This includes what every parent should know about school attendance and the law. North Carolina law requires all children who are enrolled in Kindergarten through 12th grade to attend school on a regular basis. When a child misses a day of school the parent/guardian must notify the homeroom teacher in writing (via note, email or Dojo message) within three days of the absence.
TYPES OF ABSENCES
There are two types of absences: excused (lawful) and unexcused (unlawful). An absence must fall into one of the following eight categories to be excused:
1. Illness or Injury: The student is physically unable to attend school due to an illness or injury.
2. Quarantine: The isolation of the student ordered by the health department/board of health or medical physician.
3. Death in the Family: The death of an immediate family member such as parents, siblings or grandparents.
4. Medical/Dental Appointment: Not for routine hour-long appointments, but for extensive appointments involving medical procedures.
5. Court: The child must be present for court proceedings or an administrative hearing.
6. Religious Observation: The tenets of a religion to which a student and his/her parents adhere, require or suggest observance of a religious event.
7. Educational Opportunity: The purpose of the absence is to take advantage of a valid educational opportunity such as travel by the student. An educational opportunity form is required for prior approval by the principal. A student report must be turned in within five days of the last absence.
8. Military Deployment or Reunification: A student whose parent or legal guardian (a) is an active duty member of the uniformed services as defined by policy 4050, Children of Military Families, and (b) has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting will be granted up to five additional excused absences upon approval by the superintendent or designee to visit with his or her parent or legal guardian.
FROM THE SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER
The school social worker will contact you by letter, phone or home visit when your child has reached at least three (3) unexcused absences or ten (10) excused absences.
REQUIRED BY LAW
The social worker will send out three contact letters for unexcused absences.
1. The first letter is for three unexcused absences. These absences received a code of unexcused because a note was not received from the parent stating one of the eight valid absence reasons.
2. The second letter is sent home for six unexcused absences. These absences have accumulated from the beginning of the student’s school year. This letter is signed by the principal.
3. The third letter is for 10 unexcused absences. This letter notifies the parent of a conference with school personnel. This meeting is an effort to resolve the attendance concerns before punitive action.
AFTER THE TEN DAY LETTER
If attendance concerns continue after the 10-day meeting, then the social worker may proceed to the following actions:
1. Truancy Mediation Council. The social worker will request for a formal mediation at the Cumberland County courthouse The parent/guardian will meet with school personnel, social services, court representatives, juvenile services, mental health counselors and any agencies involved with the student. This will give all parties a chance to discuss the situation and come to a mutually satisfactory solution.
2. District Court. The social worker may elect to proceed with court action. This action brings all parties in front of a judge to discuss the noncompliance with the compulsory attendance law. This could result in jail time as well as fines.
EXCESSIVE EXCUSED ABSENCES
Students accumulating 10 excused absences are sent a letter of Excessive Excused Absences. A physician’s note will be required for all future absences. Failure to provide a physician’s note will result in the absence being coded unexcused. Parents/guardians may submit a letter from a physician stating that the student has a chronic illness that will cause the student to be absent more than 10 days in a school year.
It is the student’s responsibility to make up missed classroom assignments within five days of returning to school. Please contact your teachers immediately.
CONTACT YOUR SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER
Your school social worker will assist your family in overcoming any barriers that may be keeping your child from coming to school. Address issues early, so the school year will be successful for your child and family!
Keep track of your child’s attendance by accessing the parent portal at Parent Home Base Portal.
You will receive sign-in information from your child’s homeroom teacher.
The school social worker monitors attendance for all students. The school social worker will contact you by letter, phone, ClassDojo, or home visit as needed to address attendance concerns. The school social worker will assist your family in overcoming any barriers that may be keeping your child from coming to school. Address issues early, so the school year will be successful for your child and family! If you have any questions about attendance, please feel free to contact Ashley Garrett, our school social worker at 910-424-3945, and she will be happy to answer any questions.