The Cumberland County Board of Education, on first reading last night, approved returning the number of excused absences with a parent note per semester for students to five. The revised policy will need to pass a second reading in September before going into effect.
Earlier this year, the board accepted making the number of excused absences with a parent note to three.
Cumberland County Director of Schools Janet Graham told 105.7 News the reason for the proposed reversal back to 5 per semester comes from the Tennessee School Board Association saying that the attendance matter needs to be procedure and not a policy set.
According to the attendance policy, an absence is excused with a parent note for one of the following reasons that are designated by the state:
- personal illness
- illness of immediate family member
- death in family
- extreme weather conditions
- religious observances
- college visits
- school-sponsored or school-endorsed activities
- summons, subpoena or court order
- circumstances which in the judgment of the principal creates emergencies over which the student has no control
The parent note must include the name of the student, the reason for the absence based on the reasons listed above, and the parent or guardians signature and contact phone number. The excused absence would also allow the student to make up any assignments missed.
It is important to note that an excuse from a doctor DOES NOT apply to the days allowed to be missed per semester.
The principal of each school is responsible for ensuring that the attendance is checked and reported daily for each class, make sure daily absentee sheets are completed and all student absences are verified.
Either way, the states considers a student who misses 18 days per school year, excused or not, to be chronic absent.
Tardies, including early dismissal for any reason other than the excuses listed above, will be considered unexcused.
The policy also states that more than 10 consecutive or 15 unexcused absences by a student during any semester will render a student ineligible to retain a driver’s permit or license, or to obtain it if of age. In order to qualify for reclaiming a driver’s permit or license, the student must earn a passing grade in at least three full unit subjects or their equivalency at the conclusion of a subsequent grading period.