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Attendance Supervisor
Cindy Ryan
Phone: (931)289-4148

Attendance Policy

The Houston County School District Procedure for Progressive Truancy Intervention can be found by clicking here

Engage TN

Houston County Schools is providing K-12 students with free coaching support through a program called ENGAGE TN. This program is designed to help students be their best by helping them stay on track in school and navigate life’s challenges.

You can learn more about this program and sign up at When you sign up, your family will get connected to a personal Academic Success Coach who works with both students and parents to:

  • Encouragement and motivation to help them stay on track with their studies
  • Organization and study tips
  • Educational resources and exercises to help strengthen reading and math skills
  • Referrals to local agencies and organizations that can provide support for life challenges

If you have any questions, you can reach out to the ENGAGE TN team by emailing or calling 615.639.0380.

Additional Engage TN Resources

Parent/Guardian Resources

School Employee Resources

Other Important Attendance Information

Parent Handout

School Attendance Questions Frequently Asked by Parents

1. What am I supposed to do when my child is too sick to go to school, but I cannot get a doctor’s appointment?
Three (3) parent notes can be used per semester to have an absence excused. One note is good for one day of absence. The note needs to state the child’s name, the valid reason for absence, the date of absence and be signed by the parent or guardian. The note must be turned in to the school within three (3) days for the absence to be excused. Notes turned in after three (3) days will not be accepted, and the absence will be unexcused.
2. Are all doctor visits excused?
Yes. If your child visits the doctor, get a doctor’s note. Turn the note in to the school within three (3) days. If the child has the note and forgets to turn it in, the parent is responsible. Most doctors now fax notes directly to the school. Appointments for non-emergency situations should be scheduled after school or during school vacations if possible.
3. When my child wakes up complaining of feeling ill but gets to feeling better, should I keep the child at home or take him/her 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.
4. 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.
5. 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. If the medical condition requires the student to miss an extended period of time, contact the Houston County Board of Education office to discuss a homebound teacher placement. When your child returns to school, alert the school nurse to the student’s condition.
6. 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 a counselor, dentist, or doctor.
7. 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.
8. If the school nurse calls and asks that I pick up my child because he/she is sick, does this count as unexcused?
No. This will be an excused sign out.
9. We have difficulty paying for the things my child needs. Sometimes he/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. In addition, the school nurse and/or counselor can put families in touch with resources to help during difficult times. School nurses may be able to help provide medical information and resources.
10. 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?
The school nurse can provide you with resources and information to help you.
11. How does the attendance policy apply to school field trips?
Because the trip is school-related, the child is counted present. Students who do not to attend the school-related field trip must still be present for school.
12. 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.)
  • Teach your child to respect authority.
  • Relax, be patient, love the child, and enjoy this time in your life.

When Do I Keep My Child at Home?

Sometimes it’s hard to know when to keep your child at home. The following is a list of signs and symptoms that might mean your child is ill. These signs also mean that he or she could spread that illness to other classmates.

Fever: A person’s normal temperature is 98.6 degrees. Anything higher than 100.0 means your child may have an infection and should stay home. A fever may be at its lowest in the morning and rise as the day goes on. Your child needs to be fever free without the assistance of medication for 24 hours before returning to school.

Rash: Keep your child home unless you are sure the rash is an allergic rash, such as poison ivy. A rash may be a sign of any number of diseases that can spread easily.

Vomiting: Healthy children don’t throw up! Be sure your child has fully recovered for 24 hours from whatever illness has caused the vomiting before he or she returns to school. After vomiting, your child should be able to keep down clear liquids and then a light meal.

Runny Nose: A nose which runs clear, watery liquid may be due to allergies. This is not “catching”.

Sore Throat: If your child has a fever, a cough, or thick drainage from his or her nose along with a sore throat, they need to be kept at home. If your child has a sore throat that lasts for more than two-three days, they need to be seen by a medical professional if possible.

Reddened Eyes: A child with a white, thick drainage should be kept home until treatment has begun. This may go along with redness in the white of the eye.

For more information on specific diseases and their signs and symptoms, contact the Health Department or visit or