The Alexandria School Board looked at two proposals to revise a controversial school attendance policy last night and chose the one a spokesman said parents liked best.
Parents criticized the year-old attendance policy, designed to crack down on truancy, claiming it hampered their authority to decide when it was appropriate for their children to stay home from school. The policy said students who were absent for more than 10 days from a course in a given semester would not receive credit for it.
The policy included an appeals process, but parents had to prove with outside documents, such as a note from a doctor, that their child was absent 10 or more days for acceptable reasons.
At a public hearing last week some parents said a list of revisions drawn up by a committee did not go far enough in remedying the policy. In an effort to reach a compromise, board members Lou Cook and Judith Feaver submitted their own list of revisions, part of which the board approved unanimously last night.
The compromise that was approved allows parents more discretion and will, under some circumstances, allow children to take trips.
The board defeated on a 7-to-2 vote a second part of the Cook-Feaver proposal, which would have changed the maximum amount of absences from 10 per semester to 5 per quarter. Some board members thought that was too rigid.
Board members stressed that the revised policy calls for disciplining students who are truant for "one day or 10 days." Last year, some students interpreted the attendance policy as meaning they could be absent from class for 10 days for any reason--only having to answer for their absences if they exceeded the 10 days.