Fort Worth

Notes Will No Longer Excuse a Student's Absence in the Fort Worth Independent School District

Policy change could mean some students may not advance or graduate

The Fort Worth Independent School District says it will no longer automatically excuse a student's absence with a note from a parent, a doctor or even a judge.

"Previously, we would have completely wiped out the absence with that note,” said district spokesman Clint Bond. “Under state law, as we now understand it, we cannot wipe out that absence at all."

Students who miss less than 10 percent of their classes won't be affected by the change, Bond said.

But those who don’t show up for more than 10 percent may not be allowed to promote or graduate.

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Those cases would go to an attendance committee which would include the parents, teacher and principal. The committee would then decide whether to make an exception in cases such as a religious holiday, Bond said.

Still, some parents don't think it should go that far for common absences such as an illness -- especially with a doctor's note.

“I mean that works for work so why wouldn't that work for school?” said mother Amber Nygaard. “That doesn't make sense. That's a little crazy."

Another mother, Tara Marsh, said, "They're going to have an issue with that with certain kids so we'll see how that goes."

The change in policy will be announced in a letter sent home to parents soon, Bond said.

Parents should still send notes explaining why their children miss school, he added. The notes no longer will result in an excused absence automatically but may be considered by the attendance committee later if a student misses more than 10 percent of classes.

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