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Law requires students attend class
School notes
Herman Baker
Herman Baker - photo by Photo provided.
Students who attend school regularly are more prepared to learn. They perform better in the classroom and regular attendance increases their knowledge and skill base for taking tests and performing well academically.
Not only is there a direct connection between regular attendance and good grades, but there is also a connection between poor attendance and criminal behavior. If children attend school regularly they are less likely to be involved in criminal activity in our communities, especially during the school day.
School attendance is not only important for our students’ education and their futures, but also for building a stronger community.
The Compulsory Attendance Law requires that all children between the ages of 6 and 16 attend school. The law places the responsibility for a child’s attendance on the parent or guardian who has control or charge of the child. Therefore, while it is the school’s responsibility to educate children, it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to make sure their children are at school, so they can receive an education.

Parental notice

Parents should review the Code of Conduct handbook, which addresses school attendance. When a teacher submits a social work referral, the school social worker’s role in this matter involves contacting the parent or guardian via phone calls, home visits, notification cards and/or letters to inform them of the child’s school attendance record.
In most cases, once contact has been made there is improvement in the child’s school attendance. However, when unexcused absences continue to increase, there will be additional involvement by the school social worker with the parent or guardian in an effort to further correct the problem. Consequences may include advising parents of how to properly document absences and/or petitioning parents to the magistrate court for violating the State Compulsory Attendance Law.
When a high school student has seven or more unexcused absences, credits may be denied for that particular semester. The consequences for poor attendance at the high school level interfere significantly with the students’ ability to meet the state criteria for graduation.
Parents who violate the State Compulsory Attendance Law are guilty of a misdemeanor. Consequences include a fine no greater than $100, imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, community service and/or a combination of the three. A written summary of the penalties for violating compulsory attendance is provided for parents in the Liberty County Student Information and Code of Conduct, which is provided to all parents and students. Parents can always refer to the Code of Conduct handbook.

Excused absences

A student may not be absent from school or from any class during required school hours except for: 1. personal illness, which endangers his/her health or the health of others; 2. serious death or illness of an immediate family member; 3. a mandate by order of a governmental agency; 4. recognized religious holiday; 5. conditions that render attendance impossible or hazardous to the student’s health or safety; 6. registering to vote or voting period not to exceed one day; 7. medical, dental or legal appointments that cannot be scheduled outside school hours; 8. or attendance at a school-sponsored function approved by the principal.
Excuses for absences shall be furnished to the school in writing, and be signed by the student’s parent or guardian and shall specially state the reason for the absence. All excuses shall be dated and brought to the school within three days after the student’s absence. All excuses will be evaluated by the principal or designee to determine if the absence is excused or unexcused. Students are allowed five excusable absences. If their parent or legal guardian has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting, this is called military block leave.
Parents and guardians can help the school improve attendance by making sure their children are in school every day.  Parents should emphasize to their children the connection between regular school attendance and academic success. Parents should be involved in their child’s education and communicate with the teachers regularly. Making education a family priority and monitoring the student’s attendance encourages academic success.

School notes is written by different employees of the LibertyCounty School System and appears on an education page in each Friday’s Coastal Courier. It is the opinion of the writer.
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