Section 232.09, Florida Statutes 2001
232.09 Parents and legal guardians responsible for attendance of children; attendance policy.--
(1) The Legislature finds:
(a) It is essential that our children receive an education.
(b) Failure to attend school in a regular and timely fashion hinders the education process.
(c) Truancy and poor school performance have a direct relationship to juvenile delinquency and destructive behavior.
(d) A disproportionate percentage of juvenile crime occurs when juveniles should be in school.
(e) Parents and guardians must be responsible, within reason, for sending their children to school.
(f) If a juvenile refuses to attend school or a parent or guardian refuses to compel the child to attend school, there must exist an efficient and expedient process to enforce attendance laws.
(2) Each parent and legal guardian of a child within the compulsory attendance age is responsible for the child's school attendance as required by law. The absence of a child from school is prima facie evidence of a violation of this section; however, criminal prosecution under this chapter may not be brought against a parent, guardian, or other person having control of the child until the provisions of s. 232.17(2) have been complied with. A parent or guardian of a child is not responsible for the child's nonattendance at school under any of the following conditions:
(a) With permission.--The absence was with permission of the head of the school; or
(b) Without knowledge.--The absence was without the parent's knowledge, consent, or connivance, in which case the child shall be dealt with as a dependent child; or
(c) Financial inability.--The parent was unable financially to provide necessary clothes for the child, which inability was reported in writing to the superintendent prior to the opening of school or immediately after the beginning of such inability; provided, that the validity of any claim for exemption under this subsection shall be determined by the superintendent subject to appeal to the school board; or
(d) Sickness, injury, or other insurmountable condition.--Attendance was impracticable or inadvisable on account of sickness or injury, attested to by a written statement of a licensed practicing physician, or was impracticable because of some other stated insurmountable condition as defined by rules of the state board. If a student is continually sick and repeatedly absent from school, he or she must be under the supervision of a physician in order to receive an excuse from attendance. Such excuse provides that a student's condition justifies absence for more than the number of days permitted by the district school board.
Each district school board shall establish an attendance policy which includes, but is not limited to, the required number of days each school year that a student must be in attendance and the number of absences and tardinesses after which a statement explaining such absences and tardinesses must be on file at the school. Each school in the district must determine if an absence or tardiness is excused or unexcused according to criteria established by the district school board.
History.--s. 609, ch. 19355, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 892(180); s. 1, ch. 69-300; s. 94, ch. 72-221; s. 25, ch. 75-48; s. 13, ch. 79-288; s. 1, ch. 80-56; s. 24, ch. 97-190; s. 1, ch. 97-234; s. 68, ch. 99-398.