New attendance policy proves ineffective


Andrew Maresca

The school board adopted a new attendance policy in 2016. The major changes that were made revolved around what is counted as an excused absence and what is not.

Taryn Kauffman, Staff Writer

When Hanna Peterman ’18 came home from school one day, she was approached by her parents. She was told that a letter had been sent home saying she had missed too many days of school. During the first semester Peterman had missed almost the entire month of November due to traveling to Hawaii with her family at the beginning of the month. Peterman’s family trip was counted as an unexcused absence in Infinite Campus, but this did not affect Peterman.”I’m not there, it doesn’t matter if I’m excused of not.” Peterman said.

In December of 2016 the district abandoned the old attendance policy and adopted a new one. The school board made the decision prior to the 2017-18 school year beginning. The rules primarily focus on how many days a student is allowed to miss and what counts as an excused absent and what does not. As of this year students will only have an excused absence for an illness,  family emergencies, school sponsored events, but the school will no longer be accepting ‘family discretion” as an excuse for an absence. In previous years the school has allowed ‘family discretion’ for a student to miss school. This would mean that parents are no longer allowed to call their child out of school without a legitimate reason like an illness or emergency.

Now that the district wants students and parents to focus on attendance more, a list of consequences was also sent out to notify families of the consequences a student may face if they have of an excessive amount of unexcused absences. After six absences, consecutive or non- consecutive, the students parents will receive a letter addressing the number of absences the student has and infinite campus will note that contact has been made with the family. Similar things will happen until a student misses fifteen consecutive days. At that point the student will be un-enrolled until they return to school.

Attendance secretary Kathy Hammons feels that the new attendance policy has not changed the amount of students who are counted absent or the amount of letters that are being sent to parents. “People are still going to go on vacation wether it’s excused or un-excused” Hammans said.  “I just think it’s hard for parents to understand the policy has changed.”

Earlier this year Gabi Heuton ’18 received a letter from the school saying that she had missed over six days of school. This wasn’t the first letter the school has sent Heuton, “We get a letter every year. It just says that your student has missed so many days, and to just keep them in school.” Hueton said.

Heuton’s mom, Shelly Heuton, wasn’t affected by the letter that was sent to her from the school. “We get it every year” Shelly said, “I wasn’t worried about it because my kids get good grades.”

Logan Mahon ’20 was another student who was sent a letter for missing over six days. “I missed a lot of days in the fall because of softball,” Mahon said. “I didn’t really care because I’m a straight A student, and I know that they have to send a letter but I think they should be more concerned about they students who aren’t doing so well in school.”