Attendance policy amended to provide students a second chance at participating

Graphic placeholder - Policy Update

The Knox County Board of Education took action to amend its current Absences and Excuses policy during their meeting on November 18.  The change will give students a “second chance” at participating in athletics, academic competitions, field trips, and other school events during the school year if they have accumulated six or more unexcused absences and/or 15 or more unexcused tardies.

Previously, once a student accumulated six unexcused absences and/or 20 unexcused tardies, they were no longer allowed to participate through the end of the school year – regardless of the length of time remaining or the date that they had accumulated the total.

The Board has released the following notification to students and their families on this policy change.  A copy of that notification follows.  The policy will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

This letter is to notify you of an amendment to our Absences and Excuses policy (09.123).  The Board has amended this policy to allow students a “second chance” at participating in activities if they have accumulated six or more unexcused days and/or twenty or more unexcused tardies.

The amendment provides for a “second chance” by establishing two attendance windows,  July-December and January-June. When a student has accumulated six (6) unexcused absences and/or fifteen (15) unexcused tardies within a single attendance window, he or she will not be allowed to participate in any school events (including, but not limited to, athletics, extracurricular field trips, dance, cheer, prom, and other club and organization trips that are not assessed) until the end of that attendance window.

Below are two scenarios of how a student could be impacted:

Scenario One:

Student-A misses 10 unexcused days in August.  From the 10th day in August through December,
Student-A may not participate in any extracurricular activities or events. On January 1, when Student-A returns to school, they will have a second chance and can participate.  As long as they don’t add 6 unexcused days and/or 15 unexcused tardies to their attendance record after January 1, they will be allowed to participate.

Scenario Two:

Student-B misses a total of 6 unexcused days between August and October.  As of the October date, Student-B is no longer eligible to participate.  If Student-B has been playing on any athletic or academic team they are now ineligible.  Student-B is ineligible to attend field trips, dances, and other events.

On January 1, when school resumes, Student-B has a second chance.  Beginning on that date, Student-B can participate and attend.  As long as Student-B doesn’t accumulate an additional 6 unexcused days and/or 15 unexcused tardies, Student-B can participate in athletics, academic teams, attend field trips, and participate in other events (ex: prom at the high school).

The amendment to this policy is for participation purposes only.  The student’s attendance record will continue to record all absences and tardies during the school yearthere is no reset on their school attendance.  Our existing truancy policies are not being changed and excessive absences and tardiness may result in legal action.

The Board also amended the make-up work section of policy 09.123. The change allows students to makeup missed work for both excused and unexcused absences (see bold text).  A complete excerpt of the amendment follows including sections of the policy that were removed (see strikethrough text):

Make-Up Work

Students are expected to accept responsibility for make‑up work missed for excused and unexcused absences. The number of days allowed to complete the work will be equal to the number of days missed. This includes, but not limited to, daily assignments, assessments, projects, and term papers.

Students are not entitled to make up daily work missed for absences because of suspension from school but are allowed to do the following:

1.      Take major tests, such as final examinations or unit tests, for credit upon returning from a suspension, and

2.      Hand in for credit major projects or term papers assigned before the period of suspension but due during the time the suspension occurred.

Work assigned and due during the suspension will not be accepted for credit.

This letter serves as notification of the amendments made to policy 09.123 by the Knox County Board of Education.  All changes will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

If you have questions about our attendance policy, please contact the attendance clerk at your child’s school.  If you have questions about the make-up work policy, please contact your child’s teacher or the school principal.  If you require additional assistance with questions, please contact our Central Office for support at 606-546-3157.