Alabama Law Section 16-28-12
Person in loco parentis responsible for child's school attendance and behavior; noncompliance; local boards to promulgate written behavior policy, contents, annual distribution, receipt to be documented; school officials required to report noncompliance; failure to report suspected violation; district attorneys vigorously to enforce provisions.
(a) Each parent, guardian, or other person having control or custody of any child required to attend school or receive regular instruction by a private tutor who fails to have the child enrolled in school or who fails to send the child to school, or have him or her instructed by a private tutor during the time the child is required to attend a public school, private school, church school, denominational school, or parochial school, or be instructed by a private tutor, or fails to require the child to regularly attend the school or tutor, or fails to compel the child to properly conduct himself or herself as a pupil in any public school in accordance with the written policy on school behavior adopted by the local board of education pursuant to this section and documented by the appropriate school official which conduct may result in the suspension of the pupil, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars ($100) and may also be sentenced to hard labor for the county for not more than 90 days. The absence of a child without the consent of the principal teacher of the public school he or she attends or should attend, or of the tutor who instructs or should instruct the child, shall be prima facie evidence of the violation of this section.
(b) Each local public board of education shall adopt a written policy for its standards on school behavior. Each local public school superintendent shall provide at the commencement of each academic year a copy of the written policy on school behavior to each parent, guardian, or other person having care or control of a child who is enrolled. Included in the written policy shall be a copy of this section. The signature of the student and the parent, guardian, or other person having control or custody of the child shall document receipt of the policy.
(c) Any parent, guardian, or other person having control or custody of any child enrolled in public school who fails to require the child to regularly attend the school or tutor, or fails to compel the child to properly conduct himself or herself as a pupil in accordance with the written policy on school behavior adopted by the local board of education and documented by the appropriate school official which conduct may result in the suspension of the pupil, shall be reported by the principal to the superintendent of education of the school system in which the suspected violation occurred. The superintendent of education or his or her designee shall report suspected violations to the district attorney within 10 days. Any principal or superintendent of education or his or her designee intentionally failing to report a suspected violation shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. The district attorney shall vigorously enforce this section to ensure proper conduct and required attendance by any child enrolled in public school.
(School Code 1927, §305; Code 1940, T. 52, §302; Acts 1993, No. 93-672, p. 1213, §1; Acts 1994, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 94-782, p. 70, §1.)
Class Attendance, Tardies, and Absences
School attendance is required of all children. Students are expected to report to school on time and attend school the full day. All students are subject to the same attendance policies. Parents should make every effort to schedule doctors' and dentists' appointments after school hours. Absences and tardies are either excused or unexcused. Note: It is the parent's responsibility to provide school and court officials the correct mailing address and telephone number. Any changes made during the school year need to be sent in writing to school and juvenile court officials.
"Excused Absences and Tardies" are defined as the following:
1. Student illness - Students who are sick and whose illness would endanger their health and the health of others. A doctor's excuse may be required. 2. Serious Family Illness - Students in whose immediate family there is a serious illness that would reasonably necessitate the absence of a student. 3. Death in the Immediate Family - Students in whose immediate family there has occurred a recent death may be temporarily excused from school for a reasonable length of time. 4. Professional Appointments - Will be excused with note from the doctor. 5. School Sponsored Activities - Students shall be marked present when participating in a school sponsored activity away from the school building. However, any work missed must be made up. 6. Family Emergency/Crisis - Students will be excused when their absence is beyond their control and due to a family emergency/crisis as determined by a school administrator. 7. School Closing - Weather or emergency. 8. Legal - Will be excused with documents from court officials. 9. Permission from the principal.
"Unexcused Absences and tardies" are defined as the following:
An absence or tardy for a reason not covered in the provision described under "Excused Absences and Tardies" will be unexcused (example: Overslept, traffic, missed bus, etc.) It is the parents' responsibility to see that their children attend school regularly and to provide evidence for an excused absence when an absence is necessary. A phone call to the school about an absence is not sufficient documentation. The State of Alabama requires a written note on file within 3 days upon a student's initial return to school. Each note must contain the following:
- Child's full name
- Date to be excused
- Reason for absence
- Phone number to contact parent/guardian
- Signature of parent or doctor
All notes will be kept on file and marked valid or invalid upon date and time of receiving the note. When school officials do not know the reason for an absence, they must assume that it is unexcused.
Students must attend 51% of the day to be counted present for the day. Parents or their designee must present a written explanation and sign their children in or out of school at the office when checking in or out.
Three excused tardies (check-ins and/or checkouts) will be considered one (1) excused absence. Three unexcused check-ins or check-outs will be considered one (1) day of unexcused absence counted toward the truancy program. Students with fifteen unexcused tardies or any combination of unexcused tardies/unexcused absences that accumulate will be referred as appropriate to the Truancy Program.
Parents will be notified of unexcused absences by letter, per the following:
1. First unexcused absence - a letter will be mailed to the student's home. Letter will be sent to the address on record at school. If a student's address changes during the school year, parents must inform school officials immediately.
2. Third unexcused absence - a letter will be mailed to the student's home requesting a parent conference to clarify any unexcused absences and inform parents of consequences of future unexcused absences. Every effort will be made by parents and school officials to address issues in this conference.
3. Fifth unexcused absence - School officials will file a truancy complaint with juvenile court officials. Juvenile court officials will send a letter to the student's home informing them that a truancy complaint has been filed in juvenile court. Court officials will notify parents of the date and time of the School/Court Early Warning Meeting.
4. Seventh unexcused absence - School officials will sign a warrant on parents of students in elementary school through grade 6. School officials will file a petition in juvenile court on students in grades 7-12.
5. Ten or more unexcused absences will result in contributing to the delinquency charge being filed against the parent(s) or guardian(s) of all students.
Important: School officials will follow procedures for School/Court Early Warning meeting before filing a complaint or a warrant. Students and parents will have the opportunity to attend the School/Court Early Warning Meeting only one time during the student's school career.
For example, if a student and parent attended the School/Court Early Warning Meeting when the student was in the seventh grade, and then the student has accumulated five unexcused absences in the ninth grade, the student and parent will not attend the School/Court Early Warning Meeting at that time. However, if that student reaches seven unexcused absences during that same school year, a petition will be filed on the student and/or a warrant will be signed on the parent/guardian.