- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln school officials tried to ease some parents’ concerns about the district’s new attendance policy.

The district sent an electronic message to all parents explaining that the new student information system has just two categories for absences: excused and unexcused. Some parents sent emails and called district officials to express concerns over whether they could continue to excuse their children from school for reasons such as illness.

The district’s policy says school-excused absences include those caused by “impossible or impracticable barriers outside the control of the parent or child.” Those include doctor-documented illnesses. Everything else, both truancies and parent-approved absences, falls into the unexcused category.

“We have some parents that are frustrated because the perception is in their eyes that they can no longer excuse their students from school,” said East High School Principal Sue Cassata.

But that perception is untrue, according to student services director Russ Uhing. He told the Lincoln Journal Star that (https://bit.ly/1qlfXis ) that the district has always counted parent-approved absences, including illnesses and vacations, as part of Nebraska’s excessive absenteeism law.

District officials do not expect to get a doctor’s note every time students get sick and the district understands some students also miss school to tour colleges or go on family vacations. But it is important that parents tell school officials why their child is gone from class, Uhing said.

School officials will still keep track of the reasons for parent-approved absences. Repeated absences will now prompt meetings with parents to discuss plans on how to improve attendance, Uhing said.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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