South Carolina requires all children between the ages of five and 17 to attend a public or private school or kindergarten. A parent whose child or ward is not six years old on or before September 1 of the school year may waive kindergarten attendance for his/her child. The board expects children to attend school regularly. Regular attendance is necessary if students are to make the desired and expected academic and social progress.
Absences and Excuses
Any student who misses school must present a written excuse signed by his/her parent. The excuse will contain such other information as directed by the administration. The school administration will keep all excuses confidential. If a student fails to bring a valid excuse to school, he/she will automatically receive an unexcused absence. If a student brings a false (or forged) excuse, his/her teacher must refer the student to the school administration for appropriate action. Students will be given an excused absence for the following reasons:
They are ill and their attendance in school would endanger their health or the health of others.
There is a death or serious illness in their immediate family.
There is a recognized religious holiday of their faith.
The student must appear in court or has an appointment with a legal officer and provides written verification.
The student has received prior approval by the principal or his/her designee to participate in a school-related activity.
The student has a medical or dental appointment.
The student encounters unusual circumstances as determined by the principal.
The district will consider students unlawfully absent under the following circumstances:
- They are willfully absent from school without the knowledge of their parent.
- They are absent without acceptable cause with the knowledge of their parents.
Students may be excused on a limited basis from a preplanned classroom activity or from selected portions of the established curriculum on the basis of a disability or for personal, religious or ethnic considerations.
A student who must leave school during the day must bring a note from his/her parent. A student who becomes ill during the school day should, with the teacher's permission, report to the school nurse. The school nurse will decide whether or not the student should be sent home and will notify the student's parent as appropriate.
Teachers will permit students to make up work missed during an absence as long as the student makes appropriate arrangements with the teacher no later than the student's fifth day back at school. The student must complete the work within (10) days after his/her return to school.
A child ages 6 to 17 meets the definition of a truant when the child has three consecutive unlawful absences or a total of five unlawful absences. A "habitual" truant is a child, ages 12 to 17 years, who fails to comply with the intervention plan developed by the school, the child, and the parent(s) or guardian(s) and who accumulates two or more additional unlawful absences. A "chronic" truant is a child, ages 12 to 17 years, who has been through the school intervention process, has reached the level of a "habitual" truant, has been referred to Family Court and placed on an order to attend school, and continues to accumulate unlawful absences.
Once a student is determined to be truant, or after three consecutive unlawful absences or a total of five unlawful absences occur, the attendance officer will attempt to identify the reasons for the student's continued absence and develop a plan in conjunction with the student and parent/guardian to improve future attendance. The attendance officer will develop a written intervention plan.