(a) The state board of education shall promulgate rules, in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, that prescribe guidelines for use by local boards of education in establishing standards and policies governing student attendance, subject to availability of funds. The guidelines shall include, but not be limited to, the following stipulations:
(1) Attendance policies shall be firm but fair so that each student has a reasonable opportunity to meet the minimum requirements;
(2) Effective accounting and reporting procedures shall be developed to keep parents or guardians informed of a student's absence from class;
(3) Policies shall accommodate extenuating circumstances created by emergencies over which the student has no control;
(4) Appeal procedures shall be included to assure the student's right of due process; and
(5) Alternative programs shall be established to provide educational options for any student who severely fails to meet minimum attendance requirements.
(b) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, if a student is unable to attend regular classes because of illness, injury or pregnancy and if the student has participated in a program of hospital or homebound instruction administered or approved by the LEA, then the student shall not be penalized for grading purposes nor be denied course completion, grade level advancement or graduation solely on the basis of the student's absence from the regular classroom during the period of the hospital or homebound instruction.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, if a student is unable to attend regular classes pursuant to a summons, subpoena, court order, statute or rule, then the student's absence shall be an excused absence and the student shall be afforded the opportunity to complete all assignments missed for this purpose.
(2) Subdivision (c)(1) shall not apply if a student's absence is:
(A) The result of a commission of a delinquent act and notice of intent to transfer the student to criminal court has been provided pursuant to § 37-1-134; or
(B) For detention purposes pursuant to § 37-1-114(c).
Acts 1983, ch. 243, § 1; T.C.A., § 49-118; Acts 1990, ch. 903, § 2; 2009, ch. 490, § 1.