Parent and Student Handbook

Laurel Elementary School

300 Gentry Creek Road Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee 37680

Phone: 423-727-2685 Fax: 423-727-5250

Parent & Student Handbook


Principal’s Welcome

I am so excited to welcome you to a new school year at Laurel Elementary. I count it a privilege to serve alongside the students, staff, and parents of this great community. It is the desire of our entire staff that your child will receive a quality education that will prepare and inspire them to be productive members of society. We have a qualified and dedicated faculty that will work extremely hard to provide a first class instructional program to challenge and inspire our students, laying the foundation for our students to eventually be college and career ready. We expect our students to be at school every day and to work hard, but we also expect our students to enjoy school and have fun learning. It is our goal for every student and staff member to look forward to coming to Laurel Elementary each day!

Any time you have questions or concerns, please email, call, or come by the school. I will be glad to answer questions or listen to concerns whenever they arise.  We want students, parents, and community members to be active participants in all we do at Laurel Elementary!

Leon Henley



SCHOOL MISSION: To prepare students to be successful and worthwhile citizens who show respect for others, have good moral character, and display a good work ethic, while laying the foundation for students to be college and career ready.

SCHOOL VISION: To provide quality education by guiding students in their pursuit of attaining lifelong success.

SCHOOL BELIEFS: All students will have a variety of opportunities to learn and to reach their highest potentials. Learning will be applicable to the real world. Our school will provide effective leadership and a safe environment that is conducive to learning. Education is a team effort that requires responsible participation from the faculty and staff, the student, the family and the community.

School Improvement Goals

  1. Laurel Elementary School will meet or exceed the state’s attendance rate of 93%.
  2. Students in Grades 2nd -6th will show growth measured by TVAAS in the areas of Reading/Language Arts and Math on the 2016-2017 state assessments.


  1. Students will increase the use of technology in the classroom and home to help prepare students to be college and career ready.
  2. Parents and Community members will be more involved in the learning process at each level and family engagement opportunities will focus on Reading/Language Arts.
  3. A school-wide emphasis will be placed on basic Math skills in Pre-K-6th Grade.


Laurel Elementary Faculty and Staff

Leon Henley, Principal

Katelin Vincent, Pre-K/K

Meggan Knight, First Grade/Second Grade

Brian Taylor, Third Grade/Fourth Grade

Ginger Johnson, Fifth Grade

Taffy Dugger, Sixth Grade

Kim Tolliver, Special Education

LaDonna Trivette, Interventionist (RTI)

Eric Crabtree, Physical Education

Patty Kimmel, Library

Kim Franklin, Music

Cydney Johnson, Visual Art

Michael Taylor, Technology

Mary Lipford, Counselor

Patty Trivett, Secretary/Bookkeeper

Patricia Payne, Instructional Assistant

Janet Townsend, Instructional Assistant

Lilly Webster, Instructional Assistant

Susan Taylor, Cafeteria Manager

Jane Campbell, Housekeeping



Parent Conferences Elementary School Parent Conferences are scheduled at each elementary school in the fall and spring. In addition to the two scheduled Parent Conference Days, parents and teachers are encouraged to schedule additional conference as needed. Teachers cannot visit or conference with parents when they have student responsibilities, especially during arrival and dismissal time each day. To allow for an uninterrupted conference and to protect instructional time, parents are asked to call the school or send a note to request a conference at a time convenient for both the parent and teacher. Parents may call the school to ask for a teacher to call them. To keep from interrupting instruction, teachers will return calls to parents during planning time or at the end of the day if possible. Whenever possible, school faculty and staff will return calls within 24 hours.

Red Folders Every student will be given a red folder that will be used daily for communication between the home and school. Please check your child’s red folder every day, as will the teacher. The red folder is used to transport important items to and from school and home, such as: student work, assignments, notes from the teacher, notes from the parent, newsletters, lunch money or other money (in a sealed envelope), permission forms, etc. The red folder is an excellent communication tool for school and home.

Other Home-School Communications Please look for Informational handouts of upcoming events that will contain important dates, events and information for parents. Also, please check the Laurel School website at and The Tomahawk for school news. Other good communication tools are our outside sign on the gym that will be used for reminders of upcoming events, and the bulletin boards in our hallways. We will also use our call-out telephone system to keep parents informed. Please let us know if you have ideas for increasing our home-school communications.

Regular Head Checks for Lice To prevent of the spread of head lice, we will have school-wide head checks during the first week of school. We will continue to have regular head checks throughout the school year to avoid the spread of head lice. Head lice are very contagious and can spread easily from one person to another, so we will do all we can to keep this from being a problem at Laurel School. If a child has nits or lice, the parent will be notified to pick up the child and will be given a letter that explains treatment. Parents can help at home by checking your child’s hair as a regular part of their bath or shower routine. Parents are asked to keep the school informed of potential head lice problems. We will deal with head lice in a direct yet discreet manner that will not cause unnecessary embarrassment for our students and families.

Homework Homework is assigned to support and reinforce our classroom instruction. Homework should be completed by the student under the supervision of the parent or another responsible family member. Please contact the teacher immediately if your child is struggling with homework assignments. A designated time and place should be provided at home for your child to study and complete homework assignments each evening without distractions. In addition, parents are encouraged to read with their children each night. It is motivating for students to see their parents reading newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, manuals, etc. Try making homework/study time an enjoyable family activity.


Laurel Literacy Pledge (A Little Goes A Long Way)

Research continues to show that students who are good readers perform better academically than students that are struggling readers, or do not enjoy reading. It is our goal that all students learn to love reading. We are asking that all students in grades Pre-K/-6 spend 10-20 minutes engaged in some sort of reading activity at home every night. The students may have reading material sent home, choose anything appropriate to read, or you may read to the student something of interest. This will make a difference over the school year in the amount of reading material that the students are exposed to, hopefully encouraging them to become better and more independent readers.

Dress Code Students are expected to dress and groom in a neat, clean and modest manner that does not distract or interfere with the operation of school. Shorts and skirts are to be no shorter than the fingertips of the hands extended down the legs. Tops should have full sleeves and midriffs should be covered. Shoes must be worn at all times. Sunglasses, hats, hoodies, and other headgear are not worn inside the building. Clothing with suggestive slogans or pictures that promote drugs, alcohol, profanity or tobacco products are not permitted. If dress code violations occur, students may be provided with appropriate clothing or the parents will be contacted to bring a change of clothing to school.

Student Attendance Every school in Johnson County is expected to maintain at least 95% student attendance, so we expect our students to be at school and on time every day. Good attendance goes hand-in-hand with good grades and academic achievement. Developing good attendance habits now will help your child achieve success in the future.

When it is necessary for your child to be absent from school, please call the school office at 727-2685 by 8:30 AM to specify why your child is absent and if you will be picking up assignments. In addition, please send a medical excuse with your child on the day he/she returns to school after an absence. The Johnson County Board Policy states that the documentation must be received within (10) ten days of the absence. Parent written excuses are documented, but are considered unexcused. These phone calls and notes are for your child’s safety, as well as attendance procedures and documentation. You will receive an automated call when your student is absent or tardy from school. Absences or tardies will not be excused for students that go on family vacations during the school year.

The Johnson County School Board Attendance Policy allows for the following excused absences:

  • Personal illness as documented by a medical excuse
  • Religious observances
  • Circumstances which in the judgment of the principal create an emergency over which the student has no control

As needed, the principal and teachers may call to check on absent students or make home visits. A referral to the Truancy Review Board will be made when a student has five unexcused absences. Any student in grades K-8 who has accumulated more than eight (8) unexcused absences during the school year shall not be promoted to the next grade.

Parents need to make a special effort to ensure that their child is at school on time and remains until dismissal time. Please make every effort to schedule appointments after school or on days school is not in session. If it is necessary to make an appointment during the school day, please make it as late in the afternoon as possible.

Tardies and Early Dismissals will be monitored and students who have accrued at least 5 unexcused tardies or early dismissals may be required to attend lunch or recess detention for each additional occurrence. If these issues continue then a referral to the Johnson County Truancy Review Board will be made. Absences or tardies will not be excused for students that go on family vacations during the school year.

At the end of this handbook, you will find Attendance Questions and Answers that Attendance Supervisor, Ms. Rose Rasmussen has provided.

Make-Up Work Class work and tests missed during an absence may be made up when students return to school. The student should make a request for make-up work on the day he/she returns to school after an absence. Make-up work not turned in will result in NO Credit given for that assignment and will not be allowed to be made up at a later time.

Bringing Items to School Please do not allow your child to bring expensive personal items or large sums of money to school. General school supplies and necessary personal items are all that students need to bring to school. Lunch money, picture money, etc. should be brought in a sealed envelope in the red folder. If special items can be brought for special projects or events, you will receive a note from the school. All personal items should be marked with the student’s name. If an inappropriate item is brought to school, the item will be held in the school office until a parent or guardian comes to retrieve it. The following items are never permitted at school: knives, weapons, matches, fireworks, tobacco products, and any illegal substances. Please review the Johnson County Schools Student Handbook for more specific information on discipline and code of conduct.


BUS TRANSPORTATION Laurel Elementary School is served by two buses, Bus #2 and Bus #20. The following is a list of roads that each bus has been running. We will keep you updated on any changes. If your address changes please update the school in a timely manner.

BUS #2 Shingletown Road Hawkins Road Ackerson Creek Road Dry Stone Branch Road Red Brush Road Deer Creek Crossing Fox Hollow Road Furnace Creek Road Huggins Road Eastridge Road

BUS #20 Hwy 91 Waters Road Trout Run Road Beaver Walk Road Deer Run Road Wilson Road Greer Branch Road Sugar Creek Road Branch Road Dollarsville Road Dry Branch Road Taylors Valley Road Wilson Road


Bus Rules:

The following rules were adopted by the Johnson County Board of Education. An agreement form will be sent home at the beginning of the school year for parents to sign.  In order to maintain conditions and atmosphere suitable for learning, no person shall enter onto a school bus except students assigned to that bus or parents of students or other persons with lawful and valid business on the bus. The school bus is an extension of school activity; therefore, students shall conduct themselves on the bus in a manner consistent with the established standards for safety and classroom behavior. Students are under the supervision and control of the bus driver while on his/her bus and all reasonable directions given by him/her shall be followed.

The principal of the student transported shall be informed by the bus driver of any serious discipline problem and may be called upon to assist if necessary. A student may be denied the privilege of riding the bus if the principal determines that his/her behavior is such as to cause disruption on the bus, or if he/she disobeys state or local rules and regulations pertaining to student transportation. The suspension of a student from riding the school bus shall follow the same procedures as for any other school suspension. Any student who gets off the bus at any point between the pick-up point and school must present the bus driver with a note of authorization from the parent or the principal of the school that the student attends .Any student wishing to ride a bus other than his/her designated bus must have written parental permission and the approval of the principal or his/her designee. If approved, a bus pass will be issued by the classroom teacher and the pass must be given to the bus driver upon boarding the bus. Students who transfer from bus to bus while en route to and from school shall be expected to abide by the discipline policies adopted by the Board and rules adopted by the staff of the terminal school.

Riding School Buses:

Safe transportation is an integral part of the total educational program within the Johnson County School. The primary purpose of school buses is to transport pupils from home to school and return safely. The Johnson County Board of Education recognizes that a safe operation of school buses is only possible with the full cooperation of parents, students, and school staff. Riding the school bus is a privilege extended to students that can be taken away at any time for disruptive or unsatisfactory behavior. All children being transported are under the authority of the bus driver and must obey his/her directions.  If your child is to go home any other way than he/she normally goes, he/she must bring a written note from home stating this. Student may not use the phone to make these arrangements. The principal may suspend passengers from riding on a school bus for inappropriate and unacceptable behavior.  Specific expectations of school bus passengers are found in the School Board Policy Handbook and are sent home at the beginning of each school year.

“A pupil shall become ineligible for pupil transportation when his/her behavior is such as

to cause dissension on a school bus, or when he disobeys local rules and regulations pertaining to pupil transportation.” This quotation is from State Rules, Regulations and Minimum Standards.

Following is a list of specific rules/regulations for pupils who ride a school bus:

  1. Pupils are under the supervision of the bus driver from the time they leave home until they reach home in the afternoon.
  2. Once seated on a bus, the pupil will not be allowed to change seats without the

permission of the bus driver.

  1. Drivers may assign permanent seats to pupils on the bus if the drivers wish to do so.
  2. Pupil will not be permitted to have any dangerous toys or other items on the bus. Science specimens which are to be taken to school must be in plastic containers or enclosed in cardboard or wooden boxes.  NO soft drink bottles will be permitted on the bus.  No glass containers will be allowed on the bus.
  3. Pupils will not use tobacco in any form on the bus.
  4. Pupils will not be excessively noisy while on the bus.
  5. Pupils will be let off a bus only at their designated destination unless written permission from their parents gives authority for the principal to inform the bus driver to do otherwise.
  6. Buses will not stop at stores or permit pupils to make purchases.
  7. Pupils will pay for any damage done deliberately to the bus.
  8. Pupils will not be permitted to throw any objects while on the bus.
  9. Pupils will obey the driver without any back talk.
  10. Pupils will not use any vulgar language on the bus.


If a pupil misbehaves on the way to school or home, and refuses to obey the driver, the

driver will report this to the principal, and in turn, the principal will determine the appropriate disciplinary action. If suspended, the principal will make every reasonable effort to notify the parents of the suspension.  The parent must contact the principal and the principal will notify the bus driver when the child may ride the bus.  During a suspension from riding the bus, the child is required to attend school; but the child or the parents must furnish transportation.  Any offense considered serious enough would be brought to the Board of Education on the first offense.

Students waiting for a bus at a school are under the authority of the principal of the school where the students wait. The principal of that school is authorized to take appropriate disciplinary action if the student disobeys the principal or the teachers.



MORNING PROCEDURES Staff will be on duty each morning at the gym doors for students arriving by bus and for students dropped off by passenger vehicles. For students’ safety, please do not drop off a student at school prior to 7:30. Please make certain that your child safely enters the gym before you leave the parking lot. Students are not permitted to wait outside the doors for school to open. This is for our students’ safety. In the gym, students will be seated in designated areas.

Breakfast will be served in the gym each morning beginning at 7:30; we ask that if you want your child to have breakfast they should arrive prior to 7:50. All students should be in their classrooms prior to the 8:15. Any student arriving after 8:15 must report to the office with a parent/guardian to be signed in and receive a tardy slip. Teachers will not admit students to the classroom without a tardy slip. Students who come to school late miss important instruction, plus their late entrance disrupts classroom instruction for other students. It is important for children to develop the life-long habit of regular and punctual attendance. Please remember that unexcused tardies or early dismissals disqualify a student for Perfect Attendance.

AFTERNOON PROCEDURES If it is necessary for you to pick up your child prior to 3:10, the parent must come to the office to sign the child out. Your child will be called to the office for you. Please remember that unexcused early dismissals disqualify a student for Perfect Attendance. When the dismissal bell rings at 3:10, parents of car-riders should pick up their students at the classroom. Parents should remain outside until  3:10. Car-riders are not permitted to wait outside to be picked up from school. For safety, only adults listed by parents on the Student Data Sheet will be permitted to pick up students. At 3:20 bus-riders will be taken to the designated waiting area by their teachers.

CHANGES IN AFTERNOON CAR/BUS TRANSPORTATION If you want your child to have a change in his/her regular routine, the parent must send a note specifying the change. Notes should include the parent’s signature and a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. Students may not go home with one another on a bus or car without a note from both students’ parents giving permission. Without a parent note, we cannot change a child’s daily routine. If you need to call the school to make a change, try to do this by 1:00.

EMERGENCY EARLY DISMISSALS Each parent/guardian will need to complete an Emergency Early Dismissal Plan at the beginning of the school year. The teacher will keep these on file to use whenever there is an emergency dismissal due to weather, water or power outages, etc. Please keep this form current and up-to-date if you have changes during the school year. For your child’s safety and instructional needs, it is important for your child’s teacher to be informed immediately of any changes in jobs, addresses, phone numbers, pick-up list, etc.

Please keep informed about school delays, closings, and early dismissals by making sure that a current working phone number is on file, so you will receive call-outs from out automated system. In addition, school closing information can be found on the school system website:

SCHOOL SECURITY For safety and security of our students and staff, the front doors at the main entrance near the office will remain locked during the school day. You will be required to use the “intercom bell system” in order to be allowed in the building. Security cameras are used to monitor school safety. When entering the building during school hours, please go immediately to the school office to sign in and receive a visitor’s badge to wear. Please remember to sign out and return your visitor’s badge when leaving the school.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT We encourage parents to be active participants in their children’s education. We welcome parents to be involved in Laurel Elementary School school-wide and classroom activities. Parents will receive advance information about activities and other parent opportunities. We also encourage grandparents to be active participants at Laurel School.

Volunteering is a great way to get involved at Laurel Elementary School. Volunteers are often needed to help with projects, classroom activities, and school-wide events.  Volunteers are reminded to conduct themselves professionally and to dress appropriately for the school setting. All school adults, whether staff or volunteers, serve as role models for our students.

CUSTODY DOCUMENTATION The parent/guardian must provide the principal copies of any legal documents pertaining to joint or sole custody rights or other court orders. The school has no legal means of prohibiting an estranged parent from picking up his or her child unless official documentation is on file in the school office.

SCHOOL-WIDE BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS At Laurel Elementary School, all members of our learning community are expected to be respectful, kind and cooperative. These six pillars of character guide and direct our behavior at all times: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Learning and practicing good behavior is an important part of a student’s education and maturity. When students leave Laurel School, they will have a solid foundation in the social skills necessary for their future success in personal relationships and in the work force.



Follow all classroom rules and safety rules.

Walk in an orderly & quiet manner on the right side of the hall, not touching the walls.

Treat all people and property with respect.

Be courteous to others and use good manners.

Be where you are supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there.

Be truthful.

Build goodwill and friendships.

Take pride in representing Laurel School wherever you go.


 “GIVE ME FIVE” PROCEDURE All school staff will utilize “Give Me Five”, a school-wide, consistent procedure to gain the immediate attention of students. Teachers and staff will raise their hand high with the palm visible. When the teacher or staff member says, “Give Me Five”, the students will show the following five signs:

  1. Watching Eyes
  2. Listening Ears
  3. Quiet Mouth
  4. Still Body
  5. Full Attention


LAUREL LEADER PLEDGE At Laurel Elementary School, we expect all students to be Shining Star Laurel Leaders. All Laurel Leaders shine with pride because they serve as positive role models for others. We will begin each day of school with a Moment of Silence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Laurel Leader Pledge:

I am a Laurel Leader. I will be at school on time and prepared every day. I will do my best on every assignment. My words and actions will show respect and kindness. I will show self control and responsibility in all I do. I will make a positive contribution to my school and community. I will do this for myself because I am worth it. I am a Laurel Leader.


DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES Each teacher has developed a classroom disciple plan, and will inform students and parents of behavior expectations, consequences and incentives. It is important for students to learn to accept responsibility for their actions and understand that there are consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Parents will be contacted in cases of continuing misbehavior. Most discipline situations can be resolved in the classroom with the help of teachers, students and parents. If a discipline problem cannot be resolved in the classroom, it will be necessary for the teacher to refer the student to the principal for administrative involvement. Office referrals can result in a parent conference, an individual behavior plan or contract, restitution, loss of field trips or special events, in-school suspension at Laurel, referral to community resources, Disciplinary Hearing Authority (DHA) referral, alternative placement, out of school suspension, corporal punishment (paddling), and other actions depending on the severity of the behavior. When a student is referred to the office for misbehavior, parents will receive a copy of the disciplinary referral to sign and return to school.

QUESTIONING OF STUDENTS BY SCHOOL PERSONNEL Students may be questioned by teachers or the principal about any matter pertaining to the operation of school or the enforcement of school rules. Questioning will be conducted discreetly and under circumstances that will avoid unnecessary embarrassment to the student. Any student answering falsely, evasively or refusing to answer a proper question may be subject to disciplinary action. If a student is suspected or accused of misconduct or an infraction of the student code of conduct, the principal may question the student without the presence of parents/guardians and without giving the student constitutional warnings.

QUESTIONING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT (AT PRINCIPAL’S REQUEST) If the principal has requested assistance by law enforcement to investigate a crime involving the school, the law enforcement has permission to question a student suspect during school hours. The principal shall first attempt to notify the parent/guardian unless circumstances require otherwise. Questioning may proceed without attendance of a parent/guardian, but the principal or her designee shall be present during questioning.

LAW ENFORCEMENT INITIATED QUESTIONING If law enforcement deems circumstances of sufficient urgency to question students at school for unrelated crimes committed outside of school hours, the law enforcement shall first contact the principal and inform him/her of the probable cause to investigate within the school. The principal shall make reasonable effort to contact the parent/guardian unless circumstances require otherwise. The questioning may proceed without attendance of the parent/guardian, but the principal/designee shall be present during questioning.

SEARCHES BY SCHOOL PERSONNEL Having reasonable suspicion, the principal or his/her designee may search any student, place or thing on school property or in the possession of a student during an off-campus, school-sponsored event. When necessary, dogs trained to detect drugs or dangerous weapons may be used to pinpoint areas that need to be searched, but shall not be used to search persons.


Video cameras may be used to monitor student behavior at school on school vehicles transporting students to and from school or extracurricular activities. Students in violation of bus conduct rules shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with established Board policy and regulations governing student conduct and discipline. The district shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws related to video recordings when such recordings are considered for retention as part of the student’s behavioral record as determined by the district and in accordance with the law. Video surveillance shall be used only to promote the order, safety and security of students, staff and property.

The director of schools is directed to develop procedures governing the use of video cameras in accordance with the provisions of the law and established Board policies.

SCHOOL FOOD SERVICE Laurel’s school cafeteria offers delicious and nutritious meals for our students, staff and visitors. Laurel’s cafeteria manager is Mrs. Susie Taylor. This school year we will be continuing the Community Eligibility Provision CEP which allows all students to eat breakfast and lunch at no charge to the student. A la carte and extra food items will be available to purchase, NO charging allowed, students must have money in their account or in hand to give to cashier to pay for extra items. Please talk with your children about what you permit them to purchase extra in the cafeteria. If you need to check your child’s account balance, please call 727-2686. Parents are encouraged to complete the yellow survey form in the handbook and return to school with your child.

Packed lunches from home are allowed in the school cafeteria, but there is no access to a microwave oven to heat packed food items. Brought-from-home lunch items that need to be kept warm or cold should be packed in thermal containers. Carbonated beverages are not permitted in school cafeterias. Also, take-out foods from restaurants should not be brought into the school cafeteria.

If your child has food allergies or other food-related medical restrictions, please schedule an appointment to talk with the principal and school nurse. At the beginning of each school year, an updated medical statement from the doctor is required to be kept on file at school. If your child is suspected of having a Section 504 condition, a meeting will be held to determine eligibility, appropriate modifications, and to develop a Section 504 Education Service Plan.



What am I supposed to do when my child is too sick to go to school, but I cannot get a doctor’s appointment?

Contact the school to let them know the child is sick. You may bring the child to school and let the school nurse check the child.  The nurse may assist you in getting a doctor’s appointment.  If the nurse verifies that the child is sick, the absence will be excused.

My child seems to catch every bug that goes around. We spend a lot of time in the doctor’s office.  Are all these absences excused?

Yes. If your child visits the doctor, get a doctor’s note.  Turn the note in to the school within ten (10) days.  If the child has the note and forgets to turn it in, the parent is responsible.  Most doctors now will fax notes directly to the school.  Appointments for non-emergency situations should be scheduled after school or during school vacations if possible.

When my child wakes up complaining of feeling ill but gets to feeling better, should I keep the child at home or take him on to school?

Take the child to school. Alert the school nurse or teacher that the child was feeling ill earlier in the day.  One rule of thumb says if the child does not have a fever, rash, diarrhea, or vomiting, take the child to school.  Of course the parent knows the child best.

My child does not want to go to school. I am tired of fighting with him every day about going to school.  What can I do?

Don’t fight. Be firm.  Let you child know that absenteeism is not an option.  Talk to your child.  Try to find out why he doesn’t want to go to school.  Talk to the school.  Let’s work together to find a solution.  Let the child be involved in the process.  Take action.  Your child may need more supervision, after-school tutoring, or counseling, an evaluation to determine if he or she has a learning disability, or help with an alcohol or other drug problem.  However, the problem may be as simple as the child not getting enough sleep at night.  Perhaps the child is being influenced by his peers.  Know your child’s friends.  Don’t give up, and don’t give in!

If my child is suspended from the bus, I have no way of getting him to school. Is this an excused absence?

No. Bus transportation is a privilege.  Students must be taught to behave on the bus and follow bus rules.  The parent is responsible for getting the child to school.


I am a single parent. My child is larger than I.  When he refuses to go to school, I cannot drag him.  What can I do?

No matter how large the child, the parent is the one who is responsible for making sure the child is in school. The parent is the boss.  If a child is unruly and the parent has tried all available options, the juvenile court can intervene.  A parent can file an unruly petition with the court, and the child will be required to appear before the juvenile judge.  Also, the parent may request crisis intervention services from the Department of Children’s Services.  Counseling services are available locally to assist families.  Parenting classes are available to help parents develop strategies to deal with children.

My child may have surgery and be required to miss several weeks of school. What should I do?

If you can schedule your child’s surgery during summer vacation or a school break, do so. If not, discuss the situation with the school principal and the child’s teacher.  Contact Rose Rasmussen at the school system’s central office to request a homebound teacher.  When your child returns to school, have letters from the doctor to share with school personnel if the student is to have any modifications to a regular schedule.  Also, alert the school nurse to the student’s condition.

What are valid reasons for being absent from school?

Valid reasons for being absent from school include student illness, death in the family, religious holidays, court appearance, and appointments with counselor, dentist, or doctor.

What happens if a child is referred to Juvenile Court for truancy?

Parents and the school need to work together so that court involvement is the last resort. In the past we have seen a variety of consequences for truancy including the assignment of up to six hours of public service work for each day missed, fines up to $50 for each day of unexcused absence, the assignment of a DCS counselor, and payment of court costs.  Parents have been required to take parenting classes, obtain counseling, and in rare cases, parents have been sent to jail.  For older students, poor attendance can also result in the revocation of a student’s driver’s license.  In addition, high school students with excessive absences must make up time or risk losing credit for classes.

If the school nurse calls and asks that I pick up my child because he is sick, does this count as unexcused?

No. This will be an excused sign out.

We have difficulty paying for the things my child needs. Sometimes she doesn’t want to go to school because of this.  What can I do?

Make sure you talk to the cafeteria manager and fill out a form to receive free or reduced meals at school. This information is confidential.  The school counselor will provide school supplies for the student.  In addition, the school social worker can put families in touch with resources to help during difficult times.  School nurses may be able to help provide medical information and resources.


My child does not feel safe at school. I can’t get her to tell me the problem.

Sometimes it is difficult for children to share their feelings. Sometimes they are fearful and can’t explain or pinpoint the cause of their anxiety.  Many times these feelings disappear or the child learns how to cope with fears.  However, the counselor should be contacted.  The counselor is trained to handle these situations and will be observant and try to get to the bottom of these feelings.

My child has been sent home from school because of nits. It is expensive to keep treating the child.  We try hard but don’t seem to be able to get rid of the nits.  What can we do?

We understand. Getting rid of nits can be expensive and time consuming.  The school nurse is an expert.  She can provide you with resources and information to help you.

My child doesn’t make good grades. He doesn’t want to go to school because he is embarrassed.  What can I do?

It is very important to keep encouraging the student. Bad attendance makes it more difficult to do well in school.  Contact the teacher.  Ask for specific things you and your child can do to improve his grades.  Talk with the school counselor.  Schools have programs to help students become more successful.  Some schools have tutoring programs before and/or after school, computer-assisted programs, and student tutors or mentors.  Some teachers will tutor students.  The high school has credit recovery.  Some summer programs may be available.  Since each school is different, your counselor will be able to direct you.


If my child goes on a field trip, is she excused?

Yes. The trip will be school related.  In effect, the child is counted present for school.

What general advice can you give me to help me with my child?

  • Keep in touch with your child’s school.
  • Set high expectations for your child.
  • Make education a top priority.
  • Be supportive. Offer encouragement and praise.
  • Teach your child to accept responsibility and realize that actions have consequences. (Don’t make excuses or allow your child to make excuses.)
  • Don’t let there be any confusion over who is in charge. The child is not the boss. Teach your child to respect authority.
  • Relax, be patient, love the child, and enjoy this time in your life.