School Board To Vote On Change In Attendance Policy Thursday

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2024
  • Hannah Campbell

The Hamilton County School Board policy committee considered several changes regarding attendance which will be brought to a vote at the next school board meeting on Thursday.

A new attendance supervisor position is charged with the new job of “Ensuring that all school-age children attend school.”

Excuses for absences and tardies also must be “documented” after they are submitted.

The revised policy will no longer render a student ineligible for a driver’s permit or license for 15 total or 10 consecutive unexcused absences during a semester. The Progressive Truancy Plan will be altered to require a conference with a student and guardian after just three unexcused absences, not five, to sign a personalized contract describing expectations and penalties for more unexcused absences.

A policy for chronic absenteeism removes “referral to a school-based teen court” as a penalty.

School admission and state-required vaccinations

School board member Gary Kuehn asked for a way to evaluate risk to unvaccinated students as tuberculosis and whooping cough have resurfaced nationally, he said.

The board discussed that undocumented immigrants or homeless students may not provide health records regarding state-required immunizations, making data incomplete.

“How many illegals do we have in Hamilton County Schools right now?” asked school board Chairman Joe Smith.

Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson said Hamilton County Schools does not tally undocumented immigrants. Though that population has not spiked recently, he said, it has certainly grown over the last five years.

“We can’t delay their placement,” said Chief Equity Officer Dr. Marsha Drake. “We can’t, say, send them away because they don’t have it,” she said. “We can ask for it.”

Board member Jill Black suggested that some schools host summer vaccination clinics with the Health Department. “That is where they feel safest interacting with government,” she said.

 

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