Attendance Policies

The Meridian Public School District supports the philosophy that the instructional
program is the vital part of formal education. Experience has shown that a high
quality of work is virtually impossible with regular attendance. Students are
expected to attend school at all times when school is in session.

Students must have on file in the office of student personnel, current and valid personal data/emergency contact information. False information provided for parent contacts may result in disciplinary actions.

Mississippi Law requires all persons between the ages 6 and 17 to enroll and attend school. If a child has not attained that age of 17 on or before Sept. 1 the child is compulsory.

The MPSD classifies all absences in all schools as unexcused except for the following reasons:

  • A school activity
  • Isolation by the State Board of Health
  • Death or serious illness of family member
  • Illness of student provided that a note from parent/guardian/doctor is turned in to the school following the absence
  • Medical appointment (documented)
  • Court proceeding
  • Religion required absence with prior approval from superintendent
  • Other absences previously approved by the superintendent

Consequences for failure to comply with the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law may include:

1. If a student has five unexcused absences, the school is required to report the absences to the school attendance officer.

2. The school attendance officer will attempt to get the student back into school by contacting and working with the parents/guardians.

3. If the student does not return to school as requested, the school attendance officer will file an action in Youth Court against the student and/or the parents/guardians and order the student back to school.

If a compulsory-school-age child has not been enrolled in a school within fifteen (15) calendar days after the first day of the school year of which such child is eligible to attend or if a compulsory-school-age child has accumulated five (5) unexcused absences during the school year, the principal or superintendent will report such absences to the school attendance officer of the youth court or family court.  

Parents of a compulsory-school-age child who has not been enrolled in school within eighteen (18) calendar days after the first day of the school year of the public school which such child is eligible to attend or parents of a compulsory-school-age child who has accumulated twelve (12) unexcused absences during the school year are subject to prosecution under the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law. School attendance is considered an important responsibility of the student and parents.

Parents are requested to contact the school on each day the student is absent from classes. In cases of unreported absences, school personnel will attempt to contact the parent. Meridian High School uses a computer system to call the primary number listed in the file every day that a student has an unverified or unexcused absence.

ABSENCES
Consistent with the mission of the MPSD, prompt and regular attendance in all classes is an important goal of the district staff.

All students who are enrolled at Meridian High School are required to attend all assigned classes on a daily basis.

Students who do not follow their schedule are considered truant. Students missing ten or more minutes from a class will be considered absent. If the student does not have a valid excuse he/she will be considered truant.

Procedure for Parents and Students
Absences are considered unexcused until information is provided to the school that meets the criteria of an excused absence.

All absences must be substantiated by a phone call from the parent/guardian by 1:00 on the day of the absences, or a written excuse from the parent/guardian by 9:00 on the day after an absence containing the home, work, and/or cell telephone number. Failure to comply with this policy will result in the absence being unexcused and class work and tests for the missed classes may not be made up. An unexcused absence may be for a period or any part of or the entire school day.

Unlawful Absences/Valid Excuses
An "unlawful absence" is an absence during a school day by a compulsory-school-age child, which absence is not due to a valid excuse for temporary nonattendance. Days missed from school due to disciplinary suspension shall be considered an "excused" absence under this section.

Each of the following shall constitute a valid excuse for temporary nonattendance, provided satisfactory evidence of the excuse is provided to the superintendent or his
designee:

a. Attendance at an authorized school activity with the prior approval of the superintendent or his/her designee.

b. Illness or injury which prevents the student from being physically able to attend school.

c. When isolation is ordered by the county health officer, by the State Board of Health or appropriate school official.

d. Death or serious illness of a member of the immediate family, which includes children, spouse, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, stepbrothers and stepsisters.

e. A medical or dental appointment with prior approval of the superintendent or his/her designee, except in the case of emergency.

f. Attendance at the proceedings of a court or an administrative tribunal if the student is a party to the action or under subpoena as a witness.

g. Observance of a religious event, with the prior approval of the superintendent or his/her designee. (Approval should not be withheld unless, in the professional judgment of the superintendent or his/her designee, the extent of the absence would adversely affect the student's education.)

h. Participation in a valid educational opportunity, such as travel including vacations or other family travel, with the prior approval of the superintendent or his/her designee. (Approval shall be based on the professional judgment of the superintendent or his/her designee but shall not be withheld unless the extent of the absence would adversely affect the student's education.)

i. Other conditions sufficient to warrant nonattendance, with prior approval of the superintendent or his/her designee. However, no absences shall be excused when any student suspensions or expulsions circumvent the intent and spirit of the compulsory attendance law. §37-13-91 (4)

63% ATTENDANCE LAW
For the purpose of determining and reporting attendance, a pupil must be present for at least sixty-three percent (63) of his/her instructional day, as fixed by the local school board, and defined by the student's schedule, in order to be considered present for the full-day attendance. 
 

HOMEBOUND
When it becomes apparent that a student will be absent for an extended period of time (5 or more consecutive days) due to illness and/or hospitalization, the student may be classified as HOMEBOUND and will not be counted as absent for attendance reporting purposes. The student must be reevaluated for homebound status every three weeks.

This classification must be verified by a doctor's statement, approved by the student's counselor, and include a written plan for helping the student to stay current in his/her class work. Homebound status does not excuse the student from making up all class work missed. Failure to conform to the attendance policy may result in a failing grade in each class that exceeds the number of absent days allotted.

MAKE-UP WORK
It is the responsibility of the student to contact the teacher to make arrangements to complete make-up work from an excused absence. As a general rule one absence would require one day to make up any work missed. Normally make-up work should be completed outside of regular instructional time. This can be done at the teacher's discretion.

Any work missed for an unverified or unexcused absence can not be made up and a zero shall be recorded.

Student absences resulting from officially approved school business will not be counted against the student. In such an instance, make-up work should be pre-arranged.

Students who are suspended from school will not be allowed to make-up work.