Every day counts – Part II

Published 1:58 pm Monday, September 3, 2018

Alabama law requires children ages six through 17 to attend school.  Attending school daily is a necessity for our scholars to succeed academically.  Missing school can lead to difficulties for a student academically, socially and even emotionally.  Children cannot learn if they are not in school.  Aside from this fact, it’s also the law.

Did you know that students who are unlawfully absent from school or who are habitually truant may be reported to truancy court?  Upon repeat offenses, a warrant may be issued for the parent or guardian’s arrest.  Attending school is that serious.

In Selma City Schools, a student is considered truant after he or she has more than 4 unexcused absences.  An early warning letter is sent to the parent/guardian after the third unexcused absence.  Our goal is to inform the parent and to support so that attendance is improved.  We also make every effort to conference with the parent and student prior to referral to the truant officer.  Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to refer the parent to truancy court and the student to juvenile court.  This occurs after the 6th unexcused absence.

These punitive measures would not be needed if students attended school regularly or brought a written excuse for legitimate absences.  During the month of September and throughout the school year, we are promoting school attendance.  Our campaign, Don’t Count Me Out is currently underway. 

During this month listen for our public service announcements on WHBB 1490 AM.  All of our schools are also excited about promoting school attendance.  Kickoff ceremonies will take place this week.  Pep rallies for attendance are a great way to motivate our scholars!  Be sure to check out our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and ways that you can get involved in this important campaign.

We believe that school attendance is a community issue.  Help us out by encouraging school attendance and sharing important facts about why it matters.  Here are a few.  By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.  Students who live in communities with high levels of poverty are four times more likely to be chronically absent.  Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade or be retained.  There’s plenty more valuable information at attendanceworks.org.

Stay tuned in and you will hear more about Don’t Count Me Out because at Selma City Schools we are committed to improving school attendance.  Every day counts!

For more information please reach out to me at avis.williams@selmacityschools.org.