Florida Statute 1003.21 requires students ages six (6) up to 18 to be in regular attendance at school. A student who has been absent from school shall have his or her absence reported in a manner which is described in the school’s Student Handbook.
A. Excused Absences: Absences granted for personal illness, illness or death of a member of the immediate family, medical or dental appointments, religious holidays, religious instruction, court date and special emergencies or pre-arranged absences approved by the Principal or designee. The parent/guardian must notify the school to provide the reason for the absence or respond to the school’s inquiry about the reason for the absence within three (3) days of the absence, or it becomes an unexcused absence.
A student who desires to be absent for reasons not given above; may make a prior arrangement request to the school Principal by bringing a written request from his/her parent or guardian.
1. Pre-arranged absence requests must be made at least five (5) school days prior to the date of the absence, except in the case of an emergency.
2. Students shall make pre-arrangements for their school work to be done; it will be due the day the student returns to school. Work done in the pre-arranged time allotted will be given full credit.
B. Unexcused Absences: Absences for shopping trips, vacations, pleasure trips, truancy, dismissal from school, or other avoidable absences which have not been pre-arranged and approved by the Principal or designee. Five (5) late to school Check-Ins and/or Check Outs, will equate to the student receiving one (1) unexcused absence for truancy purposes.
Learnfare Program: The school district will report any wage recipient (student) to the Department of Children & Families when he/she reaches five (5) unexcused absences within 30 calendar days.
Student Contact Program: If a parent/guardian does not respond to the initial school contact regarding unexcused absences, schools have the option of utilizing a law enforcement officer to deliver a letter of notice.
C. Notification to School: Any student who has been absent from school shall bring a note from one of his/her parents or guardians stating the cause of the absence. A Principal may choose to accept notification in person or by telephone in lieu of a note. Failure to properly notify the school or the inability of the school to reach the parent/guardian to establish the reason for the absence within three (3) days shall result in an unexcused absence.
1. The school shall receive notification of the cause of the absence within three (3) days.
2. The school will determine if the absence is to be excused or unexcused.
D. Definition of Habitual Truant: A habitual truant is a child who has 15 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days with or without the knowledge or justifiable consent of the child’s parent or legal guardian, who is subject to compulsory school attendance under Florida Statute 1003.21(1) and (2)(a), and who is not exempt under Florida Statue 1003.21(3) or 1003.24 or any other exemptions specified by law or rules of the state Board of Education. 14
E. Truancy Procedures: If a student has had at least five (5) unexcused absences* or absences for which the reasons are unknown within 30 calendar days, or ten (10) unexcused absences or absences for which the reasons are unknown within 90 calendar days, the student’s primary teacher shall report to the school Principal that the student may be exhibiting a pattern of nonattendance.
* Five (5) late to school Check-Ins and or Check-Outs prior will equate to the student receiving one (1) unexcused absence.
1. The Principal shall, unless there is clear evidence that the absences are not a pattern of nonattendance, refer the case to the school’s Integrated Services Team to determine if early patterns of truancy are developing.
2. The parent/guardian shall be invited to meet with the Integrated Services Team to develop a written Truancy Intervention Plan.
3. The parent/guardian shall be informed of the requirements of compulsive attendance laws, Truancy Pick-Up Program and the Department of Motor Vehicle sanctions.
4. If an initial meeting does not resolve the problem, the Integrated Services Team shall implement interventions that best address the problem. The interventions may include, but need not be limited to the following:
referral to the school Social Work Department
frequent communication between the teacher and the family
changes in the learning environment
tutoring, including peer tutoring
placement into different classes
evaluation for alternative education programs
referral to other agencies for family services
other interventions, including, but not limited to, a truancy petition pursuant to s.984.151, F.S.
The Integrated Services Team (IST) shall be diligent in facilitating intervention services and shall report the child to the Superintendent only when all reasonable efforts to resolve the nonattendance behavior are exhausted.
a. If the parent or guardian in charge of the student refuses to participate in the remedial strategies because he or she believes that those strategies are unnecessary or inappropriate, the parent or guardian in charge of the student may appeal to the School Board.
b. If the Board’s final determination is that the strategies of the Integrated Services Team are appropriate, and the parent or guardian in charge of the student still refuses to participate or cooperate, the Superintendent may seek criminal prosecution for noncompliance with compulsory school attendance.
c. If nonattendance continues after the implementation of intervention strategies, the Principal may request that the Superintendent (or his designee) file a truancy court petition. If a truancy court petition is filed, the parents/guardian of the student will receive a summons to appear in circuit court pursuant to F.S. 984.151, and the parents/guardian may be subject to continued court jurisdiction, fines, probation or jail.
5. If the parent/guardian of a child who has been identified as exhibiting a pattern of nonattendance, enrolls the child
in a home education program pursuant to F.S.1002, the Superintendent of Schools shall provide the parent/guardian a copy of F.S.1002.41 and the accountability requirements of this paragraph. The Superintendent of Schools shall also refer the parent/guardian to a home education review committee composed of the district contact for home education programs and at least two (2) home educators selected by the parent/guardian from a district list of all home educators who have conducted a home education program for at least three (3) years and who have indicated a willingness to serve on the committee. The Home Education Review Committee shall review the portfolio of the student, as defined by F.S.1002.41, every 30 days during the district’s regular school terms until the committee is satisfied that the home education program is in compliance with F.S.1002.41 (1)(b). The first portfolio review must occur within the first 30 calendar days of the establishment of the program. The provisions of paragraph six (6) below do not apply once the committee determines the home education program is in compliance with F.S.1002.41 (1)(b). 15
6. If the parent/guardian fails to provide a portfolio to the committee, the committee shall notify the Superintendent of Schools. The Superintendent of Schools shall then terminate the home education program and require the parent/guardian to enroll the child in an attendance option provided under F.S.1003.01 (13), (a), (b), (c), or (e), within three (3) days. Upon termination of a home education program pursuant to this paragraph, the parent/ guardian shall not be eligible to reenroll the child in a home education program for 180 calendar days. Failure of a parent or guardian to enroll the child in an attendance option after termination of the home education program pursuant to this paragraph shall constitute noncompliance with the compulsory attendance requirements of F.S.1003.21 and may result in criminal prosecution under F.S.1003.27 (z). Nothing contained herein shall restrict the ability of the Superintendent of Schools, or the ability of his or her designee, to review the portfolio pursuant to F.S.1002.41(1)(b).
7. If a child subject to compulsory school attendance will not comply with attempts to enforce school attendance, the parent, the guardian or the Superintendent or his designee shall refer the situation to the case staffing committee (Child in Need of Services – CINS) and the Superintendent or his designee may file a Truancy Petition pursuant to the procedures in Florida Statute 984.151.
F. Truancy Pick-Up: Any child believed to be of compulsory school age of six (6) up to 18 who does not appear to be under adult supervision may be stopped, interviewed and picked-up by law enforcement officers.
G. Prolonged or Repeated Absences: When a student is absent repeatedly or for a prolonged period of time due to an illness or injury, the Principal or designee may require documentation from a physician or health care provider. If the requested documentation is not provided, the absence will be unexcused.
A student who has medically diagnosed physical or mental conditions which confine the student to home or hospital and whose activities are restricted for a period of at least 15 consecutive school days, may be eligible for homebound/
hospital services. Parents/ guardian should contact the student’s school to secure an application for these services.
A student who has been sent home with head lice
and/or nits should return to school, free of head lice and/or nits
within two (2) calendar days; absences from school during the two (2)
calendar days will be excused. For each occurrence of head lice and/or
nits, absences beyond two (2) calendar days will be unexcused
J. Elementary School Absenteeism: After review by the Integrated Services Team (IST) at each school, the Principal has the authority to retain students who have been absent 20 or more days excused and/or unexcused.
The Principal has the final authority, for the grade placement of
Any parent/guardian requesting a waiver of this policy must submit their request in writing to the school Principal along with a detailed explanation for the request. The intent of this waiver is for situations regarding absences due to medical reasons. The school Principal will evaluate each request and make a determination as to whether or not the waiver will be granted.
Course Average Flow Chart
Course Average Flow Chart
M. Make-Up Work:When a student is absent from school for school-sponsored activities or for an excused absence, the student shall be responsible for making arrangements with teachers for completing all work and assignments missed during the absence. All make-up work assigned shall be completed within three (3) days after the student returns to school unless given an extension of time by the teacher. Tests announced prior to the absence can be given on the student’s first day back to school, or at the discretion of the teacher. Assignments given prior to an absence that were due during the absence should be turned in the first day the student returns to school (see "Excused Absences"). If the teacher finds it necessary to provide an alternate test or assignment for a student who has been absent, the test or assignment shall be comparable in length, design and degree of difficulty of the test or assignment given to the other students in the class for which the student was absent.
Zeroes will be given for class work and assignments missed during anunexcused absence and may not be made up for grading purposes unless an exception is made by the Principal or designee.
Accommodations indicated on student IEP/504 Plan must be implemented.
N. Tardiness:A tardy is the absence of any student at the time attendance is taken, provided the student is in attendance before the end of class except in the case of checking in to school after the designated start time. Repeated and/or excessive incidents of tardiness may potentially result in disciplinary action.
O.Leaving School Prior to End of Day: It is required that the parent or designated adult sign the student out unless prior arrangement has been made by the parent/guardian. Repeated and/or excessive incidents of leaving school prior to the end of the day may potentially result in disciplinary action for the student. Five (5) accumulated "late to school Check-Ins" or "early Check-Outs" will equate to the student receiving one (1) unexcused absence.
Students with an IEP/504 Plan indicating a modified/shortened school day will not be marked absent.
Late to School Check-In or Early Check-Outs:
a. Students arriving after a school’s designated start time are considered late to school and will receive a "Late to School Check-In" coding.
b. Students checking out of school prior to the end of the school’s designated dismissal time will receive an "Early Check–Out" coding.
c. Five (5) accumulated "Late to School Check-Ins" or "Early Check-Outs" will equate to the student receiving one (1) unexcused absence.