Issued Date: 9/27/18
Original Issued: 11/01/95
Kindergarten through Grade Twelve
The Warren County Board of Education believes that attendance is a key factor in student achievement. Students are expected to be present and punctual each day that school is in session.
The Director of Attendance shall oversee the entire attendance program, which shall include1:
• All accounting and reporting procedures and their dissemination;
• Alternative program options for students who severely fail to meet minimum attendance requirements;
• Ensuring that all school age children attend school;
• Providing documentation of enrollment status upon request for students applying for new or reinstatement of driver’s permit or license; and
• Notifying the Tennessee Department of Safety whenever a student with a driver’s permit or license withdraws from school or fails to meet the minimum requirements prescribed by law.2
The principal shall be responsible for ensuring that:
• Attendance is checked and reported daily for each class;
• Daily absentee sheets contain sign in/sign out sheets and indicate students present or absent for the majority of the day;
• All student’s absences are verified;
• Written excuses are submitted for absences and tardiness; If necessary, verification is required from an official or other source to justify absences;
• System-wide procedures for accounting and reporting are followed.
Student attendance records shall be given the same level of confidentiality as other student records. Only authorized school officials with legitimate educational purposes may have access to student information without the consent of the student or parent/guardian except as otherwise required or permitted by law for purposes of reporting truancy.3
Absences shall be classified as either excused or unexcused as determined by the principal or his/her designee in grades K-12.
Excused Absences (K-12)4
1. Personal Illness/Injury/Hospitalization
A note from the student's parent or guardian shall be required upon the student's returning to school. The note should include the reason(s) for and the date(s) of the absence(s). Upon returning to school, a student has three (3) school days in which to submit a note. After the time period has elapsed, the absence(s) shall become unexcused.
The school may accept a written note from a parent or guardian verifying a student’s illness for up to a total of five (5) accumulated days during the school year. However, if a student is absent due to his or her personal illness for more than a total of five (5) accumulated days, a doctor's note specifying inclusive dates for the illness must be submitted in order for any subsequent illness-related absences to be excused. The Principal of the school has the right to accept or deny parent or guardian notes over the five-day limit.
2. Illness of Immediate Family Member
A doctor's statement may be required after three (3) days.
In the family - - One day will be excused. Additional days will be excused at the discretion of the principal/designee.
Of others - - The principal/designee may approve as an excused absence with appropriate documentation.
4. Dental, Medical, and Counseling Appointments
We strongly urge that these appointments be scheduled after school. However, if these appointments are during school hours, a doctor's or counselor's verification will be required, and reasonable travel time to and from the office will be allowed. Full days for dental and medical appointments will rarely be excused.
5. Extreme Weather Conditions
6. Religious Observances5
Any student who misses a class or day of school because of the observance of a day set aside as sacred by a recognized religious denomination of which the student is a member or adherent, where such religion calls for a special observance of such day, shall have the absence from that school day or class excused and shall be entitled to make up any school work missed without the imposition of any penalty because of the absence.
7. Required Court Appearance
Written verification of the student's required appearance and the time involved must be submitted upon the student's returning to school. These excuses must be obtained in the clerk's office of that particular court. The office closes at 4:00 p.m.
8. Extenuating Circumstances
A student's absence due to circumstances, which, in the judgment of the principal, constitute good and sufficient cause of absence from school, may be excused with proper documentation.
9. Visitation with a parent or legal custodian upon deployment, return and leave11
If a student’s parent or legal guardian is a member of the United States armed forces, including a member of a state national guard or a reserve component called to federal active duty, the principal shall give the student:
i. An excused absence for one (1) day when the member is deployed;
ii. An additional excused absence for one (1) day when the service member returns from deployment;
iii. Excused absences for up to ten (10) days for visitation when the member is granted rest and recuperation leave and is stationed out of the country; and
iv. Excused absences for up to ten (10) days cumulatively within the school year for visitation during the member’s deployment cycle. The student shall provide documentation to the school as proof of the service member’s deployment.11
10. Period of Hospital or Homebound Instruction- If a student is unable to attend regular classes because of illness, injury or pregnancy and if the student has participated in a program of hospital or homebound instruction administered or approved by the LEA, then the student is excused from the regular classroom during the period of the hospital or homebound instruction.
Please contact the homebound coordinator to inquire as to eligibility and procedures for homebound at Warren County Schools Central Office (931) 668-4022 ext. 230.
Procedure for Principal Excused Absences
A principal may excuse a student from school attendance to participate in a non-school sponsored extracurricular activity if the following conditions are met:
i. The student provides documentation to the school as proof of the student’s participation in the non-school-sponsored extracurricular activity; and
ii. The student’s parent, custodian, or other person with legal custody or control of the student, prior to the extracurricular activity, submits to the principal or the principal’s designee a written request for the excused absence. The written request shall be submitted no later than seven (7) business days prior to the student’s absence.
iii. The principal or principal’s designee approves, in writing, the student’s participation in the non-school sponsored extracurricular activity.
The principal may limit the number and duration of the non-school sponsored extra-curricular activities for which excused absences may be grated to a student during the school year. Principal excused absences are limited to no more than ten (10) absences per student per school year. 3
Documenting Excused Absences
All students are required to turn in to their teacher or the attendance secretary at the school any note from a doctor, health official, funeral director, etc. in order for the absence to be considered excused. Any discrepancy will be decided by the Director of Attendance and/or the Principal of the school.
Unexcused Absences (K-12)
An unexcused absence from any class, study hall, or any activity during the school day for which the student is scheduled constitutes truancy. Any absence without written documentation is automatically unexcused. Teachers are not required to furnish make-up work opportunities for students when their absence is unexcused.
Out-of-school suspension days are unexcused, but excused for the purpose of completing all assigned work or tests recorded for students not absent on those days.
State Mandated Tests/End of Course Exams
Students who are absent the date of a scheduled state mandated test must complete said test upon return to school if within the state testing window. Students who do not complete the scheduled state mandated test shall receive a zero on the state mandated test which shall be averaged into their final grade.
Procedures for Making-Up Work Missed Due to Absence
If an absence is excused, the academic work missed may be made up within five (5) days of returning to school from the excused absence. It is the sole responsibility of the student to consult with a teacher whose class he/she has missed to determine what make-up work is necessary. The teacher is not responsible for asking a student for such work. Failure of the student to initiate a request for make-up work will result in a lost opportunity for credit for missed work.
In cases of prolonged illness, teachers will set a reasonable time limit for the completion of the work.
School Sponsored/ Activities (Student counted as present)6
Students participating in school sponsored activities whether on or off campus shall not be counted absent. Whenever possible, students should request make-up work before missing class for school sponsored activities. In order to qualify as “school sponsored,” the activity must be school-planned, school directed, and teacher supervised. Mass exodus or early dismissal or late arrival of all students or any segment of students shall not be permitted for any reason except for emergencies such as inclement weather or other unavoidable situations, unless instruction time is made up in full.
Student Pages Students serving as pages for the general assembly during the school year may be granted excused absences for day or days missed while serving as pages. Approval or disapproval shall be at the discretion of the principal of the school in which they are enrolled. If the absences are approved, the student shall be credited as present.6
School Related Activities including college visits (Student may be counted as excused/absent)
School related activities are those activities which are associated with the school but are not school sponsored activities by definition and are approved activities (i.e. 4-H, Youth Leadership, etc.). For high school students, college visits may be considered school related activities as set out in the high school student handbook.
School Related Activities-Students involved in school related activities may obtain an excused absence at Principal’s discretion by following the procedure for Principal Excused absences.
Postsecondary school visits Postsecondary school visits may be beneficial to a student’s understanding of and preparation for postsecondary opportunities. However, such visits are not required of any student. Parents and guardians have the sole responsibility for facilitating school visits and ensuring the safety of students during the visit. High school students participating in postsecondary school visits may be counted present on the day of the postsecondary visit if the following conditions are met;
a) Prior specific notice is given by the parent or guardian;
b) Documentation from the postsecondary school is provided within 3 days of student’s return to school; and
c) Students complete all assigned school worked missed during the day of the visit.
Only the day of the postsecondary visit may be counted as present. Students will not be counted present during travel and/or other associated days. Postsecondary school visits are limited to high school students who may counted present for no more than six (6) visit days per school year.
Being on time to school and class is essential for optimum teaching, learning, and earning promotion to the next grade. When a student is tardy, he/she disrupts this process for others and loses important learning time for himself/herself. School bus transportation is provided free of charge to students of Warren County. For this reason, tardies related to car problems, traffic, oversleeping, etc., are not valid reasons for tardiness. To receive an excused tardy when late to school, the student must have either:
a) A doctor's statement
b) An official court notice
c) A parent with student or a telephone call from the parent and approval by
Administration. (Personal illness will be excused.)
Students accumulating five (5) unexcused days absent due to tardies (which also includes early release before the close of a school day) will be turned in by name as truant to the Director of Attendance who will notify the parent in writing of their unlawful absence from school.
To be eligible for perfect attendance, a student must be in attendance for a length of time equal to the state's minimum hourly requirement for a school day and be considered “present” for the day. To have perfect attendance a student’s attendance record must indicate that the actual days absent at year’s end is .49 or below or less than 210 minutes away from school for the entire year. Students who sign in late and check out early will accumulate time and when this time reaches 211 minutes the student will be considered absent one day.
Please see the High School Handbook for High School Perfect Attendance Policy
Students that have a perfect attendance record for thirteen years will be awarded a plaque from the Director of Schools and the Board of School Commissioners.
Credit/promotion denial determinations may include student attendance. However, student attendance may not be the sole criterion.12 If attendance is a factor, prior to credit/promotion denial, the following shall occur:
1. Parents and students shall be advised if a student is in danger of credit/promotion denial due to excessive absenteeism.
2. Procedures in due process are available to the student when credit or promotion is denied.
Annually, the Director of Schools or designee shall provide written notice to parent(s) or guardian(s) that attendance at school is required by law.
Students shall be present at least fifty percent (50%) of the scheduled school day in order to be counted present. Students receiving special education services may attend part-time days, alternating days, or for a specific amount of time as indicated in their Individualized Education Plan and shall be considered present for school attendance purposes. 8
If a student is required to participate in a remedial instruction program outside of the regular school day where there is no cost to the parent(s) and the school system provides transportation, unexcused absences from these programs shall be reported in the same manner.9
Students who are absent three (3) days without adequate excuse shall be reported to the director of schools/ designee who will, in turn, provide written notice to the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student’s absence. If a parent does not provide documentation excusing the absence within three days of return to school or request an attendance hearing, then the Director of Schools shall implement the progressive truancy intervention plan described below prior to referral to juvenile court.
Progressive Truancy Intervention Plan10
Students with three (3) unexcused absences shall be subject to the progressive truancy intervention framework outlined below.
1. A conference with the student and the student’s parent/guardian;
2. An attendance contract, based on the conference, signed by the student, the parent/guardian, and an attendance officer. The contract shall include:
a. A specific description of the school’s attendance expectations for the student;
b. The period for which the contract is effective; and
c. Penalties for additional absences and alleged school offenses, including additional disciplinary action and potential referral to juvenile court; and
3. Regularly scheduled follow-up meetings to discuss the student’s progress.
If the student accumulates additional unexcused absences in violation of the attendance contract, he/she shall be subject to the additional intervention tiers.
An individualized assessment by a school employee of the reasons a student has been absent from school. This may result in referral to counseling, community-based services or other services to address the student’s attendance problems. Students will be considered in Tier II after the 4th unexcused absence or violation of Tier I attendance contract.
A more intensive individualized assessment by a school employee of the reasons a student has been absent from school. Students in Tier III will be referred to Truancy Board. The Truancy Review board shall consist of the Director of Attendance, Youth Services Officer(s), and a representative from the Department of Children Services.
This review board shall be a fact finding and problem solving session for the student. Each parent is welcomed at this meeting but one parent/guardian must attend this meeting with the student.
Attendance Tier III students may also be referred to counseling, community-based services or other services to address the student’s attendance problems in an age appropriate manner. Students will be considered in Tier III after the 5th unexcused absence or violation of Tier I attendance contract.
Failure to attend Truancy Board and/or participate in other services, or additional unexcused absences after entering Tier III will constitute evidence that the student’s parent/guardian is unwilling to cooperate in the progressive truancy intervention plan and that the plan has been unsuccessful to meaningfully address the student’s school attendance. Failure of the Tier III plan will result in issuance of a citation to Juvenile Court. The Court will be provided a report of all interventions that have been provided to support the student.
Students with excessive (more than 5) unexcused absences or those in danger of credit/promotion denial shall have the opportunity to appeal to an attendance hearing committee appointed by the principal. If the student chooses to appeal, the student or his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) shall be provided written or actual notice of the appeal hearing and shall be given the opportunity to address the committee. The committee will conduct a hearing to determine if any extenuating circumstances exist or to determine if the student has met attendance requirements that will allow him/her to pass the course or be promoted. Upon notification of the attendance committee decision, the principal shall send written notification to the director of schools/designee and the parent(s)/guardian(s) of any action taken regarding the excessive unexcused absences. The notification shall advise parents/guardian(s) of their right to appeal such action within two(2) school days to the director of schools/designee.
The appeal shall be heard no later than ten (10) school days after the request for appeal is received.
Within five (5) school days of the director of schools/designee rendering a decision, the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) may request a hearing by the board, and the board shall review the record. Following the review, the board may affirm or overturn the decision of the director of schools/designee. The action of the board shall be final.
The director of schools/designee shall ensure that this policy is posted in each school building and disseminated to all students, parents, teachers, and administrative staff.
Noncompliance with State of Tennessee Driver’s License Law2
Any student missing ten (10) consecutive or fifteen (15) total unexcused days of school during any semester or fails to pass three full units subjects in a single semester renders himself/herself ineligible to retain or receive a driver’s license if of such age. The Director of Attendance shall be responsible for notifying in writing the Director of Schools and the parent/guardian of the student and the Department of Safety of any action taken by the school.
The Warren County Schools Disciplinary Board will offer any student in violation of Driver’s License law the right to appeal in writing the suspension or revocation of the student’s driver’s license. This board will determine if any extenuating circumstances exist or verify that the student has all requirements that will allow him/her to retain or obtain the driver’s permit or license.
Any administrative decision regarding attendance may be appealed initially to the Director of Schools and ultimately to the board. The appeal shall be made in writing to the Director or Schools within five (5) school days following the action or the report of the action, whichever is later.
In order to qualify for reclaiming a driver’s permit or license the student must attend school as prescribed by law and make a passing grade in at least three (3) full unit subjects or their equivalency at the conclusion of a subsequent grading period.
1 TCA 49-6-3001 et seq
2 TCA 49-6-3019
3 State Board of Education School Attendance Policy 4.100
4 TCA 49-6-3018
Compulsory Attendance Ages
Children between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17) years, both inclusive, must attend a public or private school. However, children less than six (6) years old and the child’s parent, guardian or other person having control of the child, are also subject to compulsory attendance when the child has been enrolled in a public school; provided, that a child may be withdrawn within six (6) weeks of initial enrollment without penalty.
Any parent, guardian, or other person who has control of a child, and who violates compulsory attendance laws commits educational neglect, which is a Class C misdemeanor. Each day’s unlawful absence constitutes a separate offense. 14
Application for Deferral in Required Attendance
A parent/guardian who believes that their child is not ready to attend school at the designated age of mandatory attendance may make application to the principal of the public school, which the child would attend for a one (1) semester or one-year deferral in required attendance. Any such deferral shall be reported to the Director of Schools by the principal. Under certain circumstances the Board may temporarily excuse students from complying with the provisions of the compulsory attendance law.
Age Requirements for Kindergarten and Pre-K
Any child residing within the state, five (5) years of age on or before August 15 of the current school year, who makes application for admission, shall be enrolled in the school designated by the Board.
Please see Voluntary Pre-K Attendance Policy JBA for attendance requirements,
A child entering kindergarten shall be no less than five (5) years of age on or before August 15 of the current school term. No child shall be eligible to enter first grade without having attended an approved kindergarten program.
A child entering a special education program shall be no less than three (3) years of age, except as authorized through a contractual arrangement with early intervention agencies.
A person eighteen (18) years of age or older who applies for admission must have the application approved by the Principal and Director of Schools when:
1. He/She fails to enroll within thirty (30) calendar days after school officially starts or
2. He/She has dropped out of school and wants to re-enter.
The compulsory attendance law shall not apply to the following:
1. The student who has received a diploma or other certificate of graduation;
2. A student who is enrolled and making satisfactory progress in a course leading to a GED from a state approved institution or organization, or who has obtained such certificate. Any institution or organization which enrolls a child who is under eighteen (18) years of age shall provide a report to the local board of education at least three (3) times each year relative to the progress of all such persons under eighteen (18) years of age. If the local board of education determines any child under eighteen (18) years of age is not making satisfactory progress, then such child shall be subject to the compulsory attendance law of the State of Tennessee and required to enroll in a public or non-public school; or
3. A student enrolled in a home school that has reached the age of seventeen (17).
1. TRR/MS 0520-01-03-.08(1)(a0 TCA 49-6-3006
2. TCA 49-6-3107©
3. TCA 10-7-504; 20 USCA S1232g
4. TRR/MS 0520-01-02-17(10(c0
5. TRR/MS 0520-01-03(15); TCA 49-6-2904(b)(5)
6. TN Department of Education, State Membership and Attendance Procedures Manual (2017)
7. TN Department of Education, State Membership and Attendance Procedures Manual (2017), TCA 49-6-3007; Public Acts of 2017, Chapter No. 379
8. TN Department of Education, State Membership and Attendance Procedures Manual (2017)
9. TCA 49-6-3021
10. TCA 49-6-3007; Public Acts of 2017, Chapter No. 379
11. TCA 49-6-3019
12. TCA 49-2-203(b)(7)
13. TRR/MS 0520-01-02-17
14. Public Chapter 958 Section (a) and (b) TCA 49-6-3009