North Carolina - Chronic Absenteeism Early Warning Systems: Programs and Services (S/D)
North Carolina General Statutes 115C-381. School social workers; reports; prosecutions.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall prepare such rules and procedures and furnish such blanks for teachers and other school officials as may be necessary for reporting such case of unlawful absence or lack of attendance to the school social worker of the respective local school administrative units. Such rules shall provide, among other things, for a notification in writing, to the person responsible for the nonattendance of any child, that the case is to be reported to the school social worker of the local school administrative unit unless the law is complied with immediately. Upon recommendation of the superintendent, local boards of education may employ school social workers and such school social workers shall have authority to report and verify on oath the necessary criminal warrants or other documents for the prosecutions of violations of this Part: Provided, that local school administrative units shall provide in their local operating budgets for travel and necessary office expense for such school social workers as may be employed through State or local funds, or both. The State Board of Education shall determine the process for allocating school social workers to the various local school administrative units, establish their qualifications, and develop a salary schedule which shall be applicable to such personnel: Provided, that persons now employed by local boards of education as attendance counselors shall be deemed qualified as school social workers under the terms of this Part subject to the approval of said local boards of education.
The school social worker shall investigate all violators of the provisions of this Part. The reports of unlawful absence required to be made by teachers and principals to the school social worker shall, in his hands, in case of any prosecution, constitute prima facie evidence of the violation of this Part and the burden of proof shall be upon the defendant to show the lawful attendance of the child or children upon an authorized school.
North Carolina General Statutes 115C-379. Method of enforcement.
It shall be the duty of the State Board of Education to formulate the rules that may be necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this Part. The Board shall prescribe (i) what shall constitute unlawful absence, (ii) what causes may constitute legitimate excuses for temporary nonattendance due to a student's physical or mental inability to attend or a student's participation in a valid educational opportunity such as service as a legislative page or a Governor's page, and (iii) under what circumstances teachers, principals, or superintendents may excuse pupils for nonattendance due to immediate demands of the farm or the home in certain seasons of the year in the several sections of the State.
The rules shall require school principals to authorize a minimum of two excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by the faith of a student or the student's parents. The rules may require that the student's parents give the principal written notice of the request for an excused absence a reasonable time prior to the religious observance. The student shall be given the opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.
It shall be the duty of all school officials to carry out such instructions from the State Board of Education, and any school official failing to carry out such instructions shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor: Provided, that the compulsory attendance law herein prescribed shall not be in force in any local school administrative unit that has a higher compulsory attendance feature than that provided herein.