Skip To Main Content

Mobile CTA

header navs


Compulsory Attendance

State law requires all children between the ages of five and seventeen to attend regularly a public or private school or kindergarten or be approved by the BCSD or the South Carolina Independent Schools Association for home instruction. A parent/legal guardian whose child or ward is not six (6) years old on or before September 1st of the school year may waive kindergarten attendance for his/her child. For this purpose, the parent/legal guardian must present to the BCSD a written document making such a decision.


The Beaufort County School District believes attendance is a key factor in student achievement. Any absence from school represents an educational loss to the student, and staff will take educationally sound corrective actions to eliminate impediments to student achievement.

The Superintendent expects district students to attend school regularly. Regular attendance is necessary if students are to make the desired and expected academic and social progress. Any absence from school represents an educational loss. The district recognizes some absences are unavoidable. Please read and download the South Carolina State Board Regulations R 43-274 (Spanish: South Carolina State Board Regulations R 43-274.)

Lawful/Excused Absences

 A lawful/excused absence is one that is:

  • caused by the student’s own illness and whose attendance in school would endanger his/her health or the health of others;
  • is due to an illness or death in the student’s immediate family;
  • is due to a recognized religious holiday of the student’s faith or
  • is due to school activities that are approved in advance by the principal

Unlawful/Unexcused Absences

An unlawful/unexcused absence includes one in which:

  • An unlawful/unexcused absence includes one in which 

  • The student is willfully absent from school without the knowledge of his/ her parent/legal guardian;
  • The student is absent without a lawful cause or
  • The student is absent due to vacation or lack of transportation.

When Your Student Returns to School-Excuses

A student must submit a written excuse explaining the reason for his/her absence within three (3) days after returning to school. If applicable, the student may submit an excuse from the doctor. If a student does not submit an excuse, his/her absence will be considered unlawful/ unexcused. Unexcused absences can lead to truancy.

A written note (excuse) is required every time your child is absent from school. The written note (excuse) must be submitted to the school within three (3) days of the student returning to school. The excuse should include the; student's name; date(s) of the absence(s); reason for the absence(s); signature of the parent/guardian; and a telephone number.

Late Arrival/Early Dismissal

Tardy: A student that is late to school when he/she arrives after the established start time for the school day.

Early Dismissal: A student is dismissed early from school when he/she leave the school premises prior to the end of the scheduled day.

Students must attend school for 50% of the instructional day to be counted present. If your child was not in school for at least 50% of the instructional day, then the student is considered absent.


Chronic Absenteeism: The Every Student Succeeds Act requires the school district to report students who are chronically absent each year. Students must attend class for at least half of the instructional day to be considered present. In addition, school districts are required to report students who are absent at least 10% (18 absences) of the time. The total number of chronically absent students will be included on the school report cards.

Truant: A truant is a student that has three (3) consecutive unlawful/ unexcused absences or a total of five (5) unlawful/unexcused absences. The student must be between six to seventeen years of age.

Habitual Truant: A habitual truant is a student 12 to 17 years of age that has been identified as a truant, fails to comply with the intervention plan, and accumulates two (2) or more additional unlawful/unexcused absences.

Chronic Truant: A child ages 12 to 17 years who has been through the school intervention process, has reached the level of a “habitual” truant, has been referred to Family Court and placed on an order to attend school, and continues to accumulate unlawful absences.

The district utilizes a written intervention plan for improving student attendance. The purpose of the plan is to link students with attendance problems and their families to all appropriate school and community resources.

Once a student is identified “truant”, school officials are required to immediately intervene to encourage the child’s future attendance. After determining the reasons for the student’s continued absence, school officials are required to work with the child and the parents to develop a written intervention plan to address the student’s continued absence. When developing the intervention plan, school officials may determine that the student and the family need additional services that the school is not equipped to provide. If this is the case, a team intervention approach may be used to formulate the intervention plan. At this point community professionals may become involved. Team members may include representatives from social services, community mental health, substance abuse and prevention, and other persons deemed appropriate.

The intervention plan must include reasons for the unlawful absences; actions to be taken by the parent or guardian and student to resolve the causes of the unlawful absences; documentation of referrals by the school to any community based service providers; actions to be taken by the school; actions to be taken should unlawful absences continue; and guidelines for making revisions to the plan.


An affidavit is a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence to prove legal custody and/or guardianship of minor youth. Affidavits must be completed when an adult other than the biological parent(s) are enrolling a student. An affidavit form must be completed and must be accompanied by a court order, documentation from the Department of Social Services, or a notarized letter completed by the biological parent(s). Affidavits can be obtained from the school of enrollment.

After affidavits have been completed and notarized, the completed form must be turned in to the school or to the Student Services Office for approval. Any questions regarding affidavits should be directed to Juanita Paylor, Student Services Manager (843) 322-2396.