Annual Notice Regarding Attendance Requirements in Alabama
Alabama law (Title 16-28-3, code of Alabama, 1975) requires all children between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17) years of age to attend a public school, private school, church school or to be instructed by a competent private tutor for the entire length of the school term in every scholastic year except that, prior to the attaining his or her 16th birthday every child attending a church school as defined in Section 16-28-1 is exempt from the requirements of this section, provided such child complies with enrollment and reporting procedure specified in Section 16-28-7. Admission to public school shall be on an individual basis on the application of the parents, legal custodian, or guardian of the child to the local board of education at the beginning of each school year, under such rules and regulations as the board may prescribe. The parent, legal custodian, or guardian of a child who is six years of age, may opt out of enrolling their child in school at the age of six years by notifying the local school board of education, in writing, that the child will not be enrolled in school until he or she is seven years of age. (School Code 1927, §310; Code 1940, T. 52, §307; Acts 1982, No. 82-218, p. 260, §6.)
All laws regarding school attendance shall be strictly enforced by the Trussville City Board of Education. All students must attend school or must be instructed privately unless the student is granted a certificate of exemption by the superintendent of the Trussville City Board of Education as follows:
- A person whose physical or mental condition prevents attendance or makes attendance inadvisable due to the severity of the physical or mental condition. Such physical or mental conditions must be certified by the county health officer or a licensed practicing physician in the State of Alabama;
- A person who has completed the course of study of the public schools of the states as now constituted; or
- A person who is legally and regularly employed under the provisions of child labor laws and who holds a permit to work under the terms of applicable child labor laws.
Alabama law (Title 16-28-12, Code of Alabama, 1975) as amended states that each parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of any child required to attend school or to be regularly instructed by a private tutor, or who fails to send such child to school or have him or her instructed by a private tutor during the time such child is required to attend a public school, private school, denominational or parochial school, or be instructed by a private tutor, or fails to compel the child to properly conduct himself or herself as a pupil in accordance with the written policy of school behavior adopted by the Board of Education and documented by the appropriate school officials which conduct may result in the suspension of the pupil, shall be reported by the principal to the superintendent of education of the Board of Education. The superintendent of education or his or her designee shall report such suspected violations to the district attorney within ten (10) school days. The district attorney shall vigorously enforce this section (Code of Alabama 16-28-12, 1975) to ensure proper conduct and required attendance by any child enrolled in public school. In 2000, an amendment was signed by the governor stating that any child enrolled in a public school would be subject to the attendance laws regardless of age.
2. School Absences.
The Board of Education acknowledges that regular school attendance is imperative to each child's learning and educational progress. According to state code, students must attend school 50.99% of the school day to be counted present. (See school attendance clerk for bell schedule cut off times regarding check ins and check outs). Each student is expected to attend school every day school is in session. However, the Board of Education recognizes that absence from school may occasionally be necessary, but absences from school shall only be allowed for good and justifiable reasons. Every student who is absent from school must present to the principal or their designee a written explanation for the absence within three (3) school days upon the student's return to school. Any student that accumulates 6 parent excuses within a school year must provide a physician's excuse for additional absences to be excused, or the absence will be unexcused.
A parent may request from the principal permission for a student to be absent prior to the date of the absence for justifiable reasons as follows:
- Student illness, physician or dental appointment;
- Inclement weather which makes it dangerous for students to attend school as determined the superintendent of education regarding emergency closings;
- Legal quarantine;
- Death in the immediate family (obituary notice from local paper may be required);
- Emergency condition as determined by the principal or superintendent of education;
- Absence to observe traditional religious holidays, of a local, national or international origin when written verification is received by the student's minister or religious leader.
The principal will have the opportunity to review any written permission request or the written explanation for the absence to determine whether the absence shall be excused or unexcused. Any absence not falling into one of the categories listed above, specific to an individual school, or otherwise excused by the principal or the superintendent or his or her designees will be unexcused.
All excuses must be original. No faxed or scanned copies will be accepted unless it is sent from the agency providing the excuse. All excuses must be legitimate instances of services provided to a student (i.e. physician treatment). Falsifying and/or forging excuses is punishable through Jefferson County Family Court.
3. College Visits for Juniors and Seniors
Approval for excused absences for qualified college visits must be obtained from the principal in advance of the visit. No more than two excused absences for college visits by seniors will be given for scholarship interviews or other college related visits that cannot be scheduled outside of the school session. No more than three excused absences for college visits by juniors will be given for scholarship interviews or other college related visits that cannot be scheduled outside of the school session. More than one college visit in the same week is not permitted. Upon returning to school, student must present proof of college visit from an admissions official. Military processing and testing will be excused as well upon prior approval from a counselor.
4. Make up Work.
A student, with less than 10 unexcused absences, shall have the opportunity to make up assignments or examinations that occurred during an absence. Makeup work should be completed as soon as possible, generally allowing two days for each day's absence. It shall be the responsibility of the student or student's parent/guardian to arrange with each teacher what, when and where to make up any missed assignments or examinations due to the absence. A teacher or principal may require the student to make up missed assignments or examinations after school hours. In this event, advance notice will be given to the student to allow for personal transportation to be arranged. It is the student's and parent's/guardian's responsibility to make arrangements for, and to ensure that all assignments and examinations are completed within a reasonable timeframe. If a student is absent from school for more than three (3) consecutive school days, arrangements should be made by the student or parent/guardian to pick-up any assignments, books or other necessary materials to complete the assignments. A timeframe for makeup work due to extended absences must be approved by the principal or his/her designee. These assignments should be returned to the school within the time period approved by the principal or his/her designee.
5. Excessive Absences/and or Tardies may result in placement in Alternative School or Saturday School.
Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children are regular in school attendance and arrive to school on time (Refer to each school's Student Handbook and Class I for consequences regarding tardies). Any student who accumulates excessive absences in any course may not receive credit for that particular course. A parent may provide an excuse for 6 absences within one school year (August- May). These parent excuses may only cover one full day absence from school per excuse.
EXAMPLE SCENARIOS FOR PARENT EXCUSES
2 full day absences = 2 parent excuses in one school year
5 full day absences= 5 parent excuses in one school year
Any student that accumulates 6 parent excuses within a school year must provide a physician's excuse for additional absences to be excused. Those excuses referenced in #2 of this section may be considered by the school principal providing documentation is submitted verifying the absence within 3 days of the absence.
A student may not exceed a total of nine (9) unexcused absences in a semester or a total of eighteen (18) unexcused absences per academic year. If the maximum number of unexcused absences is exceeded, credit for that course may only be allowed if the superintendent of education or his or her designee in consultation with the school principal approves it. The superintendent of education or his or her designee in consultation with the school principal may require additional documentation relating to the absences and may require the student or parent/guardian to make arrangements, at the student's or parent/guardian's expense, for alternative educational instruction through a Board of Education recognized program. All decisions of the superintendent of education or his or her designee shall be final.
Parents will be notified in writing via U.S. mail to the last known address on file at the school when students have excessive absences. Additionally, parents are encouraged to monitor their child's attendance and tardiness through the Student Information System. Contact the local school for additional information regarding the Student Information System. Parents are encouraged to make all dental, medical or other appointments for their child after regular school hours, on Saturday or when school is not in session. Additionally, parents are encouraged to schedule family vacations when school is not in session. Absences due to vacation will be recorded as unexcused if you have exhausted your 6 parent excuses for the school year.
6. Truancy Intervention Program.
Truancy Definition, excerpted from the State Superintendent of Education Advisory Committee Recommended Policies and Procedures for Court/School Truancy Programs:
A parent, guardian, or other person having charge of any child officially enrolled in Alabama public schools (K-12) shall explain in writing the cause of any and every absence of the child no later than three (3) days following return to school. A failure to furnish such explanation shall be evidence of the child being truant each day he/she is absent. A child shall also be deemed truant for any absence determined by the principal to be unexcused based upon the State Department of Education's current School Attendance Manual.
The Trussville City Board of Education, the local school and the City of Trussville Municipal Judge participate in a joint effort to provide a Truancy Intervention Program for students with excessive absences. This program is designed to inform parents of student absences, improve school attendance, reduce instances of truancy, and to provide parents and students with information relative to the Alabama Compulsory School Attendance Law. All students, grades kindergarten through twelfth, are subject to the Truancy Intervention Program and the provisions of the Alabama Compulsory School Attendance Law. Accordingly, after a student has seven (7) unexcused absences, they will be referred to the Truancy Intervention Program. A student may only be referred one (1) time to the Truancy Intervention Program. After a student has been referred to the Truancy Intervention Program with the City of Trussville Municipal Judge, the next step is to file a formal complaint for truancy or educational neglect.
Student drivers, under the age of 19 years, with fifteen (15) or more unexcused absences in a school year will be reported to the Department of Public Safety for license revocation. ''The Department of Public Safety shall deny a driver's license or a learner's license for the operation of a motor vehicle to any person under the age of 19 who does not, at the time of application, present a diploma or other certificate of graduation issued to the person from a secondary high school of this state, or any other state, or documentation that the person: (1) is enrolled and making satisfactory progress in a course leading to a general educational development certificate (GED) from a state approved institution or organization, or has obtained the certificate; (2) is enrolled in a secondary school of this state or any other state; (3) is participating in a job training program approved by the State Superintendent of Education; (4) is gainfully and substantially employed; (5) is a parent with the care and custody of a minor or unborn child; (6) has a physician certify that the parents of the person depend on him or her as their sole source of transportation; or (7) is exempted from this requirement due to circumstances beyond his or her control as provided in this chapter.'' Ala. Code §16-28-40 (1975)
The Trussville City Schools District serves approximately 4,100 students in its schools. Students are assigned to schools based on attendance zones. A student may only attend a school other than his/her zoned school if he/she is eligible for a transfer according to the Trussville City Board of Education Policy Manual. Transfers must be applied for, and applications and release submitted to the Director of Student Services no later than June 1 for the fall term of any school year. Transfer requests shall be determined in strict accordance with the guidelines and orders of the United States District Court (May 2, 2005) and Separation Agreement between the Trussville City Board of Education and the Jefferson County Board of Education (April 15, 2005). Proof of residence is required for all students . Questions regarding residence may be directed to the Director of Student Services. Transfer applications are available on the Trussville City Schools web site, and at the Board of Education. Trussville City Schools adheres to the McKinney-Vento Act regarding homeless status.