3OYS: Unexcused absences? - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3OYS: Unexcused absences?

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Shantrell Hopes says she's not the type of parent that keeps her child out of school for frivolous reasons.

"I care about my child's education," said Hopes.

So Hopes was stunned and angry when she received a warning from the Mississippi Department of Education in the mail last week. It states her third grade daughter had racked up five unexcused absences from Boyd Elementary School. Hopes said in each instance she's sent a note explaining the absence.

"When you have a note you put it in your kid's homework; you assume she's gonna get it out. That's what the state handbook says to do," Hopes said.

Hopes showed us a document to prove that at least one of the absences was due to a doctor's appointment. But Hopes believes her daughter's teacher has neglected to submit any of the excuse notes to the principal's office.

"I don't think it's fair to receive a letter like this if we're doing our part, and the teachers, they're in turn throwing them away, putting them down. It's not getting to the proper place," she said.

Hopes said she tried to call one of the district's elementary school superintendents. She's also spoken to Boyd's principal, Julia Harris-Brown.

"The principal in turn says the state did an audit. Boyd got cited for absences. She's asking the state for leniency," Hopes said.

Jackson Public Schools Spokesperson Peggy Hampton said she will have one of the elementary superintendents call Hopes to get the issue resolved.

Hopes isn't worried she'll be hauled into court, she's just a bit offended.

"I appreciate the formalities they take for attendance, but it's an unnecessary letter if I'm doing what I'm supposed to do," she said.

Mississippi law defines the following as excused absences: illness or injury, death or serious illness of an immediate family member, medical and dental appointments that are approved beforehand, court proceedings which the child is part of, some religious observances, some vacations if they're demonstrated educational opportunities and other demonstrated needs.

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