Georgia legislators have created several laws to encourage student attendance that are embedded in the attendance requirements. In addition, the Georgia Board of Education has adopted a policy on student attendance. The Forsyth County Board of Education policy and procedures reflects the state laws and Georgia Board of Education policy.
The Compulsory Education Law, O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.1, requires that every parent / guardian and every child who is 10 years or older by September 1 shall sign a statement indicating that they have been informed of the possible consequences and penalties associated with violations of the Compulsory Education Law.
Compulsory Attendance for Five-Year Olds
All children who are between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays and reside in Forsyth County shall enter school the opening date and attend school regularly. All children enrolled for 20 school days or more in a public school prior to their sixth birthday shall become subject to the compulsory attendance law even though they have not attained six years of age.
Excused absences are those designated by state law, State Board of Education policy, and Forsyth County School Board policy. Students may be excused for the following reasons:
- personal illness or attendance in school that endangers a student’s health or the health of others;
- a serious illness or death in their immediate family necessitates absence from school;
- a court order or an order by a governmental agency, including pre-induction physical examinations for service in the armed forces, mandating absence from school;
- the observance of religious holidays, necessitating absence from school;
- conditions rendering attendance impossible or hazardous to student health or safety;
- a scheduled medical, dental or eye examination of the student;
- registering to vote or voting, for a period not to exceed one day,
- visiting a parent or legal guardian who is in the military service in the armed forces and has been called to duty or is on leave from overseas deployment to a combat zone or combat support post. The student may be excused for a maximum of 5 days per school year.
A student who is absent, checks-in late, or checks-out early for other than one of the above reasons will be considered unexcused. Three unexcused late check-ins or early check-outs will be considered one unexcused absence.
Penalties for Students
- The Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act requires that a driver’s license shall not be issued or shall be revoked for a period of one year if a student is 14-17 years old and has (1) dropped out of school and remained out of school for ten consecutive days; (2) accumulated ten or more unexcused absences during the current academic year; (3) accumulated ten or more unexcused absences during the previous academic year; or (4) has been found guilty by a disciplinary tribunal of committing one or more of the offenses listed as violations of the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (See Code of Conduct for List).
- Charges may also be filed in Juvenile Court or State Court on students who do not comply with the Compulsory Education Law.
Possible Consequences and Penalties for Parents
A parent / guardian who violates the Compulsory Education Law shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be subject per violation to a fine not less than $25.00 and not greater than $100.00, imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, community service, or any combination of such penalties at the discretion of the court having jurisdiction. Each day’s unexcused absence beyond five unexcused absences constitutes one violation.
A parent / guardian may be subject to Educational Neglect charges filed in Juvenile Court.
Parents Responsibilities: It is the responsibility of the parent / guardian to notify the school in writing of the date and reason for the absence within 5 school days of the absence. The parent / guardian must note the student’s name, the date(s) of absence(s), and the reason for the absence. If a student is being checked-in or checked-out for a doctor’s appointment, a physician’s note or appointment card is required to be considered excused. Students with excessive absences may be required to present a note from a doctor or the Health Department to be considered excused.
School System's Responsibilities: If the school system is made aware that a child between the ages of six and sixteen or any child who has enrolled for twenty school days or more in a public school prior to their sixth birthday is not enrolled in public school, private school, or a home study program, the Superintendent has the authority and responsibility to file proceedings in court to enforce the mandatory education laws.
- Mandatory Education for Children Between Ages 6 and 16 – O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.1
- Student Attendance Protocol Committee – O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.2
- Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act – O.C.G.A. 40-5-22
Georgia School Board Policy
Forsyth County Board Policy