Unexcused absences will hinder grades

REGION 16 — The Region 16 Board of Education last week approved policy revisions that will tie unexcused absences to students’ grades for the first time in the district.

Under the new policy, which goes into effect in the 2016-17 school year, any student with 19 or more unexcused absences would automatically receive a grade of Incomplete for all subjects. Unexcused absences do not include absences for serious medical or family issues.

A grade of Incomplete doesn’t mean a student has failed his or her classes, but it does prohibit a student from being promoted to the next grade. A student who reaches the threshold of 19 unexcused absences has to appear before an appeals board established by each school for an informal hearing. The appeals board will determine whether to reinstate a student’s grades or what a student needs to do to have his or her grades reinstated.

Under the changes, every three unexcused tardies and every three unexcused early dismissals will equal one unexcused absence on a student’s academic record.

The school board, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, unanimously approved the changes.