School policy cracks down on school attendance

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education plans to crack down on how much time Louisiana students are allowed to miss this upcoming 2010-2011 school year.

According to a new BESE policy, students are required to be in class for a total of 94 percent of scheduled days.

In Calcasieu Parish, high school students cannot miss more than 5 instructional days per semester and elementary students cannot miss more than 10 instructional days per year.

School officials said this new percentage is half as much as what students were allowed to miss last school year.

For the 2009-2010 school year, high school students were allowed to miss 10 days per semester and elementary students were given 20 days per year.

"We plan to enforce it, to the maximum effect," said Keith Leleux, Director for Child Welfare and Attendance in Calcasieu Parish.

Leleux enforces that these days are not vacation days as they only account for extenuating circumstances such as illness, death in the family, family in the military, or any other excuse approved by the district.

"These are only the days you can miss before you are denied credit," said Leleux.

Through this new law students will be denied credit for classes they miss beginning with their 6th day.

Leleux also said in some circumstances parents are held accountable.

"There have been times when we referred parents and the child to the court system and had the courts decide whether or not the parents violated the law," said Leleux.

Officials also said they hope this new policy will boost school performance in Calcasieu Parish.

"If you will notice most students that do not do well in the classroom have an attendance problem," said Leleux. "It goes hand in hand."

For more information on the school attendance policy click on "BESE" to the right.

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