State Board Policy
DESCRIPTOR TERM: Reporting Unexcused Absences
ADOPTION DATE: 1998
REVISION: January, 2011
Pursuant to Mississippi Code 37-9-14(2)(u), School District Superintendents are “to comply in a timely manner with the compulsory education reporting requirements prescribed in Section 37-13-92(6). Based on Section 37-13-91(6), the school district superintendent or his/her designee, shall report, within two (2) school days or within five (5) calendar days, whichever is less, the absences to the school attendance officers. Therefore, pursuant to Section 37-13-85(o), provides that the MDE shall adopt any other policies that the office deems necessary for the enforcement of the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law; however, the policies or guidelines shall not add or contradict with the requirements of Section 37-13-91.
The State Department of Education shall prescribe a uniform method for schools to utilize in reporting the unlawful absences to the school attendance officer. The superintendent, or his designee, also shall report any student suspensions or student expulsions to the school attendance officer when they occur and code them as “unexcused absences”. However, these absences will not be counted towards a student being identified as truant.
If a district superintendent fails to comply with the above statute, the following may occur:
- The School Attendance Officer may present evidence to the Director of the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement that a school superintendent has failed to report unexcused absences in a timely manner. Such a report must be in writing and supported by written evidence.
- If no action is warranted, the Director of the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement will notify the School Attendance Officer in writing of the determination.
- If further action is warranted, the Director of the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement may recommend to the State Superintendent of Education or his/her designee, downgrading of the district's accreditation status.
- When information on file in the Mississippi Department of Education indicates that a school district may be in violation of a state law, the superintendent of the district will be informed in writing by appropriate staff in the Department responsible for monitoring compliance with of the compulsory school attendance law.
- School district officials will be given thirty (30) days from the date of receipt of notification to provide a written response verifying accuracy or inaccuracy of the notice of possible noncompliance with the compulsory school attendance law. If the written response includes appropriate evidence to correct or refute the alleged violation, the superintendent of the district will be notified by appropriate staff.
- The appropriate staff member in the Office of Accreditation will notify the superintendent of the district in writing of the verified violation. Although the accreditation status of the district may not be subject to change until the next assignment of annual district status, the superintendent is required to provide a written response specifying how and when the violation will be corrected.