Panther Newsletter

April 2019 Edition

Last Day of School for Panthers!

Due to the missed school days, our Panthers last day will be on June 6th. June 6th will be an early release day for students. June 4, 2019 will NOT be an early release day, but it will be a full day of school due to HS finals. Please mark your calendars with these updates! Thank you!

Changes to Student Handbook for 2019-20

Please Read!

During the March board meeting, the Board of School Trustees approved unanimously changes to the Student Handbook for 2019-20 school year. The changes are:

  • Attendance:


Irregular attendance is one of the chief causes of poor work and failure. Carelessness in attendance frequently leads to carelessness in habits of study and work and also contributes to loss of interest in school. The responsibility for a student’s school attendance is with the student and his/her parents. All students are expected to attend regularly and be on time. The staff believes that students miss important experiences when they are not in school. While it is possible to “make-up” the academic work missed, it is impossible to “make-up” the total educational experience that can only be gained by being in attendance.


Griffith Public Schools Absence is defined as missing the entire day or any part (period) of it for any reason. An hourly and/or daily record is kept for each student on a semester basis.

High School/Middle School parents are requested to call each morning between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. to report their child’s absence. This is to protect the child. If the school has not been called by 9:00 a.m., you can expect to be called.

Elementary parents need to call the school between 8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. This is to protect the child. If the school has not been called by 9:30 a.m., you can expect to be called.


1. Any student has an opportunity to earn credit in a class provided the student does not have more than eight (8) absences in the class without an approved attendance waiver.

2. Any student who accumulates more than eight (8) absences in a given class may lose credit. If the student is not removed from the class, but does not qualify for an attendance waiver, the student shall receive the grade earned in the class with an N/C (no credit) notation. The student shall receive no credit toward a Griffith High School diploma.


1. Participation in school-related activities and/or field trips that have been approved by administration and each of the student’s teachers.

2. Military examinations. (See Pre-Arranged Absence procedures.)

3. Student serves as a page in the Indiana General Assembly. (See Pre-Arranged Absence procedures.)

4. Visit to a college campus, vocational training institution, and apprenticeship centers. Limited to eleventh (11th) grade and twelfth(12th) grade students. Only three (3) days per school year will be allowed with administrative approval.

5. Deaths and funerals of members in the immediate family consisting of a parent, sibling, or grandparent. Students who are absent for this reason must have a parent call the school and bring in a note from a parent explaining the absence.

6. Physician’s/Medical excuse: If a student has medical orders stating the student cannot be in the building due to illness, hospitalization, or other medical need this document must be presented upon the student’s return to school with the proper dates of the student’s absence(s). Additionally, this document must be on the physician’s letterhead or office form, and must be signed by physician or his/her office personnel and be verified by the school.

7. Absences occurring because a student is issued a subpoena to appear in court as a witness in a judicial proceeding.

8. Religious holidays that falls on the school calendar and has administration approval.


1. Students who are absent must have a parent or guardian call the Building/Attendance Office at the following numbers:

GHS: 219-924-4281

GMS: 219-924-4280

Beiriger: 219-924-4030

Ready: 219-838-4214

Wadsworth: 219-923-4488

A phone call or handwritten letter from a parent/legal guardian does not excuse an absence. Absences will only be excused by the criteria listed above.

2. Per Indiana Code 20-33-2-18, “If a parent does not send his child to school because of the child’s illness or mental or physical incapacity, it is unlawful for the parent to fail or refuse to produce a certificate of the incapacity for an attendance officer within five (5) days after it is demanded. The certificate required under this section shall be signed by an Indiana physician...” This will have an effect on the student’s eight-day absence limit.

3. Pre-Arranged Absence Procedure: Students may obtain Pre-Arranged Absence form from the Attendance Office when a student will miss two (2) or more days of school. A phone call from a parent/guardian is necessary to secure the form. The form must be completed and presented to each classroom teacher for approval at least three (3) days in advance, and returned to the Attendance Office. Please note that any absence, pre-arranged or not pre-arranged which does not meet one of the excused absences listed above will be counted against the eight-day limit per semester for students to earn high school credit and it will also count against the ten-day elementary school year limit. Requests for pre-arranged absences that will occur during final exams must be submitted in writing to the principal and are subject to his/her approval.


1. Students will be granted one (1) day for each day of absence to make up missed assignments, but not to exceed ten (10) school days.

Circumstances requiring more than ten (10) school days must be approved by a building administrator. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements for make-up work with his/her teachers. This provision does not apply to major tests, projects, or long-term assignments or other assignments of which students have been informed of by their teachers well in advance; however, the teacher may use discretion in establishing the due date for these assignments.

When possible, notify the school or appropriate teacher at least 24 hours in advance of when you want assignments ready to be picked up.

2. No additional time will be allocated for UNEXCUSED absences. Additional time may be granted for absences due to OUT-OF- SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS. Students who are issued an out-of-school suspension are responsible for making arrangements to get assignments from their teachers to complete for credit during the time they are serving the suspension or in a mutually agreeable (Administrator / Teacher / Parent / Student) amount of time when they return from their suspension. It is the student’s/parent’s responsibility to make arrangements to have those assignments picked up. No additional time will be allocated for IN-SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS since students are required to get work from their teachers prior to serving their suspension.


Truancies are defined as:

1. An absence wherein the parent or guardian believes the student is present in class, school authorities believe the student is absent due to illness, and the student is neither absent due to illness nor in class.

2. A student who leaves class, cafeteria or the building without faculty permission.

3. Students arriving more than 10 minutes late to class other than 1st hour.

4. Students arriving more than 10 minutes late to 1st hour are considered unexcused. Suspension will be issued for each unexcused absence beyond two per semester.

5. Students not immediately reporting to the Administrative Offices when removed from the classroom for disciplinary reasons by the teacher and/or classroom supervisor.

6. When a student reaches 5 unexcused absences the parent/Guardian will be notified.

7. When a student reaches 10 unexcused absence the parents/Guardian, Department of Child Services, and LCJC will be notified.

8. When a student reaches 15 unexcused absence the parent/Guardian, Departments of Child Services, and LCJC will be contacted for the second time, and criminal charges may be filed against the parent/Guardian. IC 20-33-2-27 Compulsory attendance; parent’s responsibility.

Note: Truancy is recorded on a school year basis not by semesters.


Habitual Truancy is defined as:

IC Code 20-20-8-8.19: Habitual truancy, which includes the number of students who have been absent 10 days or more from school within a school year without being excused or without being absent under a parental request that has been filed with the school.

IC Code 20-33-2-25: The superintendent or an attendance officer having jurisdiction shall report a child who is habitually absent from school in violation of this chapter to an intake officer of the juvenile court or the department of child services.

Habitual Truancy Designation: On the third truancy from a class or classes during a school year, a student who is at least thirteen (13) but less than fifteen (15) years of age may be classified as a habitual truant and may have his/her name sent to the Indian Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Furthermore, the school principal cannot sign the official Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles form for students applying for an operator’s license or a learner’s permit, until the student becomes eighteen or until he/she is no longer classified as a habitual truant. A student older than sixteen (16) years of age, with a present drivers permit or license may have the license revoked for 120 days. The following descriptors also indicate Habitual Truancy:

1. Defies parental authority in failing to attend school.

2. Has a repeated, continuous pattern of absences over a period of time such as a grading period.

3. Has a large number of aggregate absences over the period of a school year.

Please note that students who are classified as Habitual Truants or who have 5 or more days of unexcused absence will be referred to the Lake County Juvenile Court Division for truancy from school.


1. Students are tardy if they are not in their designated area when the bell rings for class to begin.

2. Students reporting to class more than ten (10) minutes late will be considered truant rather than tardy.

3. Students removed early from class unexcused will be also be considered tardy, as they are

missing valuable instructional time, the same as arriving late to school.

4. Tardies are cumulative for each semester and will reset at the beginning of a new semester.

5. Details of consequences for excessive tardiness are listed under Grounds for Disciplinary Action.

The following is the procedure for Tardies:

1. Tardies are calculated in a cumulative manner. Ten (10) tardies will result in one (1) unexcused day of absence. If a student is to leave the school day for any reason, without a written note, that will count as a tardy. Parents/guardians must provide a valid reason for the absence to be excused. The school will take appropriate disciplinary action related to tardiness to be determined by the administration.
2. If a student accumulates five (5) tardies, the parent/guardian will be contacted via mail.
3. If a student accumulates ten (10) tardies, the parent/guardian will be contacted via mail and phone call from administration.
4. If a student accumulates twenty (20) tardies, the parent/guardian will be contacted via mail, phone call from administration and the Home/School Advisor to request a conference with school personnel and the parent/guardian.
5. If a student accumulates more than twenty (20) tardies, the parent/guardian will be referred to prevention/intervention services.
6. Continual, excessive tardies resulting in unexcused days and missed instructional time will result in a referral to the Department of Child Services and, in extreme cases, criminal charges.
If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact your school principal or dean of students.

  • Discipline:

DISRESPECT is defined as the following:

Behaving in a manner towards staff, an adult in authority, or peers that is rude, unpleasant, impolite, discourteous, inappropriate, or unprofessional will not be tolerated. Any behavior that causes hurt feelings, distresses, disturbs, and/or displays a lack of regard for others is subject to disciplinary action, including expulsion.

The Corporation uses the following criteria for selection within the ranges of possible penalties when imposing disciplinary sanctions.

· Prior offenses of any nature (established behavioral pattern)

· Multiple behavioral offences occurring during the offense

· Behavior plan, 504, or IEP

· Age and grade level of the student

· Medical attention sought

· Warnings given prior to the offense occurring

Kindergarten Round-up for 2019-20 school year is here!

On April 10th and 11th between the hours of 10am - 2pm, parents can enroll their child into kindergarten for the school year 2019-20. Please refer to the following:

  • Parents and child must attend the event.
  • Bring child's original birth certificate and immunization records.
  • To be eligible for kindergarten, child must be 5 years old on or before August 1, 2019.
  • Enrollment is open to only Griffith residents.
  • For more information, please contact the elementary school in which your child will be attending.