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Truancy

Justin Norton, M.Ed.
Systems and Assessment Supervisor 

Phone Number (423) 623-3811 x324

Email  Justin.Norton@NewportGrammar.org

 

 

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students:

 

Welcome to the beginning of another school year. We hope you had an enjoyable summer break from school and that you have begun another productive school year. This letter is written to stress to you the importance of attending school. 

We take compulsory school attendance very seriously. Tennessee law requires that children under age eighteen attend school. It is the parent’s and/or guardian’s responsibility to insist that the child attend school. Truancy is defined as an absence for an entire school day; a major portion of the school day; or the major portion of any class, study hall, or activity during the school day for which the student is scheduled. Make-up work should be completed within three (3) days after the absence. Even authorized absences may become excessive, and if the child is not in school regularly, he or she is missing valuable instruction time.

If a child has more than five (5) unauthorized absences during the school year, the child and parent will be required to appear before the Newport City / Cocke County Truancy Board to review the attendance record and develop an attendance agreement.

Failure to appear before the Truancy Board and/or failure to follow an attendance agreement may result in a petition shall be issued for the child and/or an arrest warrant issued for the parent or guardian to come to court to answer charges. At court you may have the opportunity to mediate the charge with the Youth Services Officers, Jennifer Shelton and the Attendance Supervisor, Justin Norton. If you reach an agreement, it will be written into a Truancy Mediation Agreement and be submitted to the court for approval. Children who do not attend school are unruly and may be placed into state custody to receive an education. The parents of these children may be fined and/or incarcerated. Any parent, guardian, or other person who has control of a child or children and who violates the compulsory school attendance law commits educational neglect. Educational Neglect is a Class C Misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a $50.00 fine and up to thirty (30) days in jail for each day of unauthorized absence beyond the fifth (5th) unauthorized absence. In addition, a Show Cause Order for Contempt may be issued for those who have been to court on these same issues in the past.

If your child is expelled from school for any reason, your child is still subject to the compulsory school attendance law, if under the age of eighteen. It becomes the parent’s obligation to obtain and pay for a private educational program for the child. If this is not done, the child may be placed into state custody. 

This letter is not intended to single out any person and is not for the majority of parents or their children. It is a reminder to those who do not see the importance of attending school and behaving appropriately while there.

If you begin to experience a problem with your child attending school, please contact the Attendance Supervisor, Justin Norton or the Youth Services Officers, Jennifer Shelton or Martha Newman. They have resources and advice that may be beneficial. It is our goal for children and parents to not be petitioned to court or arrested. We believe in utilizing the preventative measures before the matter goes too far.

May each of you have a safe and productive school year.

 

Sincerely,

 

Justin R. Norton, M.Ed.                                                              Jennifer Shelton
Newport City Schools                                                                 Cocke County Juvenile Court
(423) 623-3811 x324                                                                (423) 623-9291