The following information is from the 2022-2023 LCDOE Comprehensive Handbook. To view the entire handbook visit the following link.https://fes.lcdoe.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=800661&type=d&pREC_ID=1190260
State Attendance Guidelines Rule 0520-01-02-.17 shall state the following:
Each Local Education Agency (LEA) shall adopt an attendance policy that is firm, but fair; includes effective accounting and reporting procedures: accounts for extenuating circumstances; includes appeal procedures; and establishes and maintains alternative programs for students who fail to meet minimum attendance requirements.
Local attendance policies should include remedies to address excessive absences that account for a student’s social and emotional development and family support. Early intervention is a key aspect of a policy that effectively improves attendance. Efforts to improve attendance should include supports and interventions in elementary, middle, and high school levels to address and prevent chronic absenteeism.
(1) The number of unexcused absences shall comply with T.C.A. § 49-6-3007. When appropriate, responses to and consequences for unexcused absences shall be handled within the school setting using relevant supports and interventions that address the underlying cause(s) for the unexcused absences. Nontraditional learning environments that improve student engagement such as online or distance learning, credit recover, evening programs and flexible scheduling should be considered.
(a) Upon or before five (5) days of unexcused absences, the principal or designee shall notify the director of schools or designee and initiate meaningful communications with the student and their parent/guardian. The school shall attempt to determine the underlying cause(s) of the unexcused absences. When appropriate, a plan to improve school attendance should be initiated for the student.
(b) Upon or before ten (10) days of unexcused absences, the principal or designee shall attempt to meet in person with the student and/or their parent/guardian, develop or refine the attendance plan, and provide necessary support and services to improve school attendance. The principal or designee shall maintain documents attempts to meet with the student and their parent/guardian and the resulting attendance plan.
(c) The policy shall address the excusing of absences for reasons including but not limited to the following; injury, illness, pregnancy, hospitalization, homebound, summons, subpoena, court order, military, college visits, school-sponsored activities, school-endorsed activities, death of a family member, and extenuating circumstances determined on a case-by-case basis.
(d) To the extent possible, local district attendance policies should not be used to penalize students academically.
(e) The policy shall align with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
(2) Whenever possible, attendance issues should be resolved at the school level. To ensure due process, LEAs must adopt a policy that affords students with excessive (more than 5) unexcused absences the opportunity to appeal. Such policy must, at minimum, include written or actual notice to the student or their parent/guardian and the opportunity to be heard. The burden of proof rests on the student or their parent/guardian. The appeal process for determining unexcused absences is ancillary to a truancy decision rendered by a juvenile court judge as described in T.C.A. §49-6-3010.
(3) When an attendance policy has been adopted by the governing body of an LEA, a copy of the policy shall be posted at each school, and school counselors shall be supplied copies for discussion with students. The policy shall be referenced in all school handbooks. All teachers, administrative staff, and parents/guardians shall be provided copies of the policy.
(4) LEAs are encouraged to develop truancy boards, youth courts, or other alternative programs to serve as an intervention for students with excessive absences.
Lincoln County Attendance Policy is Policy 6.200
ATTENDANCE POLICY 6.200 Attendance is a key factor in student achievement and therefore, students are expected to be present each day school is in session. The attendance supervisor shall oversee the entire attendance program which shall include:
- All accounting and reporting procedures and their dissemination;
- Alternative program options for students who severely fail to meet minimum attendance requirements;
- Ensuring that all school age children attend school;
- Providing documentation of enrollment status upon request for students applying for new or reinstatement of driver's permit or license;
- Notifying the Department of Safety whenever a student with a driver's permit or license withdraws from school.
Student attendance records shall be given the same level of confidentiality as other student records. Only authorized school officials with legitimate educational purposes may have access to student information without the consent of the student or parent/guardian.
Absences shall be classified as either excused or unexcused as determined by the principal/designee.
Excused absences shall include:
- Personal illness;
- Illness of immediate family member;
- Death in the family;
- Extreme weather conditions;
- Religious observances;
- College visits;
- School sponsored or school endorsed activities;
- Summons, subpoena, or court order; or
- Circumstances which in the judgment of the principal create emergencies over which the student has no control.
The following is the administrative procedure for all Lincoln County Schools in accordance with that policy. This procedure was given full Board support on June 29, 2010.
Principals may accept three (3) parent notes per semester and allow those absences to be excused based solely on those parent’s notes. After a parent has used those three (3) notes, then all other absences will require a doctor’s note, a note from the court, or other school approved activity note. ALL notes must be turned into the principal within two (2) days of returning to school. In case of a death in the family or other extenuating circumstances, administrative judgment must be used.
Personal transportation difficulties or travel for recreation will not be considered excused absences. If planning a trip which will be of educational value to the child, the parent must see the principal before the trip is taken and must receive prior approval. For travel absences to be excused, the parent must get pre-approval from the principal. No trips will be approved during any state testing dates.
Progressive Truancy Intervention Plan
- State Attendance Guidelines will be posted in the school office.
- All parents/guardians will have access to information regarding the Lincoln County Attendance Policy - TN Code Annotated 49-6-3007 http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-49/chapter-6/part-30/49-6-3007/
- School will keep a copy of parents/guardians signatures acknowledging they are aware of the Lincoln County attendance policy http://images.pcmac.org/Uploads/TennesseeSBA/TennesseeSBA/Departments/DocumentsCategories/Documents/6200_60.pdf
- Tier 1 Immediately after the 3rd unexcused absence (in the school year) a 3 day letter is mailed to parent/guardian. The designated school personnel will contact parents/guardians of students who accumulate 3 unexcused absences to schedule a conference with parents/guardians and student. The attendance law will be given to the parents/guardians. An attendance contract will be signed by the parents/guardians, student and the designated school personnel. The contract will specify the school’s attendance expectations for the student. The contract will specify the period of the contract (no less than 90 days).The contract will specify the penalties for additional absences and alleged school offenses, including additional disciplinary action and potential referral to juvenile court. The contract will specify regularly scheduled follow-up discussions to address the student’s progress.
- Tier 2 School personnel will send written notification to parents/guardians of students who accumulate 5 unexcused absences. Additional steps that will be taken for students who accumulate more than 5 unexcused absences include the following:
- The designated school personnel will work with the school counselor to develop an Individualized Assessment of the reason(s) a student has been absent from school.
- If a student accumulates 8 unexcused absences or 12 excused absences a STAR Team Meeting with student, parents/guardian, designated school personnel, counselor, Attendance Supervisor, Family Resource Director, and teachers regarding the Individualized Assessment. A plan to address the truancy issues will be developed.
- Follow up discussions will be scheduled to address attendance progress.
- Tier 3 Students who accumulate 10 unexcused absences or tardies or a combination of 10 will be referred to the Truancy Board (for first referral) or Court (if has been referred to Truancy Board.
- The Truancy Board consists of a Juvenile Court Officer (Not the Judge), along with the Attendance Supervisor and Principals/Graduation Coach from the individual schools.
- Students who continue to accumulate unexcused absences or tardies after Truancy Board will be referred to Juvenile Court.
- Tardy Attendance: A student who arrives late to school or is dismissed early is considered Tardy.
- Tardies must have a note with an excusable reason documented within (2) two days of return to school. If a student uses a Parent Note for a Tardy it does count toward the (3) Parent Notes allowed per semester.
- Contact parent/guardian regarding tardies when 5 unexcused are accumulated during the school year. Advise unexcused tardies can constitute referral to Juvenile Court. Document the contact.