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. 10 11 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 12 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 38 (4) SICKNESS, INJURY, OR OTHER INSURMOUNTABLE CONDITION. 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. 53 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.