Attendance and Truancy Information
Dyersburg City Schools consideres it a priviledge to partner with parents to educate the children of Dyersburg, Dyer County, and beyond. However, we need all children to be in school whenever possible to properly educate them. Please read the articles below to learn more about the truancy and attendance laws, policies and procedures.
All student absences should be accompanied with a note. Parent notes, doctor's notes, or other documentation should accompany the child when he or she returns to school. Please refer to your child's school handbook for more information.
Excused Absence - This is when a school allows a child to be absent for a valid reason. The school has the right to excuse or unexcuse absences and needs documentation.
Unexcused Absence - This as an absence in which the student has no documentation of the reason he/she was absent, or when the parent has reached the limit of parent notes and they do not send acceptable documentation. Unexcused absences count toward truancy.
Excessively Absent - Dyersburg City Schools considers a child Excessively Absent when he/she misses 15 days of school. This includes all absences (excused and unexcused). At this point, parents must present proper documentation (doctor's note, etc.) for a child to have an excused absence.
Truant - A child is considered truant when he/she reaches 5 unexcused absences. Students that reach 5 unexcused absences will enter a Progressive Truancy Plan. This can become a legal issue if a child continues to accumulate unexcused absences. A parent who does not cooperate with the school system or whose child continues to receive unexcused absences may be cited into court and face fines or even jail time.
Three Day Attendance Letter
ALL caregivers of students in Dyersburg City Schools will receive a Three Day Absence letter once their child has missed 3 days, regardless of excuse. This letter is just informing the caregiver that the child has missed 3 days. There is no need to contact the school. At this point, there is no attendance issue with the child. This in an informational letter only.
Excessively Absence Policy
Dyersburg City Schools defines a student who misses 15 days of the school calendar as Excessively Absent. Absences counted as being excessively absent include the following types of absences: excused, unexcused, out-of-school suspension, and expulsion. All student absences count toward being Excessively Absent, whether the absences are excused or unexcused. In-school suspension and school sponsored field trips are not considered being absent from school.
A child that becomes classified as Excessively Absent shall be required to have a doctor’s excuse/note to receive an excused absence. The Excessively Absent classification and subsequent excuse procedure shall continue for the remainder of the current year and the next school year. However, parents/guardian shall send notes when students are absent for documentation purposes.
Students shall be removed from the Excessively Absent list the following the year they miss fewer than 15 days.
If a student transfers into Dyersburg City Schools, then a student’s attendance record from the transferring school(s) or placement(s) will count toward being Excessively Absent for the current school year.
A parent may appeal the decision of his/her child being considered Excessively Absent due to extenuating circumstances, which may include, but is not limited to, extended hospitalization or military deployment of a parent. A written letter of appeal stating the reasons for absences shall be sent to the principal of the child’s school. The principal shall evaluate the child’s attendance record, render a decision, and respond in writing to the parent within 10 school days of the appeal. If the principal grants the appeal, then the child will be removed from the Excessively Absent list.
Individual schools may impose other penalties for students that are classified as Excessively Absent.
Tennessee Law states that any child that misses 5 UNEXCUSED days of school within a year is considered truant. When a child becomes truant, it triggers a Progressive Truancy Intervention Plan as mandated in Board Policy 6.200.
Progressive Truancy Intervention Procedure
To combat both Excessive Absenteeism and Truancy, each school shall generate a warning letter to parents and students at the third (3) absence, regardless of whether it is excused or unexcused. Letters must be generated at least weekly.
The Progressive Interventions shall have the following steps:
Tier 1 shall be triggered at a child’s fifth (5) unexcused absence. When this threshold is reached, the school shall:
- Generate a 5 Day Truancy Letter to be sent to the parent.guardian.
- Schedule a meeting with a school official
- Have an Attendance Contract signed by the school and parent.
- Schedule a follow up meeting at the 7th Unexcused Day
Tier 2 shall be triggered at a child’s tenth (10) unexcused absence and/or when Tier 1 was not effective. In Tier 2, the school shall:
- Generate a 10 Day Truancy Letter to be sent to the parent/guardian.
- Have an Attendance/Truancy Assessment performed by a school official.
- The parent and a District Truancy official shall be in contact regarding child’s truancy.
Tier 3 shall be triggered at a child’s twelth (12) unexcused absence and/or when previous tiers were not effective. In Tier 3, the school shall:
- Generate a 12 Day Truancy Letter to be sent to the parent/guardian.
- Have a Child & Family Team Meeting (CFTM) with District Truancy Official
- Student shall be sent to the Dyersburg/Dyer County Truancy Board.
After the student has been before the Truancy Board, the student and parents/guardians may be summoned to juvenile court for added unexcused absences.
At any point in the Progressive Truancy Intervention process, if a parent/guardian or student fails to cooperate with Dyersburg City Schools and the intervention plan, the child and/or parent may be immediately cited into court.
Parent notes/doctor’s excuses need to be submitted to the school within 5 days of the student’s return to school after an absence.
Attendance Office Phone Number
Lead Attendance/Truancy Specialist
Dyersburg High and Middle
Attendance Support Person
Attendance Support Assistant