JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va.— News 3 is learning new information about an attendance policy in Williamsburg James City County— If your child misses a certain number of days, they will get a failing grade.
The new policy is leaving many parents with mixed emotions.
“I feel like this is just taking it to the extreme, when in my opinion it’s not even necessary,” said Tiffany Little, a WJCC parent.
Norfolk schools participate in challenge to encourage attendance
6:48 PM, Jan 03, 2023
Norfolk schools participate in attendance challenge
“Attendance matters!” It’s not just a message, but a policy that the WJCC school system is taking seriously.
“I think the policy is just too black and white,” said Little.
Families in WJCC are not holding back how they feel after an attendance policy went into effect this school year.
According to the WJCC school district, there’s a for high school students and middle school students who are taking high school credit courses: students cannot have nine or more excused or unexcused absences within a given semester.
“I’d rather see a more case by case analysis then a hard fast rule,” said Mike Wheeler, a WJCC parent.
The consequence if you break this rule are students will receive a failing grade of a 59/N for that semester, or they’ll receive their actual class grade, whichever is lower.
The Little family, who has a daughter in middle school, shared their concerns.
“It’s not taking into consideration if your child has a chronic illness, or if your child has some mental health issues,” said Little. “One good blow could just knock your kid out for the whole year, and then your expected for your child to not miss another day for the remainder of the school year.”
The Little’s know all too well about this. They told News 3 their daughter is a type 1 diabetic, causing her to sometimes miss days school days because of doctor appointments.
“To have a penalty, fail the course, or not be promoted to the next grade level I think it’s ridiculous,” said Little.
Although there is a waiver process for extenuating circumstances, the policy said an excused absence is beyond the control of students and parents, and an unexcused absence is a non-emergency.
Another parent told News 3 the policy doesn’t bother her because she believes the school district has seen a spike in kids not coming to school, and this is their way to crack down on attendance.
News 3’s Kelsey Jones reached out school district to learn why they implemented this policy. An WJCC School district spokesperson sent a statement saying:
“WJCC Schools is committed to preparing students to progress academically, to achieve success and to accept responsibility for themselves. As a part of this commitment, the school division has established attendance performance guidelines for all students in grades K-12.”
Some parents also took to social media about the attendance policy to share how unhappy they are. One of those parents said her kids struggle with mental health issues, leading them to miss school due to appointments.
Both the policy and regulation were updated in June and are taking effect this school year. Some parents said they do plan on take their thoughts to the school board.