In accordance with state law, it is the responsibility of every parent, tutor, or legal guardian of a child between the ages of seven (7) and eighteen (18) to enforce the attendance of his or her child at the school to which the student is assigned. Once a pupil arrives at school, he/she is expected to remain and attend each class throughout the day.
A student is considered to be in attendance when he or she is physically present at a school site or is participating in an authorized school activity and is under the supervision of authorized personnel. This definition for attendance would extend to students who are homebound, assigned to and participating in drug rehabilitation programs that contain a state-approved education component, participating in school-authorized field trips or other school-approved activities, or taking a state-approved virtual course.
- Half-day attendance - A student is considered to be in attendance for one-half day when he or she (1) is physically present at a school site or is participating in an authorized school activity and (2) is under the supervision of authorized personnel for more than 25% but not more than half (26%-50%) of the student's instructional day.
- Whole-day attendance - A student is considered to be in attendance for a whole day when he or she (1) is physically present at a school site or is participating in an authorized school activity and (2) is under the supervision of authorized personnel for more than 50% (51%-100%) of the student's instructional day.
Compulsory attendance laws and Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) regulations require high school students to be in attendance a minimum of 30,060 minutes (equivalent to 83.5 six hour school days) per semester or 60,120 minutes (equivalent to 167 six-hour school days) a school year for schools not operating on a semester basis in order to be eligible to receive credit for courses taken.
Elementary students shall be in attendance a minimum of 60,120 minutes (equivalent to 167 six-hour days) a school year in order to be eligible to receive credit for courses taken.
Students in danger of failing due to excessive absences may be allowed to make up missed time in class sessions held outside the regular class time. The make up sessions must be completed before the end of the current semester and all other applicable policies must be met.
JURISDICTION: All students shall be under the jurisdiction of the school during normal school hours, from the time the student arrives at school each day until he or she leaves the school campus in the afternoon. In case a student rides a bus, he or she shall be under the jurisdiction of the school from the time he or she boards the bus until the student exits the bus in the afternoon. Students shall be under the jurisdiction of the school while attending any school sponsored activity either at school or away from school. This shall apply to all students, including athletic teams, pep clubs, bands and other student organizations. In disciplinary matters, the School Board’s authority may extend beyond the limits set forth above, in accordance with state law.
PERFECT ATTENDANCE: The Tangipahoa Parish School Board shall recognize students who have perfect attendance. A student is considered to be in attendance when he or she is physically present at a school site or is participating in an authorized school activity and is under the supervision of authorized personnel. To attain the distinction of perfect attendance, a student shall be present for the duration of each student instructional day during the school year for his/her school.
This definition for attendance would extend to students who are homebound, assigned to and participating in drug rehabilitation programs that contain a state-approved education component, participating in school-authorized field trips or other school-approved activities, or taking a state-approved virtual course.
If a parent chooses to have his/her child participate during school hours in any extracurricular activities that are not authorized by the school (educational travel vacations, educational outreach programs, gymnastics, dance, sports, etc.) the student shall not be eligible for perfect attendance. However, the student shall be allowed to make up any missed work with prior approval from the principal and those days may be excused if the reason for missing school was for educational purposes. The principal shall have the option to assign an assignment that will be aligned with the educational field trip. Students shall be allowed one (1) educational field trip per semester. All educational travel field trips must be approved prior to the trip. The principal shall make the final determination on whether the trip was educational and aligned with the school’s curriculum.
Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, the parent or legal guardian of a child who resides in Louisiana and who is age 5 by September 30 of the calendar year in which the school year begins through age 18 shall send the child to a public or nonpublic school, as defined by La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 17:236, unless the child's parent or legal guardian opted to defer enrollment of his/her child in kindergarten pursuant to La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 17:151.3 (D) or the child graduates from high school prior to his/her 18th birthday. A child below the age of 5 who legally enrolls in school shall also be subject to these provisions. If a child in these age brackets was a resident of this parish when school opened and enters school late without having attended another public or nonpublic school or approved home study program during the current school session within or without the parish, a statement should be secured from the parents or guardian giving the reasons why the child has not been in school. If these reasons are not satisfactory, the matter should be referred to the Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance, who may find it necessary to refer it to the proper court.
EXCEPTIONS TO COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE: Certain exceptions to the compulsory attendance laws are allowed as provided by state law and included in policy JBD, Absences and Excuses. In addition, statutes provide for the following:
- The parent, tutor, or other person responsible for the school attendance of a child between the ages of sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) who is enrolled in school may request that the student be allowed to attend an effective adult education program or a career and technical education program. 55
- A child who is at least seventeen (17) years of age and who, after successfully completing a program established by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, has been issued a Louisiana high school equivalency diploma in accordance with criteria established by the Louisiana Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges shall be considered exited from high school and shall not be subject to compulsory attendance laws.
- Compulsory attendance does not apply to any child who is under the age of seventeen (17) and is attending or seeking admission to a National Guard Youth Challenge Program in Louisiana.
- Any minor employed to perform or render artistic or creative services shall be exempt from the compulsory school attendance statutes for those days during which the minor is engaged in rendering such services.
FAILURE TO COMPLY: Failure to abide by the compulsory school attendance laws of the state may result in a referral to Families in Need of Services (FINS) which is a state mandated program or to the District Court with jurisdiction.
STUDENT ABSENCES AND EXCUSES: The Tangipahoa Parish School Board recognizes that the fundamental right to attend the public schools places upon students the accompanying responsibility to be faithful in attendance. Regular attendance can be assumed to be essential for a student's successful progress in the instructional program. The parent or legal guardian shall enforce the attendance of the student at the school to which the student is assigned. The principal of a school, or his/her designee, shall notify the parent or legal guardian in writing on or before a student's third unexcused absence or unexcused occurrence of being tardy, and shall hold a conference with such student's parent or legal guardian. This notification shall include information relative to the parent or legal guardian’s legal responsibility to enforce the student’s attendance at school and the civil penalties that may be incurred if the student is determined to be habitually absent or habitually tardy. The student's parent or legal guardian shall sign a receipt for such notification.
Each school shall attempt to provide verbal notification to a child's parent, tutor, or legal guardian, and, if such verbal notification cannot be provided, then the school shall provide written notification to a child's parent, tutor, or legal guardian when that child has been absent from school for 5 school days in schools operating on a semester basis, and for 10 days in schools not operating on a semester basis. The accumulation of days absent need not be consecutive. No public elementary or secondary school pupil shall be permitted for any reason to absent himself/herself from school attendance during the school day upon his/her own authority, unless legally emancipated. The principal or designee shall make all reasonable efforts to verbally notify the parent or other person responsible for the pupil's school attendance of any such prohibited absence by a pupil.
TYPES OF ABSENCES: The days absent for elementary and secondary school students shall include non-exempted excused absences, exempted excused absences, unexcused absences, and suspensions.
1. Non-exempt excused absences: absences incurred due to personal illness or serious illness in the family (documented by acceptable excuses, including a parental note) which are not considered for purposes of truancy, but which are considered when determining whether or not a student is eligible to make up work and tests, receive credit for work completed, and receive credit for a course and/or school year completed.
2. Exempted excused absences: absences which are not considered for purposes of truancy and which are not considered when determining whether or not a student is eligible to make up work and tests, receive credit for work completed, and receive credit for a course and/or school year completed.
3. Unexcused absences: any absences not meeting the requirements set forth in the excused absences and extenuating circumstances definitions, including but not limited to absences due to any job (including agriculture and domestic services, even in the student’s own home or for their own parents or tutors) unless it is a part of an approved instructional program. Students shall be given failing grades for those days missed and shall not be given an opportunity to make up work.
4. Suspensions: non-exempt absences for which a student is allowed to make up his/her work and is eligible for consideration for credit provided it is completed satisfactorily and in a timely manner. The absence shall be considered when determining whether or not a student may or may not be promoted, but shall not be considered for purposes of truancy. Students absent from school as a result of any suspension shall be counted as absent.
EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES: Exceptions to the attendance regulation shall be the enumerated extenuating circumstances below that are verified by the Director of Student Services or the school principal/designee where indicated. These exempted absences do not apply in determining whether a student meets the minimum minutes of instruction required to receive credit.
- Extended personal physical or emotional illness as verified by a physician or nurse practitioner licensed in the state.
- Extended hospital stay in which a student is absent as verified by a physician or dentist.
- Extended recuperation from an accident in which a student is absent as verified by a physician, dentist, or nurse practitioner licensed in the state.
- Extended contagious disease within a family in which a student is absent as verified by a physician or dentist licensed in the state.
- Quarantine due to prolonged exposure to or direct contact with a person diagnosed with a contagious, deadly disease, as ordered by state or local health officials.
- Observance of special and recognized holidays of the student's own faith.
- Visitation with a parent who is a member of the United States Armed Forces or the National Guard of a state and such parent has been called to duty for or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting. Excused absences in this situation shall not exceed five (5) school days per school year.
- Absences as verified by the principal or his/her designee as stated below:
- Prior school system-approved travel for education;
- Death in the immediate family (not to exceed one week); or,
- Natural catastrophe and/or disaster.
For any other extenuating circumstances, the student’s parents or legal guardian must make a formal appeal in accordance with the due process procedures established by the school system. Students who are verified as meeting extenuating circumstances, and therefore eligible to receive grades shall not receive those grades if they are unable to complete makeup work or pass the course.
SCHOOL-APPROVED ACTIVITIES: Students participating in school-approved field trips or other instructional activities that necessitate their being away from school shall be considered present and shall be given the opportunity to make up work.
CHILD PERFORMERS: Minors employed to perform or render artistic or creative services under a contract or employment arrangement for two (2) or more days within a 30-day period must receive instruction pursuant to statutory provisions.
WRITTEN EXCUSES: For a student to be eligible to receive credit and make up work following an absence, the student shall be required in each instance to submit parental confirmation of the reasons for the absence. If a student is tardy or absent, the parent or guardian must submit a written excuse, signed and dated, to school authorities upon the student's return to classes, stating the reason for the student's absence from school. A doctor's, dentist’s, or nurse practitioner’s written statement of a student's incapacity to attend school shall be required for those absences for three (3) or more consecutive days due to illness, contagious illness in a family, hospitalization, or accidents. All excuses for a student's absence, including medical verification of extended personal illness, must be presented within 7 school days of the student's return to school, or the student's absence shall be considered unexcused and the student not allowed to make up work missed.
REPORTING ABSENCES: The attendance of all school pupils shall be checked each school day and at the beginning of each class period and shall be verified by the teacher keeping such record, which shall be open to inspection by the Director of Student Services or duly authorized representative at all reasonable times. All schools shall immediately report to the Director of Student Services any unexplained, unexcused, or illegal absence, or habitual tardiness. The Director of Student Services shall, after written notice to the parent or legal guardian of a child, or a personal visit of notification, report any such child who is habitually absent or who is habitually tardy to the family or juvenile court of the parish as a truant child, to be dealt with in such manner as the court may determine.
APPEAL OF ABSENCES: When a student exceeds the maximum number of absences allowed, the parents or student may make a formal appeal to the principal if they feel any of the absences are because of extenuating circumstances. If they feel that the decision is unfavorable, they shall appeal to the Superintendent or his/her designee. After a review by the Superintendent or his/her designee, a decision shall be made and communicated to the parents or legal guardian by letter. High school students in danger of failing due to excessive absences may be allowed to make up missed time in class sessions held outside the regular class time. The make-up sessions must be completed before the end of the current semester and all other applicable policies must also be met.
TARDINESS: A student shall be considered tardy to class if the student is not in the classroom when the bell to begin class ceases. A student shall be considered tardy to school if the student is not in his/her homeroom/first period class when the bell to begin homeroom/class ceases. Tardy shall also mean leaving or checking out of school unexcused prior to the regularly scheduled dismissal. Habitual tardiness on the part of students shall not be tolerated. Students who exhibit habitual tardiness shall be subject to disciplinary action, appropriate under the circumstances. Parents of students who continue to be tardy shall be notified for a conference with the principal, and the student may be subject to suspension from school and the parent/legal guardian subject to court fines or community service.
- There should be an emergency or doctor's appointment in order to check a student out early.
- Perfect attendance should not be granted to persons who leave early except in extenuating circumstances as determined by the principal.
- Teachers should be sure to document in his/her roll book for students leaving early.
- Early dismissal shall be treated the same as tardiness on a per semester basis.
ABSENCES AND EXCUSES REGULATIONS (November 7, 2019): Any time a student is absent from school, he/she must have a written excuse for that absence from a parent or legal guardian or attending physician. This also includes parts of days missed (example: checking in or out). Doctors’ excuses are to be sent in within 7 days following a visit to the doctor. All excuses must include the first date of treatment and the discharging date. Doctors’ excuses will not be accepted after this period of time.
- First Day: The student is notified when he/she returns to school to bring a note from the parent or guardian.
- Second Day: The school may contact the parent or guardian.
- Third Day: The absence becomes unexcused.
- Absenteeism will be excused on the basis of the following state and parish-approved reasons for being absent:
A. Personal illness.
B. Extreme illness in the immediate family.
C. Death in the immediate family.
D. Recognized religious holidays.
E. School-sponsored activities.
F. Extenuating circumstances (see TPSS POLICY JBD: Absences and Excuses)
2. Excuses will be given by the principal or his/her designee for any of the above reasons based on a note from the parent, guardian, or attending physician. Parents and guardians are allowed only 3 written excuses per semester.
3. For excused absences (as marked on excuse form from the office), students will have an opportunity within 3 days of return to make up missed work, including tests. It is the student’s responsibility to ask the teacher for make-up work.
4. Students with "excessive absences," and/or 3 unexcused absences accumulated will be reported to the TPSS Student Services Office.
5. A student must be in school for either 4 periods or the equivalent of 2/3 of his/her student day to be counted present and to be allowed participation in extracurricular activities.
6. A student has up to 7 school days (up to 12 days if the doctor or hospital is out of the local area) from time of re-entry to school to bring a doctor's excuse. The doctor's excuse should contain the date of the first day of treatment and the date of the last day of treatment or discharge.
7. The school will notify parents after a child has missed 3 days of unexcused absence.
8. The school will notify parents after a child has missed 5 school days in schools operating on a semester basis and 10 school days in schools not operating on a semester basis. If verbal notification cannot be made, the school shall provide written notification to a child's parent, tutor, or legal guardian of such absences.
TRUANCY: The Tangipahoa Parish School Board recognizes truancy as absence from class or school for any portion of a period or day without permission from home or school. Students shall not be allowed to leave the campus without proper permission at any time during the school day, including before school begins, after school while waiting for their bus, or any disciplinary session which the student has been directed to attend. Students shall remain on the campus at all times unless granted permission to be off-campus, or be subject to disciplinary action. Violations of attendance laws and regulations may lead to suspension and/or expulsion from school.
School personnel shall be expected to make every reasonable effort to assist a child who is habitually absent or tardy. A student shall be considered habitually absent or habitually tardy when either condition continues to exist after all reasonable efforts by any school personnel, truant officer, or other law enforcement personnel have failed to correct the condition after the fifth (5th) unexcused absence or fifth (5th) unexcused occurrence of being tardy within any school semester. Any student who is a juvenile and who is considered habitually absent from school or habitually tardy shall be reported by visiting teachers and Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance to the family or juvenile court of the parish or city as a truant child.
TARDY: For the purpose of notification, tardy shall include, but not be limited to being late to school or leaving or checking out of school unexcused prior to the regularly scheduled dismissal time at the end of the school day. However, it shall not include reporting late to class when transferring from one class to another during the school day.
GUARDIAN RESPONSIBILITY: With regard to any student in grades K-8 who is considered habitually absent or tardy in any case where the student is the subject of a court-ordered custody or visitation plan, the parent or legal guardian who is lawfully exercising actual physical custody or visitation of the student shall be responsible for the student’s attendance at school on those days and shall be solely responsible for any absence or tardiness of the child on such days.
ATTENDANCE REPORTS FOR STUDENT DRIVERS: In accordance with state law, students are obligated to attend school regularly and be in attendance a minimum number of days during the school year. In order for a minor to obtain or renew a driver’s license or learner’s permit for the operation of a motor vehicle, the minor shall present evidence to the Office of Motor Vehicles that he or she is enrolled and attending school or a recognized program or has completed the required minimum units of credit for graduation. Upon Request of any minor who is enrolled and attending a school and who is eligible to apply for a driver’s license, the Superintendent, principal, or appropriate designee shall provide to him/her documentation of his/her meeting the required attendance requirements.
A student who does not meet the required minimum school attendance provisions may be subject to denial or suspension of his/her driver’s license or learner’s permit. It is the policy of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board to provide written notification of a minor student who has been determined by the principal to be a dropout or habitually absent or tardy to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles for denial or suspension of driving privileges.
In addition, a minor student’s driver’s license or permit may also be suspended when written notification is received by the Office of Motor Vehicles from the principal that the minor student has been expelled or suspended from school or assigned to an alternative educational setting for 10 or more consecutive school days. Such disciplinary action shall be limited to expulsions, suspensions, or alternative educational assignments for infractions involving the sale or possession of drugs, alcohol, or any other illegal substance, the possession of a firearm, or an infraction involving assault or battery of a member of the school faculty or staff.
The School Board, through the principal, shall provide written notification to any minor whom the principal has determined to be a dropout or habitually absent or tardy and his/her parent or guardian that the principal intends to subject the minor to driver’s license denial or suspension. The written notification shall advise the minor of his/her right to seek a hearing of the School Board of such determination or to make a request of the School Board to obtain a hardship waiver within 15 days of the mailing of the notification. The principal shall send a copy of the notification to the School Board.
If the School Board is notified of a request for a hearing or a request for a hardship license within 15 days after the date of mailing the written notification, the School Board shall hold a hearing to make a determination upon such request. If no such request is received by the School Board, or if the School Board determines after a hearing that such student is a dropout or is habitually absent or tardy and is not entitled to a hardship waiver, then the School Board shall provide written notification to the Office of Motor Vehicles that the minor’s license should be suspended or denied.
HARDSHIP WAIVER: The School Board may waive the attendance requirements for any minor for whom a personal, family, or economic hardship requires the minor to have a driver’s license for his/her own, or his/her family’s employment or medical care as provided in La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:226. The minor or his/her parent or legal guardian may present other evidence that indicates compliance with attendance requirements outlined in state law at the waiver hearing. The School Board shall notify the Office of Motor Vehicles of the outcome of the minor’s hardship waiver hearing within 24 hours after conducting the hearing.
DEFINITIONS (for purposes of this Policy):
1) Dropout: a person 15 years of age or older but less than 18 years old, who was enrolled in a school and withdrew, or who was enrolled at the end of the previous school year and is not enrolled on October 1 of the following school year, or who has more than 10 consecutive days of unexcused absences from school or 15 days total unexcused absences during a single semester. Dropout does not mean a person who is 1) temporarily absent due to illness, suspension, or expulsion; 2) attending or has graduated or completed another educational program approved by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; or 3) transferred to a nonpublic school, a correctional institution or an approved home school program, or moved out of state.
2) Habitually absent or tardy: when either condition continues to exist after all reasonable efforts by a principal or other appropriate authority have failed to correct the condition after the 5 th unexcused absence or 5 th unexcused occurrence of being tardy within any month, or if a pattern of 5 absences a month is established or as otherwise provided in La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:233.
3) Minor: unemancipated child who is at least 15 but less than 18 years of age.