The Effingham County Board of Education believes that every child of school attendance age should attend school on a regular basis in order to maximize his/her educational opportunities. Students who are absent from school may never regain some of the experiences which take place during their absences.
It is the intent of the Board of Education that the Georgia Compulsory School Attendance Law is followed. Every student shall be in attendance each of the scheduled days for the full-length of the school day. Arriving late or departing early from school are in violation of the Georgia Compulsory School Attendance Law (O.C.G.A. 2-2-690.1). Consequences are set forth in procedures Late Arrival/Early Departure as defined in the Student Handbook.
1. Excused absences are those absences due to the following:
Personal illness and whose attendance may be detrimental to the health of themselves or others.
Illness or death in the immediate family.
Special and recognized religious holidays observed by their faith.
Mandated by the order of a governmental agency (such as jury duty or physical exam for the armed services).
- A student whose parent or legal guardian is in military service in the U.S. armed forces or National Guard and such parent has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting will be granted up to 5 days of excused absences per school year to visit with his or her parent prior to the parent's deployment or during the parent's leave.
2. O.C.G.A. 20-2-692 and § 20-2-692.2 require students to be counted present when absent for the following:
a. Students serving as Page to the Georgia General Assembly.
b. Students in foster care shall be counted present when they attend court proceedings related to their foster care.
Appropriate documentation of the absence must be provided by the Georgia General Assembly or court official.
3. Unexcused absences are all other absences, which are not defined as excused. (This includes all suspended days. School principals shall determine whether circumstances warrant the granting of make-up work for suspensions or other unexcused absences.
Absences shall be governed by the following provisions:
Students who expect to be absent from school for ten (10) consecutive days for medical reasons or who have a chronic illness should see the school teacher, counselor, or administrator to make application for the Hospital Homebound program as soon as there is an expectation of such consecutive absences.
Students who are absent from school should bring a written, signed excuse from the student's parent/or guardian for the absence on their first day back to school. A student cannot excuse his or her own absence. Excuses that are received after the third day back to school shall not be accepted and the absence shall be considered as unexcused.
Students in grades 9-12 who have more than five (5) unexcused absences from a semester long course will not earn the unit credit for the course under the provisions of 4 x 4 Block Scheduling.
Students in grades 9-12 who for any reason have more than ten (10) absences from a semester long course shall not earn the unit credit for the course under the provisions of 4 x 4 Block Scheduling; however, a student that has more than ten (10) absences from a semester long course, of which no more than five (5) are unexcused, and has a passing grade in said course may appeal the denial of the credit to the school principal. Appeals shall be made no more than three days after the issuance of the first or second semester report card, whichever is appropriate. In such case, the school principal shall administer a comprehensive examination to the student to determine if the student has mastered the required objectives of the course. If the student masters seventy percent (70%) of the objectives then the credit for the course shall be awarded.
Students in grades K-8 who have more than seven (7) unexcused absences from school will not be promoted to the next higher grade.
Students in grades K-8 who for any reason have more than fourteen (14) absences from school shall not be promoted to the next higher grade. However, a student who has more than fourteen (14) absences from school, of which no more than seven (7) are unexcused, and would have normally been promoted to the next higher grade may appeal the denial of promotion to the school principal. Appeals shall be made no more than three days after the issuance of the final report card. In such case, the school principal or designee shall administer a comprehensive examination to the student to determine if the student has mastered the required objectives of the subjects taught in that grade. If the student masters seventy percent (70%) of the objectives then the student shall be promoted to the next higher grade.
Students who have been enrolled in an Effingham County School for only a portion of the school year as well as students who may be enrolled in courses that are scheduled for less than a full semester shall have attendance requirements and rules appropriately prorated.
The Effingham County School System will notify the parent, guardian, or other person who has charge of the student when the student has accumulated 5 unexcused absences. The notice will be sent via the student and will outline the possible penalty and consequences of such absences and that each subsequent absence will constitute a separate offense. If the parent returns the first notification acknowledgement signed, no further letters need to be sent. After one week with no response a second notification will be sent via the student. If the parent returns the letter with acknowledgement signed, no further letters need to be sent. After a week with no response a third letter will be sent by certified mail return receipt requested.
- School principals shall determine whether circumstances warrant the granting of make-up work for suspensions or other unexcused absences.
A School Hardship Committee shall be established at each school to hear appeals for waivers of the attendance policy from students who have exceeded the maximum number of allowable absences. Appeals may be heard only in hardship cases and only students who have a bona fide hardship should initiate an appeal. All appeals shall be made to the school principal as soon as the student knows that a hardship exists. In no event shall an appeal be made more than three (3) days after the issuance of the final report card. The written appeal to the principal shall include a statement of the hardship and any available evidence to support the validity of the hardship. The School Hardship Committee shall be composed of the following:
a. School Principal or designee
b. School Guidance Counselor (appointed by the principal)
c. County Attendance Officer (if requested by the principal)
d. Two teachers (appointed by the principal)
The Hardship Committee may grant a waiver to the attendance policy if it deems the student's absences to be beyond the control of the student and the result of some extreme hardship such as severe chronic health problems or a family crisis, as documented by physician's notes. If the student has unexcused absences during the time period for which he or she is seeking waiver of the attendance, the likelihood of the hardship committee granting a waiver and restoration of credit is greatly diminished. The Hardship Committee shall make every effort to maintain the intent and purpose of the attendance policy while making allowances for bona fide hardships, which may affect the future well being of the students. If the student or his/her parent/guardian disagrees with the decision of the Hardship Committee then he/she may appeal that decision to the local Board of Education for a final ruling. This appeal shall be limited to the record before the Hardship Committee and the role of the board shall only be to determine if the committee has followed the policy and insure that the committee has not acted arbitrarily or illegally discriminated against a student.