Thursday, August 05, 1999

School may refuse credits for missed classes

Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — Students who miss too many days of classes at Fairfield Senior High School may wind up missing something else — credit for the course.

        Principal Monica Mitter is reworking a procedure to ad dress excessive absences following recent comments from the school board on her draft proposal.

        Under board policy, students in grades 9-12 may not miss more than eight days of classes each semester, and no more than 16 during an academic year.

        Those who do may be de nied credit for the course, even if the work is made up. Although the policy gave school officials the right to deny credit last year, it wasn't used because administrators were wrestling with how it could be implemented, Mrs. Mitter said.

        “We don't want to make it so subjective to the point that some get credit and others don't. That would cause endless problems and complications,” said board member Ben Hubbard.

        Under the original proposal, a parent could appeal the decision not to grant credit for

        one or more classes to an attendance review committee. That committee would consist of teachers, the school nurse, counselors, administrators and attendance officers.

        A revised draft Mrs. Mitter has submitted to assistant superintendent Cathy Milligan requires that a review committee gather information, but the final decision will be made by the principal as requested by board members.

        “It's important for students to know we won't let them be absent for frivolous reasons,” Ms. Mitter said. “There are limits and consequences. There will be a penalty. But sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, and we have to be sensitive to those as well.”

        A parental request to grant credit for more than eight days of absence will be considered and reviewed by the committee only if the student has missed school for one of seven allowable reasons, Mrs. Mitter said. They are:

        • Personal illness.

        • Serious illness in the student's family.

        • A death in the family.

        • Quarantine for contagious disease.

        • Observance of nationally recognized religious holidays.

        • School-authorized college visit (limited to three a year).

        • Court appearances.

        If the policy is implemented, it would not affect a large number of students, Mrs. Mitter said. But it is one more tool for administrators to make sure students come to school. The board is expected to review the revised plan and act on it at the Aug. 19 meeting, Mrs. Milligan said.


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