an active duty member of the uniformed services as defined by policy 4050, Children of Military Families, and (b) has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting.

When a student is absent from school, a parent or guardian shall provide a written explanation of why the student was absent and submit that note to the proper authority at his/her school. This will ensure that the student’s absence is considered excused provided the reason complies with the list of excused absences as defined above. The note, signed by the student’s parent or guardian, is due upon the student’s return to school and no later than within three school days of the student’s return to school. The note shall include the dates of the student’s absence and reason for the absence.

In certain cases, the school may require a parent or guardian to provide a note from a medical provider verifying the student’s illness and necessity for missing school. The note, signed by the student’s medical provider, is due upon the student’s return to school but will be accepted at any time prior to the end of school for elementary or middle school students or the end of the semester for high school students. The note shall include the dates of the student’s absence and reason for the absence.

Unexcused Absences Any absence not meeting the requirements of an excused absence will be an unexcused absence.

C. SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES

It is the intention of the board of education that classes missed be kept to an absolute minimum through close scrutiny and a monitoring system on the part of the principal. The following school-related activities will not be counted as absences from either class or school and will not impact student attendance. Assignments missed for these reasons are eligible for makeup by the student.

  • field trips sponsored by the school;
  • school-initiated and scheduled activities;
  • athletic events requiring early dismissal from school;
  • governor or legislative page;
  • in-school suspension;
  • exam exemptions with parental approval; or
  • job shadows and other work-based learning opportunities, as described in G.S. 115C-47(34a)

D. MAKING UP MISSED WORK DUE TO ABSENCES

When a student is absent, he or she is responsible for finding out what assignments were missed and completing them within the specified time. The teacher will determine what work is to be made up. A zero will be placed in the grade book for any graded assignments missed. Any previously scheduled tests, quizzes and projects are due the day the student returns. For other assignments, the student will have five school days from the last day absent to make up any graded assignments missed to remove the zero with no penalties.

E. EXCESSIVE ABSENCES, LATE ARRIVALS/EARLY RELEASE

Class attendance and participation are critical elements of the educational process and may be taken into account in assessing academic achievement. Students are expected to be at school on time and to be present at the scheduled starting time for each class. The principal shall notify parents and take all other steps required by G.S. 115C-378 for excessive absences. Infractions could result in consequences stated in the Student Code of Conduct, Policy 4303.


Legal References: G.S. 115C-47, -84.2, -288(a), -378 to -383; G.S. Chapter 7B; 16 NCAC 6E.0100 through .0104, State Board of Education Policy Number EEO-2-000 through -004

Cross References: Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students (policy 4023), Children of Military Families (policy 4050), Short-Term Suspension (policy 4351)

Adopted: June 17, 1997 Revised: August 28, 2006; June 16, 2009, February 21, 2011, January 2013, August 18, 2014

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