Chronic Absenteeism


Chronic absenteeism affects students across Tennessee and occurs when a student misses 10 percent or more of the days enrolled.

The following is a list of the most common causes that can lead to chronic absenteeism;

·         Failing grades

·         Bullying

·         Illness – acute vs chronic

·         Caring for another family member

·         Mental or emotional health issues

·         Difficulties with housing or food

·         Parental substance abuse

·         Vacation/Trips

The National Association of School Nurses, NASN, says children with chronic conditions are at risk for high absentee rates, low student engagement, dropping out of school, exposure to bullying, disruptive behaviors, poor grades and below average performance of standardized achievement tests.  

Asthma is a leading chronic illness among adolescent children in the United States and is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. Nearly 1 in 2 children with asthma miss at least one day of school each year. Asthma friendly schools work to provide appropriate school and mental health services for students with asthma while providing a healthy school environment to reduce asthma triggers. In Tennessee, 85 percent of public schools reported having a school wide asthma action plan. You can find out more about how schools are addressing asthma concerns here.

Mental health is one factor that can lead to chronic absenteeism. In the U.S. 1 in 5 children has a diagnosable mental health disorder. Students with mental illness are frequently absent from school and many experience reductions in academic achievement. Among students with disabling conditions, young people with mental illness are the most likely to drop out of school.

During the 2016-2017 school year the most common illnesses or disability diagnoses in Tennessee public schools were;

·         Asthma (34 percent)

·         ADHD/ADD (26 percent)

·         Severe allergies (17 percent)