Attendance Policy and Regulations
The Tuscaloosa County Board of Education believes that regular school attendance is important to students and to the school system. Regular attendance by students facilitates development of the skills and knowledge necessary to function in a democratic society. Therefore, the Board endeavors to secure, in compliance with Alabama law, the prompt and regular attendance of students and to secure their proper conduct, and to hold their parents, guardians or other persons in charge or control of students responsible and liable for such student's nonattendance and proper conduct (Policy 5.40 and 5.41).
Compulsory Attendance Age - Code of Alabama 1975 (Section 16-28-3)
Every child between the ages of 6 - 17 must attend a public school, private school, church school or be instructed by a competent private tutor for the entire length of the school term except that every child attending a church school is exempt from the requirements of the Code of Alabama 1975 (Section 16-28-3), provided such child complies with the enrollment and reporting procedure specified in the Code of Alabama 1975 (Section 16-28-7) of the code.
An absence is defined as nonattendance in a regularly scheduled class or activity. To be counted present, a student must be present more than 50% of the allotted time period.
Chronic Absentism is habitually missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absences for any reason - excused absences, unexcused absences and suspensions.
In accordance with Alabama law, parents/legal guardians must explain the cause of every absence of students under their control or charge. Every student, upon return to school, must bring a written excuse from home with two (2) days following the absence signed by the student's parent/legal guardian for each absence and present it to the Principal or his/her designee. After a total of ten (10) absences in a school year for elementary and middle school students, the parent/legal guardian of student will be required to provide medical or legal documentation for absences to be excused. After a total of five (5) absences in a school year for high school students, the parent/legal guardian of student will be required to provide medical or legal documentation for absences to be excused. All written excuses shall be retained for the remainder of the school year in the Principal's office or other approved location.
All student absences shall be designated as either excused or unexcused. In accordance with Alabama law, a student shall be excused for an absence from school for any one of the following reasons:
- personal illness of the student;
- death in the immediate family;
- inclement weather which would be dangerous to the life or health of the student as determined by the Principal;
- legal quarantine or subpoena;
- with prior permission of the Principal and consent of the parent/legal guardian;
- emergency conditions as determined by the Principal; or
- official religious holiday.
Absence for reasons other than those defined above shall be considered as unexcused. Any student seventeen (17) years of age or older who has not registered within five (5) school days of the beginning of a new school term will be denied admission unless extenuating circumstances are approved by the Superintendent or his/her designee. An exception can be made for a special education student in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting.
Noncompliance of Attendance and Loss of Credit (Grades 9-12)
Students enrolled in grades 9 - 12 who are absent from one (1) or more courses for 10 consecutive days for unexcused reasons or 15 days total for unexcused reasons during a full-credit, two-term (18 week) course, shall be denied credit for the course(s) in which the unexcused absences have occurred. These students will receive Noncompliance/No Credit (NC) designation on all records. Students enrolled in grades 9 - 12, who are absent from one (1) or more courses for 5 consecutive days for unexcused reasons for 8 days total for unexcused reasons during a half-credit, one-term (9 weeks) course, will be denied credit for the course(s) in which the unexcused absences have occurred. They will receive a Noncompliance/No Credit (NC) designation on all records. Further, students 17 years or older will be withdrawn from school for the remainder of the term if they are absent from school 10 consecutive days for unexcused reasons or 15 days total for unexcused reasons during a term. An exception may be made for a special education student in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting. An appeal may be made in writing to the local school principal within three (3) days from the date of notification of the loss of credit. The decision of the local school Principal may be appealed to the Superintendent or his/her designee in writing within three (3) days after the hearing at the local school.
Student Absences and Participation in School Activities
Students who are away from school because of participation in official school sponsored activities shall be marked present and allowed to make up missed work. Students who are absent from school for an excused or unexcused reason shall NOT be allowed to participate in any school extracurricular or co-curricular activities that day (athletic contest, cheerleading, band, scholars' bowl, beauty walk, prom, etc.).
Truancy is the habitual and unlawful absence from school. In accordance with the Code of Alabama, the parent/guardian is responsible for requiring any student under his/her control or charge and under 17 years-of-age to attend school (Policy 5.43).
Early Warning Truancy Prevention Program
The Early Warning Truancy Prevention Program (EWTPP) requires that a weekly report be submitted to the Student Services department for all students between the ages of 6 and 17 having unexcused absences. It further recommends that the parent/legal guardian be notified of their child's third unexcused absence. Upon the occurrence of a fifth unexcused absence, the parent/legal guardian and student are required to attend an EWTPP conference. At the conference, the parent/legal guardian and student are informed of the State's compulsory attendance laws, court procedures, and consequences of further unexcused absences (Policy 5.43).