Excessive absenteeism is a violation of the Alabama Compulsory Attendance laws. All schools in the Lee County School System are required to monitor and report to the Truancy Officer any student that has been excessively absent from school. An attempt will be made to notify parents if absenteeism becomes a concern. If a referral is made to the Truancy Officer, several steps will be taken to try and rectify the problem. For instance, the parent may be contacted in person, by telephone, or by mail. If the student continues to be absent, an Early Warning hearing will be arranged with the Lee County Juvenile Court. A petition may be filed, with the parent and child required to attend. If convicted of parent neglect, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, of if the child is found to be in need of supervision, fines may be levied, as well as additional sanctions against the parent or child.
Students must attend school to achieve. The Alabama compulsory attendance laws require that all young people between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17) attend school. The law also states that parents or guardians are responsible for their child's regular attendance and proper conduct. Parent(s)/guardian(s) must provide the child's teacher/administrator an explanation of each absence within three days after the student returns to school. If the parent or guardian fails to provide this information to the teacher/administrator, each student's absence will be recorded as unexcused or truant.
The following procedures for handling truancies under the NCLB will be uniformly administered throughout the Lee County Schools:
1. First Truancy (unexcused absence)
- A parent must be contacted and provided a copy of Alabama's compulsory attendance laws upon the first unexcused student absence.
- Parent(s)/guardian(s) have seventy-two hours/three (3) days to respond in writing with an explanation for the student's absence. If no explanation is provided, the child is considered truant for that absence.
2. Third Truancy (unexcused absence)
- A parent must be notified
3. Fifth Truancy (unexcused absence)
- The parent(s)/guardian(s) will be required to attend a conference at the school with the attendance officer and/or the principal /designee and/or participate in an Early Warning Program conducted by the juvenile court. Attendance at these meetings is mandatory.
4. Any parent/guardian, or child who does not attend any of the scheduled meetings will be subject to having a complaint or petition filed in accordance with the Code of Alabama (1975).
5. Seventh Truancy (unexcused absence)
- Beginning with the seventh unexcused absence, a petition/complaint will be filed against the parent(s)/guardian(s) and child (when age appropriate) with the Juvenile Court of Lee County.
Please see the Lee County Schools Student Handbook and Code of Conduct for more information on absences and truancy.