Lowndes County Looks at Attendance Policy

Perhaps it was Ferris Bueller who perfected the art of skipping school, but with a new state mandated attendance policy in place, the days of playing hooky are gone.

For the last year, county school systems have been cracking down on student absences, and the results have been impressive.

Sharon Galloway, an attendance committee member, says, "One of our schools that did not make AYP on attendance last year, where the number of their percentage of kids missing 15 or more days was 14.9. To date it’s like 2.1, so we've seen a great turnaround."

It's part of Georgia's "No Child Left Behind" campaign, and it's faced some tough criticism from many parents who say the new policy is sending good kids with legit excuses to court, but educators say that's not its purpose.

CAPT J.D. Yeager of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office says, "If your child's sick and has to stay home in the bed, then sure mine are going to too, but if that's not the case, the parents are mandated by the law that says if you don't send your child to school then you'll be the one that suffers."

School officials say they'll work with parents to make the new attendance transition a smooth one.

Sandra Wilcher, a school social worker, says, "Sometimes when we do investigate these situations we may find there are things as a school system we could do better."

It is all part of the process to finalize the new attendance policy in time for the next school year.

Currently, students and their parents will go to court for five unexcused absences. They receive a call from a social worker if they have 10 or more excused absences.