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Principals to determine what events are school sponsored
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Principals will now get the final decision as to what is school sponsored and what is school related when it comes to student absences at their schools.
The decision was made after Director of Schools Bobby Cox said there needed to be more flexibility when it comes to allowing students to make trips that directly involve school.
“These are things like ballgames, competitions and college visits,” said Cox in pointing out some examples of what constitutes a school-sponsored absence. School related would be trips to the fair for a 4-H event or perhaps a church trip that had some kind of educational aspect.
Under the former rule, a student was limited to six school-sponsored events before their absences would be unexcused. The new chronic absenteeism initiative closely tracks absences. Students going over that number would have counted against school system absentee numbers.
Anything over 18 days of absence is considered chronic absenteeism. Cox noted that by placing the decision in the hands of principals and removing the cap would take care of the issue.
“A student could use six school-sponsored days just going to visit college campuses their senior year,” said School Board chair James Bennett, noting some students could use significantly more than the six that had been allotted.
“If they deem it school sponsored it won’t count against chronic absenteeism,” Cox said, adding the individual principals, as well as the school system itself, could track the number of absences for students to make sure the policy is not getting out of hand.