School Policy

Attendance and Loss of Privileges

All information regarding attendance is taken from the Code of Conduct of Pasco County Schools and the J W Mitchell High School Student Planner.

1. Rules of School Attendance

Students will attend school on a regular basis.  The procedure for reporting an absence is outlined in the section titled “To Report an Absence”.

The following are acceptable reasons for a student’s absences:

1)  Illness of student. If a child sees a doctor for the illness, please submit a doctor’s note so that it does not count against loss of privilege.

2)  Major illness in the immediate family of the student (immediate family is determined as parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, legal guardians or persons in loco parentis, or a member of one’s own household).  Please send in a doctor’s note documenting the illness so that it will not count against loss of privilege.

3)  Death in the immediate family of the student.

4)  Religious holiday of the student’s faith (including: Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Epiphany).

5)  Religious institutes, conferences, or workshops, provided that the principal approves the absence in advance.

6)  Absences for trips or other parental requests as judged appropriate for the student by the principal, provided that the requests are approved in advance.

7)  In-School Suspension.

8)  Subpoena or forced absence by any law enforcement agency, provided that the student is not under immediate suspension from school.  A copy of the subpoena or court summons must be presented to the principal. Please submit the subpoena or court documentation regarding the absence so that it will not count against loss of privilege.

For purposes of attendance, school related activities would not be counted as absences from class. Loss of Privilege information can be found below.

2. Middle/High School Attendance & Academic Success

School attendance and active participation in class are extremely important to learning and success and making good grades. Only unexcused absences may result in no opportunity for make up of tests, homework, and other assignments for the day.  Each teacher shall establish a set policy for make-up work and a grading system and shall submit a written description of his/her grading system to the principal and students at the beginning of the course.

3. Make-up Work for Excused Absences

Excused absences guarantee students the right to make up work assigned on the day[s] of absence at full credit.  The student is responsible for asking the teacher for assignments and make-up tests within two (2) class meetings with the teacher.  The teacher shall specify a reasonable period of time for completion of make-up work.  In no case shall the time be less than one full calendar day for each day missed.   Work due to be turned in on the day of the excused absence will be turned in on return and be given full credit.  The principal shall have the authority to modify these conditions with a confirmed hardship.

4. To Report an Absence

Schools shall require written explanations from parents/guardians when students are absent.  Parents should notify the school of a student’s absence and the reason for the absence with the appropriate note by the first day of a student’s return to school. Types of appropriate notes include parent notes, doctor notes, or court paperwork.  Please review the section titled “Attendance and Loss of Privilege” for a more detailed explanation of which absences will not count towards loss of privilege and/or the rules of thumb listed below.

Parent notes regarding absences will be marked as excused; however, they will count towards loss of privilege. In order for an absences to not count towards loss of privilege, please follow the following rules of thumb.

         – If a child sees a doctor for the illness, please submit a doctor’s note so that it does not count against loss of privilege.

        – If a family member is ill, please send in a doctor’s note documenting the illness of the family member so that it will not count against loss of privilege.

        – If a student must attend court, please submit the subpoena or court documentation regarding the absence so that it will not count against loss of privilege.

All other absences from school shall be considered unexcused and shall be dealt with according to the Code of Student Conduct.  Failure to provide requested documentation will result in unexcused absences.

5. Monitoring of Attendance

Each school will develop a plan detailing how attendance will be monitored.  This plan will be sent to the Superintendent, or his/her designee, prior to the start of each school year for approval.  The plan will address the following guidelines:

1)  Procedures for following up student absenteeism.  Absences should be checked every day, at least by random telephone calls.

2)  Procedures for identifying students who skip class, are tardy to class, or who check out of school with permission during the school day.

3)  Plan for counseling or punishment for truancy as designated by the Code of Student Conduct. Each school shall also maintain accurate automated attendance registers, including annual summary data on student attendance.

The Pasco County School District uses eSembler as a tool for parents to monitor student achievement and attendance; however the official attendance is kept on an internal database by the school.

6. Attendance Awards

A student has perfect attendance for the year if the student has been in school every day for 180 days. With a note from the parent, official religious holidays will not be counted against perfect attendance. In addition, schools may give awards for outstanding attendance according to the school’s attendance monitoring plan.

7. Truancy and Excessive Absences

Parents will be advised if their child is considered truant or has excessive absences. If a student is determined to be chronically truant or demonstrating a apatter of non-attendance as required by F.S. 1003.26(1)(b), a referral will be made to the School Based Intervention Team (S-BIT). In some cases the student and/or parent may also be referred to the Office of the State Attorney’s Truancy Intervention Program (TIP), or a Children in Needs of Services/Family in Needs of Services (CINS/FINS) petition could be filed.

8. Unexcused Absences, School Related Activities, and Parking

If a student record exceeds five unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a calendar month or 10 unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a 90 day calendar period, the student will lose the privilege of participating in extracurricular activities open only to students. These include but are not limited to field trips, dances, special events, club activities and participation in athletics, until the end of the following grading period/quarter. In addition, a student who drives on campus will have that privilege revoked until the end of the following grading period/quarter. If this occurs during the fourth quarter of the school year, the privileges would be lost for the first quarter of the following school year. The principal or designee may review extenuating circumstances brought forth by a parent/guardian. The principal’s decision is final.

Florida Statute 1003.26

The Florida Legislature has enacted F.S. 322.091(1), which provides that minors (ages 14 – 18) satisfy school attendance requirements in order to apply for or maintain their driving privileges. The principal or designee will notify the District School Board of Pasco county of those students who accumulate 15 unexcused absences or absences for which the reasons are unknown, in a period of (90) calendar days. The school superintendent or designee is then required to submit to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) the names of the students along with their dates of birth, sex, and social security numbers. For the purposes of maintaining the right to drive, days of suspension from school will not be forwarded to the DHSMV as unexcused.

If a student’s name is sent to the DHSMV for lack of attendance, then the student is in danger of having the current privilege or drive suspended, or for students who are under age 16, having their application for licensure denied. Hardship waiver hearings will be available in cases where the driver has been notified by SHSMV that the license will be suspended.  Following a license suspension by DHSMV, the driving privilege may be reinstated if the student submits written verification to the DHSMV that the student has completed 30 days of attendance in school without an unexcused absence.

9. Procedures for Checking In or Out of School

Students who come to campus late or need to leave campus early MUST provide parental permission to have done so.

Procedure for Checking In to School

1)Students should report to the Front Counter of the Main Office upon arriving at school.

2)Students should provide documentation for excuse of tardiness. Determination of the type of absence will be done by the Attendance Secretary.

3)An Admission/Check-In pass will be issued by the Front Desk Secretary/Receptionist.

4)Students should show this pass to all of the teachers for missed classes.

5) If a child sees a doctor when he/she signs out of school, please submit a doctor’s note so that it does not count against loss of privilege.

Procedure for Checking Out of School

1)Students MUST provide parental permission in the forms of a note with a contact phone number to the Attendance Secretary. All requests for students to leave early MUST be verified through telephone or personal contact for the request to be approved.

2)A Check-Out pass will be issued by the Attendance Secretary with the time and date of early release.

3)Students should present this pass to their teachers at the time of their release.

4) If a child sees a doctor when he/she signs out of school, please submit a doctor’s note so that it does not count against loss of privilege.

Students that are 18 years of age and wish to sign themselves out, must have court documents on file with the Guidance Department stating that they are emancipated and no longer living at home.