BOARD OF EDUCATION POLICY MANUAL Page 1 of 6
ATTENDANCE Policy Code: 4400
The Buncombe County Board of Education (“Board”)
believes that regular school attendance is of crucial importance for
educational achievement, that learning experiences that occur in the
classroom are essential components of its learning process, that time
lost from class tends to be irretrievable in terms of opportunity for
instructional interaction, and, therefore, that each student should
attend school every day. The State of North Carolina requires that every
child in the State between the ages of seven (7) (or younger if
enrolled) and sixteen (16) attend school. Further, the Board affirms
that the primary responsibility for regular attendance resides with the
parents/guardians and the individual student.
Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in
school the full day. Tardies and early dismissals cause students to miss
important information and are strongly discouraged. The school
attendance team will develop appropriate interventions for students who
are chronically tardy or who leave early. Schools may include
appropriate disciplinary procedures in the school discipline plan to
address excessive tardies that may include required make-up time.
The Board shall adhere to the North Carolina General
Statutes pertaining to student attendance except to the extent this
policy imposes stricter regulations. Furthermore, the Board is committed
to the implementation of a student attendance policy that is
nondiscriminatory, discourages dropouts, and encourages regular
A ATTENDANCE RECORDS
School officials shall keep accurate records of
attendance, including accurate attendance records in each class.
Attendance records will be used to enforce North Carolina’s compulsory
attendance statutes (G.S. 115C-378 through -383).
I. Attendance Requirements by Grade Level
1. Elementary and Intermediate Schools Grades K-6
Elementary and Intermediate School students in grades
K-6 may only have a maximum combined total of fourteen (14) excused and
unexcused absences in a school year.
Students must be in school one half of the day to be
counted as present. Any absences over 14 must be made up in accordance
with the school’s Attendance Make-up Program (see 4400-R).
2. Middle School Grades 6-8
students in grades 6-8 may only have a maximum combined total of
fourteen (14) excused and unexcused absences per school year. Any
absences over fourteen (14) must be made up in accordance with the
school’s A endance Make-up Program (see 4400-R). Students must be in
attendance one half (1/2) of the day to be ounted
present for the day; however, accumulation of five (5) or more tardies
or early dismissals will be counted as one (1) absence to be made up to
meet promotion standards.
For any courses resulting in high school credit, students must follow attendance rules for
High School grades 9-13.
3. High School Grades 9 – 13
i. Semester-Long Courses
Students in grades 9-13 in semester-long courses may
only have a maximum combined total of five (5) excused and unexcused
absences per semester per class.
Absences are considered for each class and students must
be present two thirds (2/3) of the class to be counted as present.
Absences over five (5) days may be made up in accordance with the
school’s Attendance Make-up Program (see 4400-R) in order to receive
ii. Year-Long Courses
Students in grades 9-13 in year-long courses may only
have a maximum combined total of ten (10) excused and unexcused absences
per class. Absences are considered for each class and students must be
present two thirds (2/3) of the class to be counted as present. Absences
over ten (10) days may be made up in accordance with the school’s
Attendance Make-up Program (see 4400-R) in order to receive credit.
II. LAWFUL (EXCUSED) ABSENCES
When a student must miss school, the parent or legal
guardian must supply documentation regarding the reason for the absence
to the school upon the student’s return to school. Absences are listed
as unexcused until documentation is received.
Documentation will not be accepted after thirty (30)
days without prior approval from a school administrator or the
Absences due to extended illnesses generally require a
statement from a physician if there is a history of chronic absences. As
soon as a parent anticipates a student’s extended absence because of a
severe, prolonged, or chronic illness under a physician’s care, the
parent shall notify the principal. The principal shall make arrangements
for homebound/hospital-bound, or other appropriate instruction
following procedures outlined by Special Services homebound guidelines.
In the case of excused absences and short-term
out-of-school suspensions, the student will be permitted to make up any
tests or other work missed. (See also policy 4351, Short-Term
Suspension.) The teacher will determine when work is to be made up.
The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.
An absence may be excused for any of the following reasons.
1. Personal illness or injury that makes the student physically unable to attend school.
2. Isolation ordered by the local health officer or the State Board of Health.
3. Death in the immediate family.
4. Medical or dental appointment.
5. Participation under subpoena as a witness in a court proceeding.
6. At least two (2) days of excused absences must be
allowed each academic year for religious observances required by the
faith of a student or a student’s parents.
7. Participation in a valid educational opportunity,
such as travel or service as a legislative or Governor’s page, with
prior approval from the principal.
8. Pregnancy and related conditions or parenting, when medically necessary.
9. A student whose parent or legal guardian (a) is an
active duty member of the uniformed services, as defined by policy 4050,
Children of Military Families; and (b) has been called to duty for, is
on leave from, or has immediately
returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat
support posting will be granted additional excused absences at the
discretion of the superintendent or designee to visit with his or her
parent or legal guardian.
III. UNLAWFUL (UNEXCUSED) ABSENCES
For students who are entitled to attend public school and who have enrolled in a public school, unlawful absence is defined as:
1. A student’s willful absence from school with or without the knowledge of the parent;
2. A student’s absence from school for any reason other than those listed in Section B under “Lawful Absences”; or
3. When students are not permitted to attend school because they lack proper immunization.
The principal or the principal’s designee must notify
the parent, guardian, or custodian of his/her child’s excessive absences
after the child has accumulated three unlawful absences in a school
year. After not more than six (6) unlawful absences, the principal or
the principal’s designee must notify the parent, guardian, or custodian
by mail that he or she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance
Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified under the
established attendance policies of the State and local boards of
education. (G.S. 115C-378)
In the case of unexcused absences, the student will be
permitted to make up any tests or other work missed. The teacher will
determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for
finding out what assignments are due and completing them within a
specified time period.
1. Mandatory Attendance and Truancy
Unexcused absences may include any reasons not covered above. Students are considered truant after the tenth (10th) unexcused absence. Upon the tenth (10th)
unexcused absence, a conference is required to develop an attendance
improvement plan. Truancy charges may be filed against the student, the
parent, or both if unexcused absences continue.
“After 10 accumulated unexcused absences in a school
year, the principal or the principal’s designee shall review any report
or investigation prepared under G.S. 115C-381 and shall confer with the
student and the student’s parent, guardian, or custodian, if possible,
to determine whether the parent, guardian, or custodian has received
notification pursuant to this section and made a good faith effort to
comply with the law. If the principal or the principal’s designee
determines that the parent, guardian, or custodian has not made a good
faith effort to comply with the law, the principal may notify the
district attorney and the director of social
services of the county where the child resides. If the
principal or the principal’s designee determines that the parent,
guardian, or custodian has made a good faith effort to comply with the
law, the principal may file a complaint with the juvenile court
counselor pursuant to Chapter 7B of the General Statutes that the child
is habitually absent from school without a valid excuse.” (NCGS
115C-378(f)) This statute applies to students up to age 16.
C. SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES
All classroom activities are important and difficult, if
not impossible, to replace if missed. Principals shall ensure that
classes missed by students due to school-related activities are kept to
an absolute minimum. The following school-related activities will not be
counted as absences from either class or school:
1. field trips sponsored by the school or Buncombe County Schools;
2. school approved job shadows and other work-based
learning opportunities, as described in G.S.115C-47(34a), which are not
to exceed two (2) days without prior principal approval;
3. school-initiated and -scheduled activities;
4. athletic events that require early dismissal from school;
5. Career and Technical Education student organization activities approved in advance by the principal; and
6. in-school suspensions/ completions of alternative to
suspension program. Assignments missed for these reasons are eligible
for makeup by the student. The teacher will determine when work is to be
made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments
are due and completing them within the specified time period.
D. EXCESSIVE ABSENCES
Class attendance and participation are critical elements
of the educational process and may be taken into account in assessing
academic achievement. Students are expected to be at school on time and
to be present at the scheduled starting time for each class.
Students who are excessively tardy to school or class
may be suspended for up to two (2) days for such offenses. The principal
shall notify parents and take all other steps required by G.S. 115C-378
for excessive absences. Students may be suspended for up to two (2)
days for truancy.
Each principal will establish a school attendance team
to monitor school-wide attendance and design interventions to reduce
individual student excused and unexcused absences. Schools will collect
and review data regularly to make decisions about individual
interventions, targeted group interventions, and school-wide incentives
for improved attendance. If a student is absent from school for five (5)
or more days in a semester, the attendance committee shall consider
whether a specific plan to improve attendance is necessary.
The principal or committee shall review other measures
of academic achievement, the circumstances of the absences, the number
of absences, and the extent to which the student completed missed work
when developing a plan. Interventions could include: 1) parent
education/counseling sessions; 2) individual/student counseling; 3)
referral to appropriate community agencies; 4) positive behavior
supports for students and parents; and 5) assigned time to make-up
missed work. Students may be required to attend afterschool or summer
school or mini-mester sessions to make up missed days (See 4400-R).
Parents must receive notification (documentation
required) when students have accumulated three (3) unlawful absences.
Once a student has been absent for any unlawful reason for six (6)
cumulative days, the principal or designee shall notify the student’s
parents in writing, in accordance with the NC Compulsory Attendance Law.
Subsequently an individual attendance intervention plan
will be developed through the school based attendance committee in
cooperation with the parent, guardian, or custodian.
The Board approved Discretionary Admission of an
out-of-district student may be revoked due to excessive absences,
tardies, and/or early dismissals. The principal shall recommend the
revocation in writing to the Superintendent or designee. When the
determination is made, the principal will inform the parent or legal
guardian in writing that the Discretionary Admission has been revoked
and list the date the student must return to their home district school.
Each school will provide the opportunity for attendance
make-up through an Attendance Make-up Program, which may include
Saturday school, after school make-up tutoring sessions, Attendance
Summer School, or other make-up requirements as identified by the
principal and attendance teams. Information about the school’s
Attendance Make-up Program will be readily available to students and
parents in the student handbook, on the school’s website, and in the
front office. A fee for attendance make-up will be assessed where
applicable. See Board Policy 4600, Student Fees, for fee schedule.
Occasionally unique or unusual situations arise which
are not specifically addressed by this policy. The superintendent, upon
written recommendation from the school principal, may authorize
alternatives to the policy in order to achieve fairness to the student
without weakening the effect of the policy.
Pursuant to this policy, students failing to meet
attendance requirements in any required course for promotion shall
neither be promoted nor allowed to participate in promotion exercises.
A copy of this policy will be available in the student
handbook and on the school’s website. Paper copies may be requested in
the front office. Students transferring from another administrative unit
will have attendance policy information provided prior to enrollment,
and will be allowed to have absences prorated based on the number of
school days remaining in the school year.
Legal References: G.S. 115C-47, -84.2, -288(a), -375.5, -378 through -383, -390.2(d), -390.5, -
407.5; 16 N.C.A.C. 6E .0102, .0103; State Board of Education Policies TCS-L-000 through -
003; NC Board of Education School Attendance and Student Accounting Manual.
Cross References: Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students (policy 4023), Children of
Military Families (policy 4050), Short-Term Suspension (policy 4351)
Adopted: June 6, 2013
Revised: January 9, 2014
REPLACES BCS POLICIES:
401 – Attendance – High School – Grades 9-12
402 – Attendance – Middle School – Grades 6-8
403 – Attendance – Elementary