St. Johns County abides by the attendance policies set out in the Student Code of Conduct and the Florida Statutes.
The following are excerpts from the St. Johns County Student Code of Conduct relating to the district’s attendance policy.
Section 2. STUDENT ATTENDANCE
Regular school attendance is a necessary part of a student’s education. Excessive absences impair a student’s educational progress, impacts whether the student passes or fails a grade, and may result in court proceedings and/or the loss of driving privileges. Students will be considered absent when they miss 50% of their school day. Absences shall be classified and treated as follows:
Students must be in school unless the absence has been excused for one of the reasons listed below. Excused absences include the following:
- Personal Illness.
- Illness of an immediate family member.
- Death in the family.
- Religious holidays of the student’s religious faith.
- Required court appearance or subpoena by a law enforcement agency.
- Special events, including, but not limited to, important public functions, student conferences, student state/national competitions, administrative approved post-secondary educational institution visitation, as well as exceptional cases of family need. Students must get permission from the principal at least five days in advance.
- Scheduled doctor or dentist appointments. The parent or guardian must notify the school of the date and appointment time prior to the absence/release time.
- Students having or suspected of having a communicable disease or infestation that can be transmitted are to be excluded from school and are not allowed to return to school until they no longer present a health hazard (Florida Statute 1003.22). Examples of communicable diseases and infestations include, but are not limited to, fleas, head lice, ringworm, impetigo, and scabies. Students are allowed a maximum of three (3) days excused absence for an infestation of head lice.
Unexcused absences include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Shopping trips
- Pleasure trips
- Suspension from school
- Appointments without prior approval except in case of emergency
- Other avoidable absences.
2. Reporting Absences
Any student who has been absent from school shall bring a note from a parent or guardian within forty-eight (48) hours of returning to school stating the cause of the absence. Failure to bring in a note will result in an automatic unexcused absence. However, the fact that the student brings in a note does not require the school administration to excuse the absence. The principal or designee will decide whether the absence meets the criteria for an excused absence, and that decision will be final. The administration may request additional documentation, such as a doctor’s note. The excuse must state specific dates of absence, and must be signed by a licensed physician. After fifteen (15) days of absence, whether excused or unexcused, a student must present verification from a licensed doctor for all subsequent absences due to illness.
3. Planned Absences
In case of a planned absence, the parent or guardian shall provide written notice at least five (5) days prior to the absence. The fact that such notice is provided does not require the administration to treat the absence as excused. Rather, the principal or designee will determine whether such absence meets the criteria for an excused absence as listed in paragraph 1.
4. Make-Up Work
When a student is absent from school with an excused absence, the student shall be responsible for all work and assignments missed during the student’s absence. The student shall make arrangements with teachers for “make-up” work and will complete it within a reasonable time frame, (as determined by the school), upon the student’s return to school. Coursework, tests and quizzes can be made up at 100% credit.
When a student has an unexcused absence, it is the responsibility of the student to complete all coursework, test and quizzes and turn them in to the appropriate teacher. A student shall have one day to complete and turn in the work for each day the student is absent (i.e., in the event of three days unexcused absences; the student has three days to complete and turn in assignments) and may only earn 50% credit. Test and quizzes can be made up at 100% credit. Coursework, tests, and quizzes not completed and turned in within the allotted time frame will earn no credit. There is no expectation that the child’s teacher or teachers recreate lessons, lectures, or labs for unexcused absences.
Unexcused absence without parental knowledge or consent, or absence from class without a written excuse from a teacher or administrator, will result in no credit for coursework, tests and quizzes missed during the absence.
A student may be deemed truant after (i) five (5) unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a calendar month, or (ii) ten (10) unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a 90-calendar-day period.
Students are subject to the following actions for preventing and correcting truancy:
- When a student may be exhibiting a pattern of non-attendance, the principal shall refer the student to the school’s attendance team to determine if a pattern of truancy is developing.
- The school’s attendance team shall meet with the student and parent or guardian to determine if a pattern of truancy is developing and to identify and implement potential remedies.
- If the school-based efforts to resolve non-attendance are unsuccessful, the student shall be referred to the Superintendent or his designee for truancy.
- If no valid reason is found for the student’s absences, the Superintendent or his designee may send the parent or guardian written notice requiring enrollment or attendance within three (3) days after the date of the notice.
- If the student does not return to school after the three (3) day notice, the Superintendent or his designee may refer the student and the parent or guardian to truancy court before the Circuit Court of St. Johns County. A criminal prosecution for truancy may also be initiated.
Tardiness is disruptive to the learning environment and can have a negative impact on student achievement. Excessive tardiness (more than 1 time per week) will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Disciplinary action for unexcused tardiness shall be progressive, may include Level 1 consequences, and will be specifically defined in each individual school’s discipline plan.
7. Driver’s License
Florida law requires that minors who fail to satisfy attendance requirements will be ineligible for driving privileges. The School District is required to notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of the following:
- Students ages 14-18 who accumulate fifteen (15) unexcused absences, not including out of school suspensions, in a ninety (90) calendar-day period.
- Students between the ages of 16-18 who have signed a declaration of intent to terminate school enrollment.
- Students ages 14-18 who are expelled.
- Students ages 14-18 who did not enter school and for whom the school has received no indication of transfer to another educational setting.
These students may not be issued a driver’s license or learner driver’s license. Also, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall suspend any previously issued driver’s license or learner driver’s license of any such minor pursuant to Florida Statute 322.091. In order to have a driver’s license reinstated, the student must attend school regularly for thirty (30) days with no unexcused absences and pay the appropriate reinstatement fee.
8. Releasing Students from School
School staff shall definitively establish the identity and authority of any person who requests the release of a student from school prior to regularly-scheduled dismissal. If the person requesting the release of the student is a person other than a parent or guardian listed on the emergency contact form, the principal or teacher concerned shall not release the student without the consent of the parent or guardian who is listed on the emergency contact form. It is the responsibility of the enrolling parent or guardian at the time of registration, to make sure the emergency contact information is accurate and complete. If a non-enrolling parent contends that he or she has been improperly omitted, it is the parent’s responsibility to resolve the issue with the enrolling parent or seek a court order if the parties cannot resolve the issue.
9. Granting Permission to Leave School Grounds
No student shall be sent off the school grounds to perform an errand or to act as a messenger except with the approval of the principal, provided that approval shall be granted only for urgent and necessary school business and with the consent of the student’s parent or guardian.
10. Exemption from Regular School Attendance
A student of compulsory attendance age shall be required to attend school as provided by the law unless issued an exemption certificate by the Superintendent. Students who have reached age 16 must file a “Declaration of Intent to Terminate School Enrollment” if they wish to discontinue their education. Upon filing the intent, the student must allow the school to conduct an “Exit Interview” and “Exit Survey” to determine the reasons for the decision to terminate school enrollment and the actions that could be taken to prevent termination.
11. Illness in School
A student with a temperature above normal or who is exhibiting other signs of illness shall be evaluated by the school nurse and sent home. The specific guidelines and recommendations for exclusion from school due to illness are referenced in each of the St. Johns County School District’s Health Manuals, on file at each school.