Attendance Policy Debunked

Editorial's Staff, Knight Life

Fatigue, intensifying pain throughout the body, sleep deprivation, and a pounding headache—all of which are symptoms of a chronic condition as well as the common flu. Chronic illnesses affect an estimated ten to fifteen percent of American children every year, and the flu affects about five to twenty percent of the United States population every year. As a result of a flare up from a chronic illness, disease or disability, a child will be left debilitated; however, many children attend school in those conditions to prevent absences. 

To elaborate further, if a student has acquired eight unexcused absences at school he or she can be dropped by one letter grade. This attendance policy could potentially affect students who are struggling to attain a specific grade in a class whether it is to meet certain requirements for higher education after high school or for graduation. 

Furthermore, the policy was implemented many years ago in order to ensure students attended school for a reasonable amount of days during the school year. Conversely, a student may exceed eight absences as long as they have been excused by the office. 

Contrary to students’ beliefs, those who are involved in clubs and sports are held to the same standard. A student who has missed school due to a club or sport is classified as “on a school function,” which isn’t counted as an absence. All students are held accountable for their grades and must make up their work, regardless of whether or not they are involved in extracurricular activities. 

On the other hand, students with a chronic illness, disease, or disability may be met with different circumstances due to their condition’s unpredictability. Students who suffer from those conditions may be granted some leniency when it comes to their attendance, as long as a doctor’s note can be provided upon their return or proof of their situation has been provided previously. 

According to Attendance Works, studies from the NAEP Analysis have shown that nearly five to seven million students will miss at least one month of school every year. Those studies have shown that poor attendance not only have an effect on students’ grades but also on their academic performance, behavior, mood and social-emotional factors as well. A student who has missed a considerable amount of school days will most likely have trouble comprehending the content, find themselves exhibiting negative behavior, have low self-esteem or confidence in social situations, and may see their grades continually decrease upon their return. 

Additionally, attendance has been shown to have a dramatic effect on graduation rates, the number of high school drop-outs, and on the number of students who can no longer meet the standards for advanced curriculum. 

Ultimately, the attendance policy allows for students to attain eight unexcused absences before their letter grade can be dropped, and students are not limited in their number of excused absences as long as they can be supported with reasonable cause. In addition, students who frequently miss school may find themselves suffering academically, emotionally, and behaviorally as a result.