Regular attendance and punctuality are essential in providing for the development of personal responsibility and for continuous growth in learning experiences. Time lost from the classroom can never be made up completely since many extras beyond textbook content and completion of assignments contribute to the learning process. (There is no substitute for actual daily participation in class!)
The Law: The Compulsory Attendance Law requires that all children in South Carolina between the ages of 5 and 17 attend school continuously. Also, the law affirms that the primary responsibility for regular attendance resides with the parents and/or guardians. Only 10 unexcused absences are allowed per year (5 per semester); however, after 5 unexcused absences, student will be coded as truant in the S.C. attendance system. Truancy status will remain on student’s record through twelfth grade.
Students, please remember that all absences, along with tardies, are recorded on your permanent record. Each student enrolled in the schools of the district shall be expected to attend school regularly. When a student has been absent from school, a written statement explaining the absence is required on the student’s first day back to school. The note should include the date of absence, reason for absence, and be signed by a parent or guardian. Absences are lawful or unlawful. The following conditions are considered lawful absences: (1) Student’s personal illness (a physician’s statement may be required). (2) Illness of an immediate family member which requires emergency help from the student. (3) Death in the immediate family. (4) Observance of a religious holiday established by the governing organization of the religion to which the student belongs. (5) Chronic, or extended illness, requires a certification of the illness from a physician or other health provider. The statement must be presented to the school at the time of registration or immediately following the medical diagnosis. Such statement will become a part of the student’s health file and will be placed in the permanent record. All absences in excess of ten (10) must be approved by the principal.
Unlawful Absences: An unlawful absence is defined as a student’s willful absence from school without the knowledge of the parents, or a student’s absence from school without an approved reason with or without the knowledge of the parents. The District Board of Trustees or its designee shall promptly approve or disapprove any student’s absence in excess of ten days. Excessive absences will be recorded and reported to the District Attendance Supervisor. The Supervisor will in turn contact the student’s parents or guardian. Unless a student is present in school for a minimum of three hours and fifteen minutes, he will not be counted present on that day. Policy requires that after ten absences (lawful or unlawful), a doctor’s statement will be required in order for further absences to be excused. A certificate will be presented to each student who maintains perfect attendance for the school year.
Tardies: Tardies to school are our school’s number one problem. We cannot help you to educate your child without greater support from you. Please help us by insuring that your child arrives on time each day. Teachers begin their instruction at 7:45 each morning. Please have your child on campus no later than 7:35 to ensure that they are on time. Please be cognizant that when a child is tardy, it causes them to miss much-needed instructional information. It not only disrupts the class upon their entrance, it also causes the teacher’s scheduled instructional time to decrease due to the interruption and their having to allow the child to get settled in. The teacher must also go back and change the earlier-marked absence to a tardy. The teacher has to ensure that the tardy child has the appropriate materials out and that they are in the appropriate place. The teacher then must take time to remediate the tardy child on what the child missed in the morning’s lesson. This causes the other students to lose their needed instructional time. It does not end there. The teacher then has to get the other students to refocus on the material that was being presented when the tardy student entered the classroom. Disciplinary action must be taken when students continue to arrive late to school. When excessive tardies continue to be recorded a parent conference with administration will be required. Minutes from tardiness can accumulate to absences on a student’s attendance record and become part of the evidence on record in truancy court cases.