Board Set To Vote On Revisions In Policy On School Absences

April 22, 1992|By Donna Boller | Donna Boller,Staff writer

The county school board is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a revised attendance policy designed to meet state objections to its five days ayear of excused student absences "at parental discretion."

The policy went back to the drawing board in February after state Department of Education officials objected that five days of absences for reasons such as college visits or family trips didn't fit the state's list of authorized absences.

The board is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. at the Department of Education, 10910 Route 108, Ellicott City.

Compromise language in therevised version allows excused absences for an "other emergency or set of circumstances which, in the judgment of the superintendent or his designee, constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence fromschool. For example: A student may lawfully miss no more than five days per year for a purpose determined by a parent, guardian or caretaker."

The change appears likely to satisfy the state's reviewers, but Centennial High School parent Ellen Rennels, who served on the attendance policy committee, has some reservations.

"I think it weakens the intent," Rennels, who is also first vice president of the county PTA council, told council delegates this month. She said the original idea of leaves for college visits or family trips could be preserved if the board specified the absences as "other" rather than as examples of the type of circumstances the superintendent can consider for an excused absence.

Changes in the policy will also deny students credit for making up work they miss while cutting classes, an abuse that school officials discovered after the policy went into effect at the start of this school year.

Another revision gives teachers the right to penalize students for tardiness in turning in make-up work after an excused absence.

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