This bill would amend Part 1 of Article 16 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the O.C,.G.A. to revise mandatory attendance to place a heavier burden of responsibility on parents and guardians. It would require parents/guardians who are new residents of a school system to enroll students in public, private or home school within 15 days of their new residency. It would give LBOE’s the authority to establish excused absences beyond those listed in state law and state policy. It would remove the current penalties for parents who fail to ensure their child(ren)’s attendance and replace them with a misdemeanor charge with a fine of $25 to $100, imprisonment up to 30 days, community service, or any combination of penalties.
It would authorize public school officials to file reports of non-attendance, a broader requirement than the previous "visiting teachers and attendance officers." In so doing, it also would subject all “public school officials,” under threat of a misdemeanor charge, to mandatory reporting of parents/guardians of students with accumulated 30 days of unexcused absences . Once a student has accumulated 5 or more days of unexcused absence, the school officials would have to notify the parent/guardian. Every day after parental notification would be treated as a separate offense. After 2 failed attempts to notify the parent/guardian, notice would have to be sent by certified mail for the system to be considered in compliance.
It expands parent/guardian responsibility to ensure that students who have been assigned to attend an alternative public school, regardless of expulsion from another school system, attend regularly as if they were in regular school.
Note: If a student is expelled from all public schools in a system, but is granted an opportunity to apply to an alternative school and chooses not to apply, one would assume mandatory attendance would be moot.