Georgia Compulsory School Attendance LawOfficial Code of Georgia20-2-690.1. Mandatory education for children between the ages six and sixteen.(a) Every parent, guardian, or other person residing within this state having control or charge of any child or children between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays shall enroll and send such child or children to a public school, a private school or a home study program that meets requirements for a public school, a private school or a home study program; and such child shall be responsible for enrolling in and attending a public school, a private school or a home study program under such penalty for noncompliance with this subsection as is provided in Chapter 11 of Title 15, unless the child’s failure to enroll and attend is caused by the child’s parent, guardian, or other person in which case the parent, guardian or other person alone shall be responsible; provided however, that tests and physical exams for military service and the National Guard and such other approved absences shall be excused absences. The requirements of this subsection shall apply to a child between his or her sixth and sixteenth birthdays who has been assigned by a local board ofeducation or its delegate to attend an alternative public school program established by that local board of education, including an alternative public school program provided for in Code section 20-2-154.1, regardless of whether such child has been suspended or expelled from another public school program by that local board of education or its delegate, and to the parent, guardian or other person residing in this state who has control or charge of such child. Noting in this Code section shall be constructed to require a local board of education or its delegate to assign a child to attend an alternative public school program rather than suspending or expelling the child.(b) Any parent, guardian, or other person residing in this state who has control or charge of a child or children and who shall violate this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine not less than $25.00 and not greater than $100.00, imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, community service, or any combination of such penalties, at the discretion of the court having jurisdiction. Each day’s absence from school in violation of this part after the child’s school system notifies the parent, guardian or other person who has control or charge of a child of five unexcused days of absence of a child shall constitute a separate offense. After two reasonable attempts to notify the parent, guardian, or other person who has control orcharge of a child of five unexcused days of absence without response, the school system shall send a notice to such parent, guardian or other person by certified mail, return receipt requested. Public schools shall provide to the parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of each child enrolled in public school a written summary of possible consequences and penalties for failing to comply with compulsory attendance under this Code section for children and their parents, guardians or other person who has control or charge of children. The parent, guardian, or other person who has control or charge of a child or children shall sign a statement indicating receipt of such written statement of possible consequences and penalties, children who are age ten years andolder by September 1 shall sign a statement indicating receipt of such written statement of possible consequences and penalties. After two reasonable attempts by the school to secure such signature or signatures, the school shall be considered to be in compliance with this subsection if it sends a copy of the statement, via certified mail, return receipt requested, to such parent, guardian, other person who has control or charge of a child, or children. Public schools shall retain signed copies of statements through the end of the school year.(c) Local school superintendents in the case of private schools or home study programs and visiting teachers [school social workers] and attendance officers in the case of public schools shall have the authority and it shall be their duty to file proceedings in court to enforce this subpart.
Students who are absent from school are required to bring a written excuse for the absence their first day back at school. An absence is either excused or unexcused. Absences which are lawful and therefore excusable shall be governed in accordance with the laws of the State of Georgia and the rules and regulations of the State Department of Education and Local Board policy.
An absence shall be declared excused for:
- Personal illness.
- Family death and funeral.
- Medical or dental appointments that cannot be scheduled outside school hours.
- Attendance of non-school activities or functions authorized by the Superintendent or designee.
- Special and recognized religious holidays observed by the student's faith.
- Mandate or order of government agency.
- Extreme circumstances that cannot be resolved outside school hours; parent or guardian must request and receive approval from the Principal or designated representative.
- Any other absence not explicitly defined herein, but deemed by the local school board
of education to have merit based on the circumstances. (Note: A foster care student, who attends Court proceedings relating to the student’s foster care, shall be counted as present by the school.)
Any absence not covered in (A) - (G) above, shall be declared unexcused. It is the policy of the Richmond County Board of Education that no unexcused absences are allowed. If parents keep their child out for other reasons, such absence shall be deemed unlawful and therefore unexcused.
For any absence beyond five (5), the parent shall be required to provide a physician’s note or other excuse from an acceptable or official third party justifying the absence.
For the purposes of this protocol, truant is defined as any child who has more than five days of unexcused absences during the academic year.
Full School Day
For a student to be marked present for a full school day, a student must be in attendance for one half or more of the school day. However, a student will not be recognized for perfect attendance after ten (10) tardies
- Let children know that good attendance is important! Attendance is a parent and student responsibility.
- Become involved in your child’s school life and school activities.
- Take an interest in your child’s school work. Check homework for accuracy and completeness.
- Do not provide inappropriate excuses for your child to miss school. Do not let them take time off from school for minor ailments – particularly those which would not prevent you from going to work.
- Don’t expect or let older children stay home from school to babysit younger siblings.
- Set good examples and enforce rules. Speak well of the school and support school staff.
- Establish a routine. Give yourself and children enough time to get ready. Schedule a regular bedtime.
- Plan ahead the night before: such as identifying and pre-prepping breakfast, have kids choose clothes and shoes the night before, and pack their backpacks with completed homework and snacks/water. Parents can prepare for work the night before too.
- Have your child walk to school or the bus stop with another child who is always on time.
- Limit and balance extra-curricular activities.
- Have a back-up plan for cold weather for cars not starting.
- Attend Parent Teacher Conferences, Parent Meetings, and PTO/PTA meetings.
- Volunteer in the classroom, on field trips or during school events.
- Make education a family priority.
- Let the school know in advance if your child is going to be absent or if you have concerns about your child’s attendance or school performance.
- Provide doctor’s notes when medical verification is available for student’s absences.
- If your child does not want to go to school, find out why and work with your school and child to address concerns. Let our child know he/she must attend school. If you notice your child is avoiding a particular class or is having a difficult time in one subject area, discuss this with your child and his/her teacher.
- Contact your child’s school for help if it is needed to support your child or family.
- Do not let your child persuade you into making an excuse for him/her. Don’t give up. Reward good behavior and take it one day at a time.