LEE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
ATTENDANCE POLICY FOR 2013-2014 SCHOOL YEAR

A student will not be absent himself/herself from regular attendance at school. All parents or guardians should make every effort to notify the school when their children are absent.

1. Virginia Compulsory School Attendance Law. Every person having under his or her control a child who will have reached his/her sixth birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and who have not passed the eighteenth birthday shall send that child to school unless exempt by the proper authorities (§22.1-254). Any person violating the preceding section may be guilty of a misdemeanor (§22.1-263).

2. Virginia Truancy Law. Realizing the importance of school attendance in the education of children, the Virginia General Assembly amended the Code of Virginia in 1999 as it relates to truancy. These laws (§22.1-254,§22.1-258 and §22.1-263), apply to the Lee County Public Schools and the Lee County School Interdisciplinary Team. For the agencies represented by the truancy team, the Lee County School Board, the Lee County Department of Social Services, the Lee County Health Department, the Lee County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and the Lee County Child and Adolescent Center, the definition of truancy is as follows:

Whenever a student reaches (7) unexcused absences in a school year and school personnel have been unable to determine the reason for the absence, the student will be considered truant.

3. Lee County School Board Policy. The Lee County School Board recognizes the following reasons for determining if an absence is excused:

1. Doctor or dentist excuse.
2. Death in the family or funeral.
3. Court appearance.
4. School sponsored activities.
5. Religious holiday.
6. Illness.
(A parent can excuse a student for an absence due to illness for up to (6) days per year. After exceeding six (6) days absence for illness, the student must provide a doctor’s excuse to continue to qualify for an excused absence.)
7. Late bus.
8. Principal excuse.
(A student and parent/guardian may request an excused absence for extraordinary circumstances or events which may occur in a student’s life. The student and parent/guardian should present documented information as to the nature of the circumstances or events. The principal then has the discretion to declare such absence(s) as excused based on the information presented.)

Excuses are to be turned in within three (3) days of returning to school. All assignments or tests missed due to excused absences may be made up or completed. Grades or credits may be affected if work is not completed, even if the absence is excused. If the absence is excused and the student has completed all work, the teacher will not penalize the student for the absence. It is the responsibility of the student to request make-up work from the teacher within three (3) days after returning to class. The parent/guardian may make the request for the student. The make-up work presented by the teacher will be completed according to the teacher’s requirements and instruction. The length of time given to complete make-up work is a minimum of three school days. It is at the discretion of the teacher based on the length of the absence and the assignments to be completed if additional time is allowed for make-up work. Make-up work will also be allowed for the first five cumulative days of out-of-school suspension. There will be no make-up work allowed for any out-of-school suspension after five days. All other absences will be unexcused. Class work or tests missed due to unexcused absences are not to be made up, and a grade of “0” will be given for the missed work.

School and class tardies will not be tolerated and will be considered to be a form of truancy and serious misconduct subject to punishment. Tardies, as well as, early dismissals from school, may result in application of the attendance law. With regards to early dismissals, principals shall not release a student during the school day to any person not authorized by the student’s parent/guardian.

Believing that school attendance is directly related to academic achievement, and that attendance in school is also relevant to the formation of good work habits in young people, the Lee County School Board directs that pupils not be promoted or receive class credit if absenteeism exceeds thirteen (13) days for the academic year, unless the work required by the course is completed.