This week’s topic discusses student attendance, tardies and truancy in the Lonoke School District. A tardy is when a student is late to school or class. In the secondary schools, when a student is less than 10 minutes late to class it is considered a tardy; if a student is more than 10 minutes late, it is considered an absence for that class. A truant student is a student that is absent from school or class with no apparent reason and has decided to not attend school or show up for a class or classes. Parents or guardians should refer to the student handbook to review our policies and procedures regarding attendance.

It is vital for students to attend school when it is in session. Classes begin at 8 a.m. Valuable learning is lost when students are absent, tardy or truant. Lonoke Public Schools has a system in place to try and prevent truancy issues. If your child is ill or has an appointment that cannot be scheduled for after school hours, please contact the school that your child attends and let the office know, as well as sending documentation upon returning. This will help our efforts tremendously. The administrative staff and the school resource officers will be working cooperatively together to address truancy issues. When investigating a student’s truancy, if phone contacts are not successful, home visits may be made. Truancy Affidavits may be filed on any student that has excessive tardies, truancies or absences. This petition is filed with the Circuit Court and Juvenile Division of Lonoke County. Parents or guardians, as well as the student, must appear before the judge for questioning with possible penalties to the student and/or parent. Excessive absenteeism will affect student credit and/or graduation for students in grades 9-12 and can also affect students being passed on to another grade due to missing too many school days.

Attendance is important to all students’ overall school success. Increasing student attendance and lowering absenteeism and tardiness is a goal at Lonoke Public Schools. We have and will continue to work hard in this area to make improvements. We need the help of our parents and grandparents in this matter. Please schedule appointments and activities after school hours as much as possible to avoid loss of instructional time. Please help us by ensuring that your child is at school each day that is possible and is on time. Checking students out early can create a loss in instructional time also. Please limit early check-outs as much as possible.

The school system appreciates the parents and guardians that contact the school when necessary and for understanding how important school attendance is to their child. Thank you for your continued cooperation and support.