Florida Senate - 2021                                    SB 1158
       By Senator Rouson
       19-00941-21                                           20211158__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to school attendance; amending s.
    3         1003.24, F.S.; providing that a parent of a student
    4         within the compulsory attendance age is not
    5         responsible for the student’s nonattendance at school
    6         if attendance was impracticable or inadvisable on
    7         account of mental or physical sickness or injury, as
    8         attested to by a written statement of a licensed
    9         practicing physician; providing an effective date.
   11  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   13         Section 1. Section 1003.24, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   14  read:
   15         1003.24 Parents responsible for attendance of children;
   16  attendance policy.—Each parent of a child within the compulsory
   17  attendance age is responsible for the child’s school attendance
   18  as required by law. The absence of a student from school is
   19  prima facie evidence of a violation of this section; however,
   20  criminal prosecution under this chapter may not be brought
   21  against a parent until the provisions of s. 1003.26 have been
   22  complied with. A parent of a student is not responsible for the
   23  student’s nonattendance at school under any of the following
   24  conditions:
   25         (1) WITH PERMISSION.—The absence was with permission of the
   26  head of the school;
   27         (2) WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE.—The absence was without the parent’s
   28  knowledge, consent, or connivance, in which case the student
   29  shall be dealt with as a dependent child;
   30         (3) FINANCIAL INABILITY.—The parent was unable financially
   31  to provide necessary clothes for the student, which inability
   32  was reported in writing to the superintendent prior to the
   33  opening of school or immediately after the beginning of such
   34  inability, provided that the validity of any claim for exemption
   35  under this subsection shall be determined by the district school
   36  superintendent subject to appeal to the district school board;
   37  or
   39  Attendance was impracticable or inadvisable on account of mental
   40  or physical sickness or injury, as attested to by a written
   41  statement of a licensed practicing physician, or was
   42  impracticable because of some other stated insurmountable
   43  condition as defined by and attested to in accordance with rules
   44  of the State Board of Education. If a student is continually
   45  sick and repeatedly absent from school, he or she must be under
   46  the supervision of a physician, or if the absence is related to
   47  the student having autism spectrum disorder, receiving services
   48  from a licensed health care practitioner or behavior analyst
   49  certified pursuant to s. 393.17, in order to receive an excuse
   50  from attendance. Such excuse provides that a student’s condition
   51  justifies absence for more than the number of days permitted by
   52  the district school board.
   54  Each district school board shall establish an attendance policy
   55  that includes, but is not limited to, the required number of
   56  days each school year that a student must be in attendance and
   57  the number of absences and tardinesses after which a statement
   58  explaining such absences and tardinesses must be on file at the
   59  school. Each school in the district must determine if an absence
   60  or tardiness is excused or unexcused according to criteria
   61  established by the district school board.
   62         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.