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
Absences from school may be excused or unexcused. Any student who is absent from school should present written excuse, signed by the parent or legal guardian within three days of the absence. After a student has been absent for more than five (5) consecutive school days or a cumulativee total of ten (10) school days per semester;, written verification from the physician regarding an illness or injury or a substantiating statement regarding a death or other reasons for absences is required.  Additonal verification may be required if it is deemed appropiate. State law requires an Official Notice of Unexcused Absence to be filedwith the Attendance Officer after five (5) unexcused absences. If a student is not enrolled within 15 calendar days after the first day of school or if a student has 12 unexcused absences, the parents are subject to prosecution according to state law. A student who is absent from school 15 consecutive days may be dropped from the roll, unless the school is notified by the parent or guardian.


With an excused absence, class makeup work must be completed within with 3 days upon the student returning to school. If a student has an extended absence due to illness or extenuating circumstances, approval may be granted for an extension to complete makeup work. However, all makeup work should be completed before the end of the current grading period.

If circumstances allow, parent/guardian should apprise the school in advance of the absence. Three parent notes will be considered for excused absences. Any parent notes beyond three will require additional documentation. After three parent notes, parents are required to attend an onsite conference with the school principal. Failure to attend the conference with the principal will result in an unexcused absence.

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. 

Leaving School Before Dismissal Time
When a student becomes ill or an emergency arises during the regular school day which may warrant early dismissal, the student must report to the principal's office. Before the student may be released from school, a parent, legal guardian, or person authorized by a parent (name listed on the sudent's locator card) must come to the school office and sign out. If the school requests that a student checks out for illness or injury, the absence will be considered excused for remainder of the school day.

In cases of divorce, it shall be the responsibility of the parent who receives legal custody of the child involved to place a file in the school a copy of the custody order. The child shall be released only to the parent having legal custody or to the parent having written authorization from the custodial parent. Written authorization must be filed with the school at the time or registration.

A student will be released for a doctor's appointment, dnetal appointment, or any other just reason when the parent, legala quardian, or person authorized by the parent comes to the school and signs the student out.


A student who leaves the school campus at any time must obtain permission from the principal and meet the requirements established under the check-out policy.

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 "unexcused" 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:

1. Attendance at an authorized school activity with the prior approval of the superintendent or his/her designee. A compulsory-school-age child participating in an authorized school activity with the prior approval of the superintendent of the school district, or his/her designee, is considered PRESENT for average daily attendance reporting purposes. The activities include, but are not limited to: official organized events sponsored by the 4-H; Future Farmers of America; Junior livestock shows; rodeo events; official employment as a page at the State Capital; subject-matter field trips; athletic contest; student conventions; music festivals or contest. A student's participation in an authorized school activity must be verified by one of the following: student schedule; class roster; or activity roster.  

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

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

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

5. A medical or dental appointment.

6. 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.

7. 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.)

8. 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.)

9. 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)