Front Cover
 Title Page
 Advisory committee
 Table of Contents
 Report of committee from the state...
 Part I: School attendance in a...
 Part II: Factors relating...
 Part III: Program for improving...
 Part IV: Records and reports relating...

Title: School attendance service in Florida;
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080913/00001
 Material Information
Title: School attendance service in Florida;
Physical Description: Book
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080913
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Advisory committee
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Report of committee from the state probation association
        Page ix
        Page x
    Part I: School attendance in a democracy
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Part II: Factors relating to attendance
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Part III: Program for improving attendance service
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Part IV: Records and reports relating to attendance
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
Full Text

School Attendance


In Florida


Florida Program
improvement of Schools

March, 1942

inSH, State Bpm*atmendet




d i e _ ia ( J7 d ,/1 '( ')

School Attendance


In Florida


Florida Program
for Improvement of Schools

March, 1942


Prepared at
University of Florida, Gainesville

COLIN ENGLISH, State Superintendent

F/Orl'd, '-4A-i"



John D. Anderson....Attendance Assistant, Bay County, Panama City
Jessie Parker Avril....Principal, West Augustine School, St. Augustine
Annie Belle Bass.......---------------------....
Chief School Attendance Assistant, Hillsborough County, Tampa
Landis Blitch..........-......---..Attendance Assistant, Marion County, Ocala
Percy Brooke-......................---------Principal, Grand Park School, Jacksonville
Lillian S. Cahow....Attendance Assistant, St. Lucie County, Ft. Pierce
Alan E. Hart ..--..------------ Taylor County High School, Perry
Harmon H. Harper -------------------............. Eustis High School, Eustis
Alexander Maultsby--......... ---......----.....--...Principal, Waldo School, Waldo
M. Lorraine T. Simmons --
.-..........---. Attendance Assistant, Franklin County, Carrabelle
Virginia B. Snipes-.... ..........-- .----...........- ....- .......-- ..---.
-........---- Attendance Assistant, Hillsborough County, Tampa
Joseph M. Stowers ........ .-------- .................-
....Principal, Forest Grove Elementary School, Alachua
Providence Velasco.... ........-- ........... ...---- .---- ...
-.....-.......- Attendance Assistant, Hillsborough County, Tampa

School attendance service must be considered from an
entirely different point of view today from that which pre-
vailed just a few years ago. It has been only a relatively
short time since school attendance work was thought of
largely as a matter of law enforcement. The customary
method of enforcing the law was to employ a "truant
officer" whose duty it was to keep the children in school.
According to this conception, attendance work was ex-
ceedingly simple and did not require any particular
knowledge on the part of the attendance "officer" con-
cerning what was going on in the school, about child
psychology, or about conditions in the home.
It is now generally understood that attendance service
involves many complex and difficult problems. The term
"attendance officer" is advisedly no longer used in Flor-
ida. The attendance worker, or the attendance assistant,
to use the legal term, must be an unusually capable and
well trained person. He must understand the problems
of the schoolroom and therefore should have training sim-
ilar to that of a teacher. In addition, the attendance assist-
ant must be trained to work with the home and the pupil
very much as a social worker, except from a somewhat
different point of view. In fact, an attendance worker
must have the training and ability which will enable him
not only to analyze problems in the field and discover the
causes back of non-attendance or of irregular attendance in
each case, but also to solve those problems. He must work
with the school, home, community and with the child.
Furthermore, each principal and teacher should under-
stand the field of attendance service sufficiently well to
be able to assist materially in solving the problems which
The committee which prepared this bulletin has incor-
porated this broader point of view regarding school at-
tendance service throughout its pages. The bulletin
should serve as an invaluable handbook covering the field
of attendance service for teachers, principals, County
Superintendents, attendance assistants and, in fact, for
any others who are interested in or have responsibilities
for problems in the field of school attendance.
State Superintendent.

E. L. Robinson, County Superintendent, Hillsborough County
T. W. Lawton, County Superintendent, Seminole County
Howard Bishop, County Superintendent Alachua County
John S. McColskey, Board Member, Columbia County
Mrs. Mildred Wells, Board Member, Volusia County
J. Earl Myers, Board Member, Lake County
Mrs. L. H. Gibbs, President, Florida Congress of Parents and Teach-
ers, Orlando
Mrs. H. L. Pringle, Second Vice President, Florida Congress of Parents
and Teachers, Leesburg
W. P. Douglass, Attendance Assistant, Duval County
0. J. Detrick, Principal, Manatee High School
F. W. Buchholz, Principal, Gainesville High School
Mrs. Irene Christen, Principal, Ft. Pierce Elementary School
Sara Ferguson, Memorial Junior High School, Orlando
Harriet Wood, Student, P. K. Yonge Laboratory School, Gainesville
Hart Stringfellow, Student, P. K. Yonge Laboratory School, Gaines-
Paul Kickliter, Judge, Juvenile Court, Hillsborough County
Dr. J. N. Patterson, Assistant State Health Officer, Jacksonville
Jean Henderson, State Department of Public Health, Jacksonville
A. R. Mead, Director of Research, University of Florida, Gainesville
R. L. Eyman, Dean, Florida State College for Women, Tallahassee
T. H. Hutchinson, State Labor Inspector, Lakeland
Paul Eddy, State Department of Education, Tallahassee
Miss Sara Williams, State Welfare Department, Jacksonville
Miss Sara Maxwell, Child Welfare Supervisor, Alachua County
Miss Ella Ketchin, Regional Child Labor Consultant, Children's
Bureau, Department of Labor, Washington, D. C.
Miss Carrie Lou Allgood, Child Labor Consultant, Children's
Bureau, Department of Labor, Washington, D. C.

School Attendance in a Democracy
I. POINT OF VIEW -----------------..................----------......................................------- 1
Education Essential in a Democracy---....................----.----------.......... 1
State Responsible for Assuring Universal Education.... 2
Attendance not an End in Itself....................................----------- 3
Emphasis Should be on Voluntary Education...---............. 4
Definite Attendance Requirements Essential.......---........... 5
Attendance and Child Labor Requirements Inter-related 6
Meaning of Attendance Service.............................----------------..--...... 7
Planning for Effective Attendance Service------------ 7

Compulsory Attendance: Pro and Con............................-------- 10
Trends in Compulsory Attendance.................................----------. 12
Trends in Child Labor Legislation--......---........---...........-......... 14
Development of Attendance Service...............................---------. 16
Attendance Trends .......................------------............................------.------------ 17
Relationship Between Attendance and School Progress. 20
Problems and Needs.................------.------.............-----------------....... 20

Factors Relating to Attendance

III. THE COMMUNITY------------............---............-----------------........--... 22
Types of Communities --------------.......................--------........----. 23
Urban Communities......................----------.................-------------------. 24
Rural Communities .....................--------.........----------------------....... 25
Industries .........................--------------............------ ---------------- 26
Stability .... ------------------..................................--------------------- 27
Economic Status.....-------------...........................-----------------...---. 28
Traditions...............------------------..................-------------------- 29
Health ....................-----------------.................-----------------------. 30
Welfare.......................---------------------------------------................ 31
Leadership .....................---------------.....--------------......------......... 32
IV. THE HOME...................--------------------.........----------.........--------34
Home Environment ...................-------------..................-----------------. 34
Housing ---......................----------....................-------------- 35
The Family----------------.................................--------------------- 35
Educational Status ..............................--------------------.----------.............. 36
Occupational and Employment Status--------------- 37
Economic Status ...................----------..................-----------------------. 38
Health -----------------.....................................----------- ------------ 38


Nationality......---- ..........-------------..............--------------.....---- 39
Religion .------------------.................................---------------------. 39

V. THE SCHOOL ..------....-......----.------------- 41
School Policies --...........---- -.. -------............. 41
Organization -----------------------.----------- 42
The School and Its Surroundings--.--.................-------...-------.... 43
Transportation--- -- ----------------------------- 44
The Principal------------.......................-------- -----------.... 45
Teachers ..................-----------------...............------ ---------------- 46
Discipline .-........--...........--------------- .............--------------...-----.. 47
The Curriculum --------------------------------- 47
School and Community Relationships --------------- 48

VI. CHILD LABOR PROVISIONS..................-------............---------------.. 50
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act ------------- 51
The Florida Child Labor Law.........---- ..---------...---- ----52
Certificate Requirements ...............------....-------------- ........ 7
Suggestions for Cooperation-..............................---------------------....... 59

ANCE...............-------------................--------------------.---.. 61
School Facilities Authorized .......------..... ......-----.--........-----. 61
Meaning of School Attendance -----.......................-------....--------- 62
Age of Entrance .................................. ................. 64
Compulsory Attendance Requirements ...----....-......--............... --66
Certificates of Exemption--...........-..-..---.....----.............------------- 69
Evidence of Date of Birth ----------------------- 71
Administration of Employment Certificates......--.........-------- 77
Special Certificate of Employment During Vacation or
Out-of-School Hours.........--------------.............--...........----------.. 79
Age Certificates .....................-----............--------------- ---.... 82

Program for Improving Attendance Service

Organization for Attendance Service....----.....----.---..............----..-. 84
Developing a County Program ...........---............-..-..-------.......---. 86
Securing the Cooperation of Related Agencies...--.--.......... 89
Adjustments According to Size of County............------------....... 93
Place of the Individual School in the Program..---.............. --94
Interpretation of the Program.....................................-------------------. 94


Role of the Attendance Assistant......--......-..............-..---------------.. 95
Qualifications of the Attendance Assistant----------- 97
Responsibility for the County Program -------------- 99
Working with Non-attendance Cases--------------- 102
Working with Irregular Attendance Cases......................------ 103
Working with Parents........-............---------........--------.---------........... 105
Working with Non-public Schools..................................----------------. 105
Working with Employers-....---..........----...........---------------..---- 106
Case Studies........----------------............... .........--------------.-----. 107
Issuing Certificates .................----------.............---.---------- 108
Planning for Efficient Work............................--------------.------......... 109

Responsibility of the Principal...............................---------------......---. 110
Relationship to County Program ------------------- 110
Working with the Attendance Assistant....................-------- 111
Developing the School Program.............................-----------------.. 112
Getting Children to Go to School.........--.................-------....---... 112
Keeping Children in School ----------- ------------ 114
Discovering Individual Attendance Problems-------- 116
Working with Specific Problems...........--......................--------------. 117
Reasons for Non-attendance ......---........ .. .........-----------. 118
Attendance as Related to Discipline ---------------- 122
Exemptions from Attendance --------------------- 123
Working with Community Agencies-- ---- -------- 123

Records and Reports Relating to Attendance

XI. THE SCHOOL CENSUS ------............. ...---.......... 124
Purpose of School Census ................... .............------. 124
Continuing vs. Periodic Census...................---............-------------- 125
Inaugurating a School Census--------------------- 126
Keeping the Census Up to Date -- -------------- 130
The Census Record ------------------------------ 131
The Census Files --..........................------- -----.... 132
Using the Census ...... .....--------------------........ 135

Teachers Register of Attendance ............................. ... 136
Bus Drivers Schedule and Report Books.....----................--------.. 138
Principals Record and Report Book.......--...................----.----..... 138


Non-Enrollment and Unexcused Absence Reports.......... 140
Transfers .-.............................-------...............-------------................. 1----------- 140
Permanent Cumulative Record Folder...................---........---. 144
Miscellaneous Forms.....--------.......................--------------.--......... 144

ASSISTANT IS RESPONSIBLE........--..................------ 146
Central Child Accounting Records...........................------.--.--..... 146
Checking Attendance and Other Reports------------ 148
Non-Enrollment and Absence Reports-------------- 148
Investigations and Case Studies Reports......................--------. 149
Issuance of Certificates--------------....................................----------..-... 151
Reports to the County Superintendent..........................---------.. 151

(Committee appointed to study and submit findings on practical working
relations between school systems and juvenile courts, particularly with
reference to behavior problems growing out of the school situation).

The Committee presents the following general statements:
1. That it should be recognized by school authorities that the mat-
ter of school attendance is primarily a duty and responsibility of the
school; that Courts should not be called upon merely to enforce school
attendance and school discipline; and that the authority of the court
should not be invoked except as a last resort where a%,order must be
made and enforced against the will of the child, the parents, or both.
2. That the functions of a School Attendance Assistant should be
officially construed to be that of a School Social and Welfare Worker
rather than that of a School Policeman.
3. That the school should study and evaluate its curriculum in the
following respects: Is the curriculum flexible and built to meet the
needs and capacities of the children? Are there facilities and materials
to challenge the curiosity and arouse the interests of exceptional chil-
dren, the mentally limited, and manual minded? Does it skillfully try
to shift pupils where a teacher-pupil antagonism has grown up? Does
it hold on to teachers who have out grown their usefulness or who
antagonize pupils? Does it make a serious effort to see that the excep-
tional children are given tasks commensurable with their special abili-
ties or limitations so that the goal of "no child shall fail" is
Note: These questions are not asked in an unsympathetic spirit.
The Committee knows that many school systems are struggling
against terrific obstacles, financial, political and otherwise.
Still the Committee feels these questions are pertinent to the
attendance problem.
4. That the school authorities should study effective school systems
where satisfactory procedure and personnel standards have been
worked out in the matter of visiting teachers, attendance supervisors,
the number required for given school population groups, etc., and
should build toward these tried and proved systems of handling be-
havior problems including, of course, truancy.

The Committee presents the following practical suggestions as
to the steps to be taken in dealing with attendance problems:
1. The principal and teacher or teachers involved, especially where
there is no visiting teacher or attendance service or the services
are limited should contact, consult and work with the parents in an
effort to secure cooperation in attendance and adjustment to the school
program. The Committee has knowledge of instances where this direct
method has been followed by devoted teachers and principals with
gratifying results.
2. Where this first step fails the attendance assistant should by in-
dividual case work, endeavor to bring about adjustment with the child
and his family utilizing medical, psychological, psychiatric and social

work services and facilities to whatever degree they are available in
order to focus community resources and services on the child, his
family and his problem.
3. Principals and teachers and individual schools should develop
ways and means of encouraging the pupils themselves to take pride in
good attendance through the operation of some plan of pupil organiza-
tion. We feel that schools might form a "student attendance council"
in order to promote plans for and interest in a good attendance record
for each pupil and for the school. Regular attendance should be
recognized as a desirable characteristic of a good citizen and should
be given consideration in connection with good citizenship and other
similar honor awards.
4. If the parents are obdurate or grossly derelict in their duty and
the elements exist for making out a case of "contributing to the delin-
quency of a minor" action in the appropriate court may be initiated.
5. If other factors than truancy exist, or if the home conditions are
grossly unfit, or there is depravity and unmorality in the family that
cannot be inhibited or eliminated, the child may be brought into court
and placed in the custody of wholesome and proper persons or institu-
tions suitable to his needs.

The Committee expresses its hearty appreciation to the State
Department of Education for preparing this exhaustive and thor-
ough bulletin on the subject of school attendance. It should be most
useful and helpful.

Judge of Juvenile Court Judge of Juvenile Court
Dade County Duval County
Miami, Florida Jacksonville, Florida

Judge of Juvenile Court Judge of Juvenile Court
Hillsborough County Polk County
Tampa, Florida Bartow, Florida
H. L. SEBRING, President, Florida
Probation and Parole Association and
Ex-Officio Member of Committee
Judge of Circuit Court
Gainesville, Florida

PAUL E. RAYMOND, Chairman of Committee
Assistant Attorney General
State of Florida
Tallahassee, Florida

Part I
School Attendance in a Democracy
The point of view a person accepts regarding education
and attendance service determines his entire approach to
the problems involved. If he does not believe strongly in
education, he will not be much concerned about attend-
ance service. If he believes that each person should be
permitted to do as he wishes about attending school, his
attitudes, reactions and procedures will be entirely differ-
ent than if he believes that education for every child is
essential regardless of the apparent wishes or desires of
that child or of his parents. If he believes in getting
results through emphasis on law enforcement, his reac-
tions and procedures will be entirely different than if he
believes that satisfactory results can best be obtained
through an understanding of the problems and needs.
It is because the point of view regarding attendance
service is so significant that this chapter is devoted to a
discussion of the implications of the Florida Program for
the Improvement of Schools in the field of attendance
A democracy cannot function without intelligent and
capable citizens. If the people in a democracy make too
many wrong decisions the results sooner or later are
bound to be disastrous. It, therefore, becomes of vital
importance to a democracy to see that every future citizen
not only knows how to read, write and calculate but that
he be sufficiently well educated that he can participate
intelligently in the making of decisions. A democracy
cannot afford to leave education to a matter of chance,
for that might threaten its very existence. It must de-
velop and put into practical operation a plan for seeing
that every child has an opportunity for an adequate
education and takes full advantage of that opportunity.
When the way of life was simpler, even after this
country was established, the matter of the amount of
education each child should receive or the question of


whether he should receive any formal education at all
was left largely to the family and the community to de-
termine. Children who did not do well in school were
commonly encouraged to drop out of school and begin
work. Many children did not even enter school because
their parents were not interested or could not afford to
send them. At one time it was a relatively easy matter
for a person to select a trade and often enter a profession
and get his training through a form of apprenticeship
even though he had little or no formal education. That
is no longer the situation today.
Civilization has become increasingly complicated and
difficult to understand. Education affords the only means
of helping persons to evaluate the civilization in which
they are living and to assist in making the necessary
improvements. We now recognize that what the individ-
ual does affects directly not himself alone, but society
generally. When he fails through lack of education to
develop his capacities he has taken something from the
potential effectiveness of the Nation. Consequently it is
recognized that every child must not only be given the
opportunity but must be required to develop his talents
and abilities in order that he may contribute to the
proper functioning of the Nation.
In some of the European countries the central govern-
ment has traditionally assumed responsibility for educa-
tion. In America the responsibility belongs basically not
to the Federal Government itself, but to each of the
separate states. The Federal Government from the be-
ginning has been interested in stimulating education in
the various states by providing financial assistance and
other means of encouragement. The Federal Govern-
ment, however, has not attempted to regulate or control
the form of education. That is left by the Constitution to
the states.
The state in most instances has not attempted to assume
the responsibility for initiating or directly administering
the educational program. That is made the responsibility
of the local school administrative unit, which, in Florida,
is the county. It is recognized however, that counties and
communities within the various counties vary greatly in
initiative and interest in education. For that reason the


state has established minimum standards in an effort to
guarantee a suitable educational program for every child.
These standards do not take away the right or responsi-
bility of local initiative but raise the level above which it
must function.
One of the areas in which such standards have been
prescribed in all states is school attendance. Every state
has now assumed the responsibility for determining cer-
tain minimum school facilities which must be available
to every child. The state commonly requires that all
children between certain ages must attend schools regu-
larly, that the schools are to be operated for a certain
minimum number of months each year and prescribes
other minimum standards in the way of minimum quali-
fications for teachers, maximum teaching loads and pre-
scribes other similar standards so as to assure that all
children will have a reasonable minimum in the way of
educational opportunity. It is recognized that if the
state did not take such steps, there would be many chil-
dren who would not attend school at all or who would
attend very irregularly, many communities which would
have only limited school facilities or perhaps none at all
and that many persons would be attempting to teach
who could not satisfactorily deal with educational prob-

It should be obvious that school attendance is not an
end in itself. It is merely one means to attaining the ob-
jective of having a universally educated citizenry. With-
out the requirement that all children attend school regu-
larly during certain ages, it would be impossible to attain
this objective. Thus, compulsory attendance becomes
an important means to the attainment of the end or ob-
jective of adequate education for all children.
This means that there must at all times be a very close
and cooperative relationship between the school program
and the program of attendance service. It is not possible
to have effective attendance service unless principals and
teachers understand something about the problems in-
volved and are willing to assume their proper responsibil-
ities for helping to solve the problems of attendance.
Similarly any person designated as having major respon-
sibility in the field of attendance, such as an attendance


assistant must understand the school program practically
as well as the teachers themselves in order to be able to
deal successfully with attendance problems. If that very
close relationship does not exist there is always the possi-
bility that attendance problems may be left largely to the
attendance assistant who may center his attention on
getting children in school and maladjustments may con-
tinue after that task is accomplished. Attendance service
does not function satisfactorily unless it results in such
adjustments between the home, school, community and
pupil that the objective of adequate education for all
children can be attained.
The problem of attendance for a child has not been
solved merely because his name has been placed on a
class roll or his number of days present has been in-
creased. The problem has been solved only when he is
well adjusted, is making satisfactory progress in his
school work and is developing into an effective and effi-
cient citizen of the community, state and Nation.
It is possible to and in fact relatively easy to over-
emphasize the importance of perfect attendance for all
children. When a child is ill or has a bad cold which may
develop more seriously or even spread to other children,
he certainly should not be encouraged to attend school.
Greater benefit will be derived in the long run, if such a
child remains at home or is sent home if he comes to
school. The objective is not a perfect attendance record
for every child but reasonable regularity of attendance
for all children consistent with good health and satis-
factory progress.
The statements above indicate that the emphasis in a
democracy should not be on compulsory education, but
rather on voluntary education. The objective should be
to have schools so organized and have such a close rela-
tionship between home, school and community that all
parents will want their children to attend school regularly
and that the children themselves will want to attend. Hu-
man beings are so constituted that optimum results can be
obtained over a long period of time only when major at-
tention is given to this type of planning and organization.
Unfortunately some persons reach the conclusion that be-
cause emphasis is to be placed on creating a situation
where attendance and education are voluntary, the


matter as to whether a person is to attend school should
be left entirely to him or to his parents. This conclusion
does not follow. It must always be recognized that there
are some persons or groups who, either through ignorance
or selfishness, will not cooperate voluntarily. It is for
that reason that attendance and other laws are necessary
and that there must be some plan of organization and
administration to see that these laws function satisfac-
torily. Using compulsion as a means of securing attend-
ance should be the method of last resort. When all
reasonable efforts have been made to remove or improve
the conditions which seem to contribute to non-attendance
and these efforts have failed and when the school has.
unsuccessfully exerted every effort to meet the needs of
the problem pupils, then it may be necessary to resort to
Compulsory attendance laws are not designed to in-
fringe upon the rights of the individual, but rather to
guarantee for him one of his greatest rights as an
American,-the right to a free public education. If that
right is to be assured to all children no matter what their
economic or social circumstances, there must be in each
state a series or system of laws relating to compulsory
attendance rather than one single attendance law. For
example, if children live in a community which is very
poor, the state cannot simply pass a law requiring a
nine-month term and expect that law to be enforced. The
state must provide a system of financing the schools so
that children in the less fortunate communities will have
opportunities which compare reasonably favorably with
those in the more fortunate communities. In other words,
without an adequate system of state support for schools,
compulsory attendance becomes, to some extent, imprac-
ticable. Moreover, the system of state aid must be suffi-
ciently comprehensive to provide for all phases of educa-
tion. If the state should undertake to provide money only
for teachers' salaries it would soon be found that there
are children so located that they could not attend school
because of distance and lack of transportation. Moreover,
there must be teaching supplies, library books, adequate
heating, miscellaneous other supplies and services needed
by the school, and a satisfactory and properly equipped
building. This means that there must be a comprehensive
and well-integrated system of state support which will


assure that all of these needed facilities are provided on
a minimum basis in all communities. Satisfactory attend-
ance, likewise, is related to the provision of proper
health, social and economic services which are necessary
to assure that all children can attend school and benefit
from their attendance.
The fact that a state has failed to take every step
practicable in these areas does not mean that attendance
service becomes impossible. It simply means that there
are greater difficulties and more problems to be solved
before the service can be satisfactory.
Furthermore, laws directly involving school attendance
need to be both definite and comprehensive. If the laws
are vague and subject to varying interpretations, if they
cover only one aspect of the field of attendance service,
or if they provide for so many exceptions that they are not
enforceable, the problems of attendance service will be
to that extent increasingly complicated. The laws should
state specifically the age limits during which regular
attendance is compulsory, should prescribe and delimit
exceptions which can be made and establish machinery
for making those exceptions, should establish procedures
for enforcement, and should prescribe such qualifications
for those who are to assume responsibility for attendance
service that intelligent administration will be reasonably
assured. Fortunately the school attendance laws in Flor-
ida have recently been revised and modernized and tend
to facilitate satisfactory attendance service.

While child labor laws may not, as such, be directly
concerned with school attendance, they are, nevertheless
very closely related to the problems in that field. If a
state permits children of school age to be employed with-
out satisfactory limitations, attendance will become that
much more difficult to enforce for a large number of chil-
dren. The Florida child labor laws have been revised
and modernized within the last few years so that, as a
result, there is a very close and cooperative relationship
between the child labor and attendance laws of the state.
Fortunately the child labor law practically eliminates the
opportunity to employ children of compulsory school at-
tendance age during school hours and prevents or se-


verely restricts employment of children at any time in
many occupations. Persons working in the field of school
attendance need to understand all of the implications and
developments in the field of child labor and persons
having responsibilities in that field need to keep in very
close touch with developments in school attendance
Attendance service is not simply a means of enforcing
the attendance laws. Instead it should serve primarily as
a means of discovering and diagnosing problems of irreg-
ular attendance and of working out the solutions to those
problems. When a child fails to enroll in school or does
not attend regularly, there is always a maladjustment
which must be located and remedied. The difficulty
usually goes beyond the personal whims of the child or of
his parents. It may arise from the physical conditions of
the child, from his mental attitude or outlook, from un-
wholesome home conditions, lack of parental interest, an
unattractive school environment, a school program which
does not meet the needs of the child, or from any com-
bination of these or other factors. Sometimes the factor
which seems most obvious is not the one which has the
greatest bearing on the attendance of a particular child.
Locating the difficulty and the cause of the difficulty can
usually result only from careful investigation and con-
ferences with the several persons who are or should be
involved. Locating the cause of non-attendance is basic
for unless this is done promptly any remedial program
would be ineffective. It is the responsibility of the schools,
therefore, to provide attendance service which will
function successfully in locating the conditions which
interfere with regular school attendance and satisfactory
progress of pupils in school and which will solve the
problems in such a way as to result in improved attend-
ance and more satisfactory school work. An attendance
assistant therefore is primarily a diagnostician and coun-
selor on attendance problems for parents, children and
teachers; and, should resort to the "truant officer" role
only in extreme cases when no other method will meet
with success.
The problem of non-attendance must be viewed as a
socio-economic problem. This means that the schools
must develop a plan which will enlist and use effectively


the services of competent persons who are concerned
with and who are trained to deal with problems of child
adjustment and welfare. If appreciable gains are to be
made in improving attendance service in Florida, such
a systematic and cooperative plan must be developed.
Each county, therefore, should have an organization com-
prised of the county superintendent, an attendance as-
sistant if practicable, pricipals and teachers, welfare
workers, health officials and representatives of other
organizations who will work together, effectively in
improving attendance. Careful planning is needed to pre-
vent overlapping of effort, to assign duties and respon-
sibilities, to formulate definite objectives, principles and
procedures, and to coordinate all efforts for the good of
the child. The plan must be comprehensive and definite
enough for each member of the organization to know his
expected sphere of activity, yet flexible enough to permit
adjustments needed to care for any situation.
Each county must have an effective program of attend-
ance service, if school attendance in Florida is to be
improved. It is not sufficient to talk about better attend-
ance or write articles about it or to stage campaigns that
will result in getting larger numbers of children in school
on a temporary basis. There must be a long-time con-
tinuing and functioning plan which will actually result in
solving the problems involved.


Almost every possible point of view regarding attend-
ance service can be found in Florida at the present time.
There are probably a number of people in nearly every
community who do not believe that children should have
to go to school unless they want to go or unless the parents
want them to attend. Many parents feel that they should
have a right to keep their children out of school to work,
particularly during the growing season. This attitude is
dominant in certain communities. On the other hand,
there are some leaders in every community, and a ma-
jority of the persons in most communities, who believe
that all children should attend school regularly.
These attitudes regarding attendance service are most
significant for those having responsibilities in that area.
One of the first steps that should be taken by any prin-
SL, ciple, attendance assistant or other person having respon-
sibility for attendance service is to determine not only the
prevailing attitude but also the attitude of the key people
in the community. This attitude will tend to determine
whether most children will attend school regularly and
continue in school through the upper grades or will
drop out of school at the first opportunity. If the parents
of a child believe in education, they will make every
sacrifice to keep him in school. If a large majority are
skeptical, the attitude will soon be reflected in the at-
tendance, progress and holding power of the school.
The attitudes toward attendance service are important
for another reason. They tend to determine the laws
which are enacted from time to time and the effectiveness
of those laws. In the final analysis there must be in every
state some legislation if attendance service is to be effec-
tive. Whether the laws are strong or weak and whether
the laws are carefully observed or largely ignored will
be determined largely by the attitude of the people in the
In Florida the interest in attendance service has been
somewhat mixed and confused during prior years. Had
there been a more consistent interest the State would
have had an effective compulsory attendance law earlier


in its history. The recent enactment of modern attend-
ance laws and revised child labor laws is an indication
of increased interest in the field and of the fact that the
attitude toward attendance service has improved greatly
within the last few years.


During prior years there has been considerable dis-
cussion in practically all sections of the country concern-
ing the desirability of compulsory attendance laws. Some
individuals and groups have objected rather strenuously
to compulsory attendance legislation on one or more of
the grounds given below. Any person assuming respon-
sibilities in the field of attendance service in Florida today
is likely to meet with some of these arguments, and
should be prepared to face the issues as they arise. Some
of the major points which may need consideration are
given below:
1. Objection: Works a hardship on the poor. Comment: Com-
pulsory attendance legislation should be so related to other legislation
and provisions that no person is penalized for sending his child to
school. The children of the poor are just as much entitled to an edu-
cation as the children of the rich and the State has an obligation to
work out measures which will make it possible for all children to
attend at least during the compulsory attendance years without
seriously handicapping the parents.
2. Objection: A child compelled to go to school is likely to be-
come a problem child and may exert an undesirable influence on the
other children. Comment: This might be true if the emphasis is
placed purely on getting children in school. However, those respon-
sible for attendance are expected to study the entire situation and
make recommendations which will bring about needed adjustments.
If a child does not like school there may be something wrong with
the school, with his home conditions or with the child himself. The
school authorities and the parents are expected to cooperate in
locating and remedying the difficulty and helping the child make
desirable adjustments.
3. Objection: Compulsory attendance increases the cost of edu-
cation, because it results in extra expenditures for buildings, teach-
ers, equipment, etc. Comment: This statement is true and should be
accepted as being true. This, however, is not an objection to com-
pulsory attendance itself so much as it is an objection to the cost of
education. If a person objects to the cost of education on these
grounds his objection is a pretty good indication that he does not be-
lieve in education. If all children are to be educated we must be
prepared to meet the costs involved.
4. Objection: A new crime is created. Comment: This objec-
tion is not heard as much at the present time as it was a number of
years ago. If we want a government in which there are no crimes,


we should seek to eliminate all laws. Very few persons would want
to live under such conditions. If it is desirable to assure that all
citizens of a democracy be prepared to participate as citizens, then
some means of seeing that all children attend school is necessary.
Such legal provisions have been found essential in connection with
every other phase of our government.
5. Objection: Too many powers are being usurped by the gov-
ernment. Comment: If a government needs to assume a function in
order to provide for the welfare of a majority of its citizens, it has
sooner or later assumed that function. The question is not whether
the government is assuming additional powers, but rather whether
the people can serve themselves better by incorporating these re-
quirements into law.
6. Objection: Interferes with the liberty of the parents. Comment:
The courts have long held that the parents do not have absolute
control over their children. The parent, for example, cannot inflict
inhumane, physical punishment on a child without violating the law
and facing the possibility of being punished himself. Depriving a
child of the opportunity to attend school may in the long run be as
inhumane as severe physical punishment. Moreover, many parents
may act selfishly instead of for the best interest of their children.
The state, therefore, has a right to prevent the parent from depriving
a child unreasonably of desirable opportunities.
7. Objection: It is Un-American and not adapted to a country
of free institutions, or it is monarchial and autocratic in its origin
and history. Comment: While compulsory attendance laws have been
in force in a number of countries in Europe even before they were
effective in many states in this country, this fact has no bearing on
the desirability of such laws. We do have in this country more in-
dividual freedom than that found in other countries, yet we have
found it necessary to limit that freedom so as to prevent abuses.
8. Objection: A state-wide compulsory attendance law tends to
take away the rights of local self government. Comment: The state-
wide compulsory attendance law merely sets minimum standards. It
does not prevent the local community from providing better educa-
tional opportunities than those required by the State, from offering
a longer term or making available the type of school program which
would help to keep children in school longer than the period pre-
scribed by the State. The establishment of such state-wide minimum
standards operates to prevent misgovernment, mismanagement or
discrimination against children in certain sections of the State and
leaves plenty of opportunity for local initiative above and beyond
the standards prescribed.
9. Objection: Attendance would be just as good and just as ef-
fective without the law. Comment: Under ideal conditions this would
probably be true. However, in every state in the Union there are
some ignorant or selfish persons who would take advantage of the
situation to exploit their children or their neighbor's children if they
had opportunity to do so. Legislation is, therefore, necessary to care,
for these situations although dependence on such legislation is
expected to be a matter of last resort.
Throughout the Nation for a period of nearly a cen-
tury there have been numerous test cases concerning


the constitutionality of compulsory attendance laws.
Again and again the courts have upheld the basic prin-
ciples incorporated in the law and the right to require
children to attend school within reasonable limits. During
recent years there have been very few such court cases,
because the idea of compulsory attendance is now more
generally accepted than ever before.

Compulsory Attendance in the United States. The
influence of three religious leaders of Europe,-Martin
Luther, John Calvin and John Knox,-constituted a back-
ground for the early demands for compulsory school at-
tendance in the United States. The earlier settlers of this
country, particularly those in the New England States,
felt that it was the religious duty of the state to see that
every child was taught to read. In Massachusetts as early
as 1647 elementary and secondary schools were made
compulsory in some communities and were authorized to
be supported from tax funds. The first effective compul-
sory attendance law was adopted by Massachusetts in
the year 1852. Some 15 years later Vermont adopted
similar legislation and by 1900 thirty other states had
enacted some type of compulsory attendance legislation.
By 1918 all states had compulsory school attendance
The South made very little real progress in the way
of compulsory attendance legislation before 1900. Ken-
tucky and West Virginia adopted compulsory attendance
legislation about two years in advance of the opening of
the century and by 1915, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ok-
lahoma, Virginia, Arkansas and Louisiana, in the order
named, had enacted such legislation. Alabama, Florida,
South Carolina and Texas adopted such legislation in
1915, Georgia in 1916 and Mississippi in 1918.
The attendance laws found in the various states at the
present time are far from uniform in a number of respects
although they agree pretty well in the age limits, the most
common being 7 to 16 years. A few states prescribe 17
as the upper age limit while 5 prescribe 18 years. Six
southern states still have a maximum attendance age that
is less than 16 years. In Virginia the maximum age is 15
years and in Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia, South
Carolina and Texas it is 14 years.


Some of the laws still are far from adequate partly be-
cause of the exemptions that are authorized and partly
because of the failure to establish effective machinery
to enforce the laws. There is also considerable variation
in the length of term which children are required to at-
tend. During recent years there has been a tendency to
restrict the exemptions which can be made and to in-
crease the length of term to a minimum of at least 8
months, although several states still do not require more
than 7 months.
Attendance Legislation in Florida. Although a com-
pulsory school attendance law had been consistently rec-
ommended for Florida by the State Superintendent since
1895, the Legislature did not enact such a measure until
1915 when a local option law was enacted. Any other
type of law was found to be impracticable of enactment
even in 1915 because of strong opposition in many parts
of the State. Only the three largest counties attempted to
put the law into operation on a county-wide basis and only
one of these reported it as satisfactory. Some of the
smaller districts in other counties, including chiefly city
districts, adopted the law, but in most places in the State
no attempt was made to see that it was put into operation.
Within a short time the State Superintendent reported:
". .. the act of 1915 is merely a makeshift, inadequate,
and not susceptible of successful operation except in a
few localities, and that a state-wide Mandatory Com-
pulsory School Attendance Law is wanted and that noth-
ing else can accomplish the desired necessary results."
By 1919 public sentiment had crystalized enough that
a state-wide law was practicable. The law as enacted in
1919 was amended somewhat in 1923, but remained sub-
stantially in that form until the new School Code was
adopted in 1939.
The 1919 law represented a major improvement over
the 1915 law. It provided for an attendance "officer" to
be appointed by the County Board and charged him with
the responsibility of enforcing the law. No qualifications
were prescribed for this officer. All children in the State
between seven and sixteen years of age were required to
attended public school for the full term. However, a
number of exemptions were made, some of which were so
general as to make the law difficult to enforce. For ex-
ample, any child whose services were necessary for the


support of a widowed mother, any of the younger chil-
dren living more than two miles from school in cases
where transportation was not provided, any child whose
parents would make affidavit that they could not provide
the necessary books or clothing, and "any unusual cause
acceptable to the attendance officer" were sufficient
reasons for exemption.
In 1929 the Supreme Court of Florida in the case of
Douglas vs. Board of Public Instruction of Duval County
ruled that an attendance officer could not be legally ap-
pointed by the County Board or paid out of the county
school funds. The court held that "an officer of the
county would unless otherwise provided by the consti-
tution either have to be elected by the people or ap-
pointed by the governor of the State." This decision made
parts of the law operative and resulted in considerable
confusion which continued until the 1939 law took effect.
In 1939, as a part of the new School Code, a compre-
hensive and completely revised school attendance law
was approved by the Legislature. This law, which is
explained in a later chapter in this handbook, eliminated
the major defects which had developed in connection
with the 1919 law. In fact, the present school attendance
law in the State is, in most respects, as progressive and
modern as the attendance legislation found in any other
section of the country. It applies not only to public
schools, but to private and parochial schools and, in fact,
to all children of compulsory attendance age.
Unquestionably the present attendance legislation of
Florida is considerably in advance of the attitude or point
of view regarding attendance in a number of the com-
munities in the State. One of the major responsibilities of
school leaders during the next few years, therefore, will
be to assist the people in many sections of the State to ap-
preciate the importance and significance of this law and
to understand the need for regular attendance of all
pupils of compulsory school attendance age.

Child Labor Laws in the United States. Although
child labor laws are distinct from compulsory attendance
laws, there has been a close relationship between the
two. Frequently the child labor laws have been strength-
ened about the time the school attendance laws have been


strengthened. Child labor in the United States apparently
reached its peak about 1910 when approximately 18.4
per cent of the children of school age were gainfully em-
ployed. By 1930 this percentage had decreased to 4.7
per cent. Except in rural areas the employment of chil-
dren is no longer economically feasible to the extent pre-
viously accepted. Even in rural areas with the increased
use of machinery, the need or practicability of employing
children of compulsory attendance age has decreased
greatly. The recent Federal Fair Labor Standards Act
has also tended to reduce the employment of children and
has facilitated the enforcement of compulsory attendance
laws. These changes have meant in general that a larger
proportion of the children remain in school in the upper
grades and that the schools have had to adjust their pro-
grams accordingly.
Child Labor Legislation in Florida. It is interesting
that child labor legislation in Florida should have pre-
ceded compulsory attendance legislation. The 1913 Leg-
islature enacted a child labor law which was partly an
attendance law in that it provided among other things
that a child had to be in regular attendance in school for
not less than sixty days during the school year previous
to the time he reached 14 years of age or during the year
previous to the time he made application for work. Fur-
thermore this law provided that any 14 or 15 year old
child applying for permission to work should be able to
read and write simple sentences in the English language,
should have received some instruction in reading, writing,
spelling and geography, and should be familiar with
arithmetic up to and including common fractions.
The 1913 child labor law was modified in some respects
in 1915 and then remained substantially in that form un-
til 1941. At the time the first child labor law was enacted
in Florida it was a fairly modern and up to date law. By
1941, however, it had become obsolete in many respects.
A number of attempts were made to amend or revise the
law, but none of these were successful until 1941. This
1941 law which is explained in a later chapter in this
handbook undoubtedly has some defects, but is reason-
ably modern and up to date in most respects. The present
child labor law, moreover, ties in closely with the pres-
ent school attendance laws and will represent a major
improvement over the previous situation.


In the United States. Some school attendance service
has been rendered by teachers and principals since the
establishment of schools. However, there usually has not
been a systematic attempt to see that all children of
school age are in school and attend regularly until after
compulsory attendance laws have been adopted. These
laws have usually made provision for some type of at-
tendance service beyond that which can be rendered by
teachers and principals.
One of the first developments in connection with at-
tendance legislation was the authorization of what was
commonly called a "truant officer." This person common-
ly did not have to have any qualifications, wore a badge
and was really an officer of the law. It was his duty to
see that the children went to school, but usually it was
not considered his responsibility to determine why chil-
dren stayed away from school or to try to correct the basic
difficulty. It was gradually found that this type of at-
tendance service was not adequate and during recent
years most states have abandoned the "truant officer"
approach and have even tended to eliminate any legal
reference to a "truant officer."
This trend has resulted from the changing conception
regarding attendance service. Compulsion is not by any
means considered the objective nor the most desirable
procedure to use at the present time, but instead more
emphasis is being placed on the social and education as-
pects of the problem.
One of the promising early developments was the visit-
ing teacher movement which attained considerable pop-
ularity, particularly in some of the larger cities. In many
cases a teacher was employed to visit the homes of the
children to determine causes of maladjustments and to
work with teachers and other persons in the school as well
as with the children and their parents to attempt to im-
prove conditions. In some cases a visiting teacher was
employed in addition to an attendance assistant. The
visiting teacher in such cases would give most of her
attention to the educational phase of the problem while
the attendance assistant would center attention primarily
on the legal aspects. A combination of the two approaches
is usually considered to be preferable, except perhaps in
some of the larger systems where greater specialization


is possible. Generally attendance assistants are expected
to follow the methods of visiting teachers and resort to
the law only when other means have failed.
In Florida. Trends in Florida have been very similar
to trends elsewhere, except that there was no legal
authorization even for the employment of a truant officer
until after the 1919 law was enacted. Some of the early
attendance officers in Florida gave attention to all aspects
of the problem while others were indifferent or even
antagonistic to the educational aspects and placed chief
emphasis on their legal authority.
The 1929 decision of the Supreme Court, holding that
there was no authorization in the Constitution for the
appointment of an "officer" having responsibilities for
attendance, resulted in considerable confusion. A num-
ber of counties which had previously employed attend-
ance officers discontinued all attendance services except
those rendered by principals and teachers. Most of the
larger counties, however, attempted to maintain some
type of attendance service through arA attendance de-
The present law, enacted as a part of the School Code
in 1939, eliminated all reference to an attendance "of-
ficer" but authorized the employment of an attendance
assistant or assistants "who hold a certificate prescribed
under regulations of the State Board." The law
further provided that "no attendance assistant shall re-
ceive any compensation or reimbursement for any month
until he shall have filed such reports and met such quali-
fications as may be required under regulations of the
County Board or of the State Board." (Sec. 617 [1]). Thus
Florida now recognizes the desirability of definite quali-
fications for attendance assistants and places chief em-
phasis on the social and educational aspects of the prob-
lem rather than on the legal aspects. This is in keeping
with trends which have already become evident in other

Trends in the attendance of pupils are important first,
because they reflect the attitude of the people as well as
the changes in law and second because they indicate to
some degree the extent to which preparation for eliminat-
ing illiteracy and for good citizenship is being carried on.


In the United States. It is a well recognized fact that
only a very small percentage of all the pupils in the
United States continued beyond the elementary school
during the early history of this country and, in fact, until
well toward the beginning of the present century. Not
even all the pupils were enrolled in the elementary
schools who should have been enrolled at the opening of
the present century. With the enactment of compulsory
attendance laws, however, a big improvement has been
made and most of the children who should be in school
now attend at least the elementary grades. There is some
room in many states even for improvement in this area.
In 1900 20 per cent of the total population of the
Nation and 72 per cent of the school population (ages
5-17 years) was enrolled in school. By 1938 the per-
centage of the school population enrolled in school had
increased to 84 per cent. In 1890 only 1.6 per cent of the
pupils in the Nation were enrolled in the grades above
the 8th. By 1900 this percentage had increased to 3.4
per cent; by 1920 to 10.2 per cent and by 1938, to ap-
proximately 24 per cent. Thus more children have tended
to remain in school throughout the 12 grades, although
the number above the 8th grade is still considerably less
than the number in the first 8 grades.
Likewise the length of term has been increased greatly
during this period. In 1890 the average length of term
was 135 days, by 1900 this had increased to 144 days, still
further increased in 1920 to 162 days and by 1938 to 174
The regularity of attendance had also increased, al-
though on account of illness and other legitimate reasons
the number of pupils attending school each day is still
considerably lower than the number who might be
A study made in 1930 showed that the ten states that
ranked highest in the per cent of illiteracy for persons
between 10 and 20 years of age apparently had less rigid
and less definite compulsory school attendance laws than
most of the other states. These 10 states also ranked
considerably below the average in the per cent of pupils
attending school.
In Florida. In Florida the per cent of the total popula-
tion enrolled in school has increased from 20.6 per cent in
1900 to 21 per cent in 1940 in spite of the fact that the


birth rate has considerably decreased during that time.
The ratio between the number of children enrolled in
school and the number of children ages 6 to 20 in the
State increased from 67 per cent in 1900 to 79 per cent
in 1920 and still further to 82 per cent in 1935.
According to the 1930 Federal census report Florida
was among the ten states in which the proportion of illit-
erates to the total population was highest. The 1940
census figures in this regard will probably show some
improvement although Florida still ranks much lower
than is desirable in this regard.
The percentage of children in grades above the eighth
in Florida has increased considerably. In 1920 5.6 per
cent were in grades above the eighth. By 1938 this had
increased to 18.6 per cent and by 1940 to 20.6 per cent.
The percentage of white children attending above the
eigth grade was considerably higher than that for Negro
children. In 1940 24.1 per cent of all the white children
in the schools of the State were above the 8th grade,
while only 10.9 per cent of the Negro children were above
the 8th grade.
The length of the school term has also increased rap-
idly. In 1900 Florida schools operated an average of only
93 days. By 1920 this had increased to 133, by 1930 to
154 and by 1940 to 168 days. The number of days at-
tended by the pupils in 1920 averaged 121 for the United
States and 98 for Florida. By 1938 the average for the
United States was 149 while that for Florida was 139.
The ratio between attendance and enrollment may not
be as significant as the figures would indicate because
of changes in accounting procedure. During prior years
there were many duplications in counting enrollment,
while that is no longer the case. However the ratio in
1920 was 73.6 per cent, in 1930 was 77.1 per cent and in
1940 was 82.1 per cent. This difference is marked enough
to indicate a definite increase in regularity of attendance.
These improvements in Florida are due to a combina-
tion of things. They result partly from the fact that
Florida now has a compulsory attendance law, that a
number of counties have a more or less effective attend-
ance program, and that there is a more systematic check
to determine whether children of school age are attend-
ing school. Changes in state and Federal child labor
regulations also have a bearing on the situation. As sig-


nificant as anything else, however, is the changed atti-
tude of the people regarding attendance and the increas-
ing recognition that children should stay in school as
long as practicable.

Irregular attendance is an important factor in causing
pupils to drop out of school at an early age. When a pupil
attends school irregularly he finds it very difficult to keep
up with his work and may soon become discouraged or
lose interest. This likewise often represents the begin-
ning of a truancy problem.
Studies made in various parts of the United States show
a close relationship between attendance and progress f
pupils through school. There is even a relationship L ,-
tween attedance and achievement which may be partly
explained by the fact that the pupils who do better in
school work usually have the greater ability and are more
interested in attending while pupils who do not do so well
fail to make the effort to keep up their attendance.
A study of age-grade progress in Florida schools made
in 1938 shows a rather high percentage of pupils who had
failed one or more times and consequently also a rather
high percentage of over-age pupils in some of the ele-
mentary grades. According to this study 36.5 per cent
of all white pupils in the elementary grades had made
slow progress while 50.4 per cent of the Negro pupils had
failed one or more times. Irregular attendance is often
a factor in failure and after a pupil has failed one or
more times he commonly becomes discouraged and drops
out of school at the earliest opportunity.
All of these problems are inter-related and must be
studied in proper perspective and relationship by school
authorities as well as by attendance assistants, principals
and teachers if satisfactory solutions are to result.

The fact that there is still a rather large percentage of
illiteracy in Florida seems to indicate that there are sti1"
too many children who are not attending school or wL
are attending for such a short time that they get very
little benefit from the school work. An attendance pro-


gram should not be considered satisfactory until all chil-
dren who can benefit from school work are enrolled in
school and remain in school at least during the entire com-
pulsory attendance age. This indicates that some form of
continuing census will be necessary in order that school
authorities may know exactly which children are failing
to attend school and may take steps to get those children
in school. This further indicates the need for a better
plan for adjusting the school program to the needs of the
pupils. Particularly in the small schools is this problem
acute because of the limited possibilities of adjusting the
school program without excessive costs.
The fact that so many aspects of the problem have not
yet been solved indicates a need for more trained persons
in the State who can be assigned to school attendance
service and who can assist in studying and working out
Aie problems involved. In view of the fact that in some
,'f the rural areas, in particular, attendance is not as
effective as would be desirable, it should be clear that a
better understanding of the school attendance program
is needed on the part of many communities and similarly
there should be a better understanding on the part of
many of the schools of the problems existing in the com-
Better cooperation among school groups, better coop-
eration between schools and other groups, better appre-
ciation of the fact that attendance service is a means to
the end of providing better educational facilities, and
more time, opportunity and incentive on the part of
teachers and principals to study individual problem
cases would all be helpful.

Part II
Factors Relating to Attendance

In every school situation there are a great many inter-
related background factors which are likely to have
some distinct bearing on problems of school attendance.
Some of these factors are found in the community, some
are encountered in the home and others in the school.
Still other factors may grow out of the application of the
school attendance laws or of the child labor laws of the
In Florida the county is the local administrative unit
for attendance service. In each county there are a num-
ber of communities. A community is a rather informal
organization of people living in relatively close residen-
tial proximity to each other and loosely bound together
by certain interests. For example, there may be a school
community which may include several religious com-
munities, a part of a banking community and most of a
general trade community. Community interests center
about the basic concerns of life, each of which has some
significance and influence on the children and the other
citizens of the community.
The characteristics and attitudes of the people in the
various communities in a county or even within a city
may differ widely. Because of these differences and of
the fact that each has some influence on the children, the
principal or person having responsibility for the school
attendance program needs to understand as thoroughly
as possible the community or communities with which he
will work. It is not possible in a handbook of this type
to outline all steps in becoming acquainted with a com-
munity, nor all of the community characteristics that are
likely to be significant for attendance, but a few of them
are suggested on the following pages. Only by carrying
on a continuing study in the communities with which he
is working can a person having responsibility for attend-
ance service have at hand sufficient information to be
able to take into proper consideration all community
characteristics relating to attendance service. Among
the points which must be kept in mind are the following:


1. Each community is to some extent a separate and different
entity and must be regarded as such.
2. Folkways, ideals and attitudes in each community are deep-
rooted and must be given sympathetic consideration and han-
dled with tact.
3. The majority of the people in any community must be in
sympathy with the attendance program before such progress
can be made.
4. These people, if they understand the significance of the pro-
gram and are properly convinced of the value, will usually
give the program their wholehearted support.
5. The person engaged in attendance service must work with the
entire community and cannot attempt to solve his problem by
obtaining the assistance and support of some one faction or
group in the community.
6. A person never really understands a community no matter
how long he lives in that community. There are always new
things to learn. One of the greatest difficulties arises from
the fact that in time a complacency that blinds to some of the
real problems and issues involved is almost certain to arise
to handicap progress.

Communities may be classified on any one of many
bases. For example, communities may be urban or rural
and each such community may be further classified on a
number of bases. Communities may be wealthy or poor,
may consist largely of people who have been life long resi-
dents or of persons who remain only a short time, may be
relatively homogeneous or comprised of various groups
or cliques which are constantly in disagreement, may be
progressive or conservative', or in fact may be classified
on almost any basis. However, no classification will de-
scribe a community, because there are commonly about
as many persons in any community who do not fit into
the classification as persons who do. Each type of com-
munity, however, seems to have certain leading charac-
teristics and the people tend to develop certain attitudes
toward various problems such as school attendance.
These attitudes do not always run true to form, but may
be helpful in seeking to understand the community.
It is desirable that persons dealing with attendance
problems as well as with other school problems have
certain basic information regarding each of the com-
munities in which they will work. This information can
be obtained in a variety of ways: from census reports,


from surveys or studies that have been made in the com-
munity, from analyses of various records that may be
available, from conversation with individuals, and from
general observation. Each person concerned with at-
tendance problems should have some systematic plan
for tabulating and classifying this information regarding
each community and for keeping it readily available so
that the information can be used from time to time to aid
in throwing further light on some of the problems en-
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Is the community an old or a young community?
2. Has it been growing rapidly or has the population been static?
3. Are most of the people on about the same general economic
level or are there marked extremes in wealth and income?
4. Are there similar extremes in education and culture?
5. What are the chief sources of income, the chief means of
making a livelihood?
6. How does the community differ from other neighboring com-
7. What are the leading groups in the community and who are
their leaders? What is the attitude of these leaders?
8. How do most of the people react to education? What are their
ideas about child labor? About attendance service?
9. What are the chief disturbing elements in the community?
Who seem to be their leaders and what are their attitudes?
Urban communities differ as greatly among them-
selves as do urban and rural or industrial and tourist
communities. There are certain advantages which tend
to be associated with urban communities and at the same
time there are usually certain disadvantages. For exam-
ple, an urban community usually has many services which
cannot be provided in more sparsely populated com-
munities. There are often areas of wealthy homes where
the children have every conceivable advantage and not
far away may be found distinctly slum areas where there
are constant problems. Such slum areas generate serious
problems and their very existence means that these prob-
lems will continue to develop and be unsolved.
In general children in urban areas may not have the
opportunity to work in close relationship with their par-
ents or neighbors. Often children do not even have the


small chores which are desirable and which afford such
good training. As a result problems of recreation and use
of leisure time are commonly encountered. Children
may organize gangs and these gangs may cause many
problems. The time outside of school may be spent in
such a way as to result in problems that even the schools
and homes working in cooperation have difficulty in
In urban communities there are usually social, health,
recreational and other agencies and services which can
be used to assist in solving many of the attendance prob-
lems which arise. Some of these services unfortunately
do not directly involve the children in greatest need of
such service and this situation may result in many prob-
lems. The advantages and disadvantages as well as the
problems and possibilities of urban communities should
be thoroughly investigated and understood.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Is the community well-organized and efficiently administered
or are the people complacent about their government and gov-
ernmental services?
2. Where are the most conservative areas? Are the people in
these areas interested in better schools and better attendance
services throughout the city or are they indifferent to the
needs of the less favored groups?
3. Where are the slum areas? Why do they continue to exist?
Has any progress been made in improving conditions in these
areas? Are many of the problems of attendance found in
these areas and if so why?
4. What services are available that are helpful in the attendance
program? Are these available throughout the city or just
available to certain groups?
5. Are there good recreational opportunities for most of the
children or are most children left to use their idle time as they
wish? How do most of the children spend their idle time?
6. Are the tempo and spirit of urban life such as to tend to cause
emotional strain and instability or personality maladjustments
on the part of the children? Are the parents interested in
these problems?


Rural communities may range from rather heavily
populated farming communities in which most of the
people own their own farms and homes to communities
in which the population is so scattered that there is diffi-


culty in assembling enough children for a school. There
are just as great extremes in wealth in many rural com-
munities as in many urban communities and just as defi-
nite rural slums as urban slums. Problems of rendering
effective attendance, social and other service are greater
in many rural areas than in urban areas because of the
distance involved and the expense of travel. There is
frequently, however, an opportunity to become more inti-
mately acquainted with the individuals and groups con-
cerned and to develop a relationship that is impracticable
in urban areas because of the number of people.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Are the road conditions such as to permit the development of
adequate elementary and high school facilities?
2. If there are small schools do they exist largely because of road
conditions, because people have been satisfied with those
schools, or because there has been no adequate leadership for
establishing centralized schools where better opportunities
can be afforded?
3. Is the community rather stable and permanent or are a great
many of the people tenants and is there quite a bit of migra-
tory labor?
4. Are health and other services needed by the people available
or has the community been neglected over a long period of
5. Is the wealth of the county centered largely in the cities and
are the tax moneys used chiefly to provide extra facilities in
the cities or are they so used as to help provide needed serv-
ices in surrounding rural communities?
6. Do the people in nearby cities appreciate the inter-relationship
between the rural and urban communities?
7. Have most of the adults in the community had reasonably
good educational opportunities or have they been so accus-
tomed to meager opportunities that they do not appreciate
the fact that their children might have better advantages?
8. Do the people depend to a great extent on the children for
help during the planting and growing season or do they feel
that the children should remain in school and do they make
an effort to help to make that possible?

The industries in any community exert a significant
influence on the lives of the people and particularly on
the children who live in the community. There are some
communities in which there is just one leading industry
and practically everyone is associated with that industry.


Examples of such communities are fishing communities,
logging and sawmill communities, communities in which
the pulp industry plays a leading role, communities in
which there is some large manufacturing industry, etc.
In Florida almost every conceivable type of industrial
community can be found e the manufacturing indus-
tries in most parts of the State have not been developed
to the extent that they have in some other sections of the
country. The well being of the people in the communities
is usually somewhat proportionate to the income of the
workers which may be quite low or relatively high.
Commonly children in highly industrialized communities
where the prevailing wage is low tend to drop out of
school at an early age, perhaps partly because their par-
ents do not appreciate the advantages of a better educa-
tion or partly because the economic situation is such that
the children have to help to support the family.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the attitude of the leading industrialists? Do they
believe that children should be encouraged to drop out of
school as early as possible so that they will have an adequate
supply of cheap labor or are they interested in the welfare of
their workers and their children?
2. Do the industrial leaders think of themselves as petty tyrants
or autocrats who are to dictate to the community and decide
for themselves what advantages the people should have, or do
they function as useful and liberal minded citizens of a
3. What are the industrial trends? Are the industries becoming
diversified or more specialized? What effect is this having
on the community?

The community in which there is quite a bit of moving,
either within that community or from that community to
other communities, tends to generate more attendance
problems by far than a much more stable community. The
greatest attendance problems are found in regions where
most of the workers are migratory and where work is def-
initely seasonal in nature. For example in the bean grow-
ing regions of the State great numbers of people may come
from other sections of the State or even from other states
during certain seasons and many of these people may be
accustomed to having their children work even though
those children are of school age. Families are frequently
large and often are very poor. Health conditions may

Ri & "


be very bad. Some of the most difficult problem cases
may move to an entirely different community about the
time some progress has been made toward working out
a solution to the problem.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What percentage of people own their own homes? What per-
centage are tenants who are relatively permanent in the com-
munity? What percentage are definitely migratory?
2. If there are any serious attendance problems among the rela-
tively permanent population what seems to be causing those
problems? To what extent are the schools responsible?
3. Where do most of the persons who are transients in the com-
munity come from? What do they do? What is their general
educational and economic level? What is their attitude toward
4. If there are a large number of tourists in the community do
many of them bring their children? Are these children entered
in school? How long do these tourists stay?


In a community in which the economic status is low,
there is likely to be more of a feeling that children are
needed to help earn a livelihood than in other types of
communities. Attendance problems tend to be associated
with poverty, but are not always so associated.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Is the community increasing in wealth and economic resources
or are these declining? In other words, is the community a
growing, prosperous community or is it declining and perhaps
gradually dying?
2. What percentage of the people have an income insufficient to
maintain a reasonable standard of living? What is the general
education level and attitude of these people?
3. What do most of the people who have a very low income do to
try to make a living? Are they relatively permanent in the
community or are they more or less temporary? Do most of
them have large families?
4. What agencies are attempting to solve the problems of the
low income groups? Are these agencies exerting a constructive
influence and working cooperatively or are they working com-
5. Are the people of the lower income groups being helped to
become more self-sufficient or does this low income level seem
to be a permanent matter?


A community which has been relatively stable for a
good many years is likely to have more deeply rooted
traditions, good or bad, than a rapidly growing or chang-
ing community. Community traditions vary greatly.
Sometimes it seems that a community develops most un-
wholesome traditions which may dominate the life of the
community for an indefinite number of years. Some com-
munities have developed a tradition of greed or selfish-
ness which results in a bad reputation for practically
everyone who lives in the community. On the other hand
communities may be noted for their liberal mindedness,
their cooperative spirit and their constructive efforts.
In some communities there are distinct sub-communi-
ties or "islands" comprised of people belonging to some
foreign language group or nationality other than English
or American. Such foreign language groups may consti-
tute serious problems and need be very carefully studied
to be understood. Even when the foreign language group
is small it may function as a more or less closely knit
community somewhat isolated from the larger community
of which it is a part. The attitudes, points of view and
reactions of this group may differ materially from those
in other groups in the community. Such groups constitute
a challenge not only because of the attendance problems
that may be involved, but also because of the larger prob-
lem of integrating the group with the democratic English
speaking community and Nation of which it is essentially
a part.
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What are the prevailing attitudes in the community? Are
there certain attitudes that are so outstanding as to be char-
acteristic of the community or is the picture somewhat mixed?
2. If the community may be said to be deeply conservative, in
what respect is it conservative? How have these traditions
3. Are any of the local political leaders purely politicians in the
unfortunate sense, or are they genuinely interested in the
welfare of the citizens of the community and in developing a
better community?
4. Are the people so intensely community-minded that they over-
look their relationships to other nearby communities or are
they interested in cooperating with those communities for the
benefit of all?
5. Are there any distinct foreign language groups and if so what
are their characteristics and attitudes?


The problem of health is one of the basic problems to
be considered in any community. Strange as it may seem,
people may continue from generation to generation in
communities in which the health standards are low and
where the average age at which the inhabitants die is far
lower than that in other communities. People become
complacent and indifferent about health conditions with
which they come in daily contact.
Attendance workers and teachers are vitally concerned
with problems of health because of the relationship be-
tween health and school progress. Illness usually leads
the list in the cause of absences. Good health is general,
but poor health is specific. If there is much illness in a
community there is some reason or explanation for that
illness. It may be that there is no adequate health service.
It may be that there are certain conditions in the com-
munity itself or in the environment that make disease
and poor health almost inevitable regardless of the health
services which may be available.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the prevailing health standard in the community? Is
it good or bad? Is the effect on the progress of pupils through
school obvious?
2. Just what health services are available? Is there a county
health unit and to what extent is it functioning? Are there
local physicians and to what extent are they rendering compe-
tent service?
3. What are the conditions in the community that tend to con-
tribute to poor health? Are these conditions known to the
people? Is any effort being made to overcome these conditions?
4. To what extent is the surrounding country swampy and the
region infested with mosquitos that carry malaria? Is anything
being done about this situation? What are the possibilities?
5. Are there a great many shallow wells and outdoor privies in
the community? Has this situation improved or is anything
being done to bring about an improvement?
6. To what extent is hookworn prevalent in the community?
Are the children being given treatment periodically?
7. Are the schools contributing adequately to a better under-
standing of the problems of health and to better health condi-
tions in the community?
8. Do the children in need of treatment have opportunity to get
that treatment? Do the doctors in the community help to make
such needed treatment possible or do they oppose public health
measures which would assist in remedying these situations?


Welfare is a general term which covers many possi-
bilities. The State contributes to welfare when it provides
old age pensions. The Federal Government and em-
ployers contribute to welfare through unemployment
compensation. Workmen's compensation for persons who
are injured during employment also contributes to wel-
fare. A program which assures each person who is will-
ing to work of an opportunity to earn a livelihood for
himself and his family is, of course, basic to any welfare
In most counties there are a number of welfare
agencies which render services of various types. Some
of these are religious or private agencies while others are
local, State or Federal Governmental agencies.
The work of the State Welfare Board contributes in
many ways to a desirable school program. All school
leaders should be familiar with the State welfare pro-
gram and should establish a close working relationship
with the welfare representatives in the county. A number
of counties now have child welfare workers who at all
times work in close cooperation with the schools and the
attendance assistants.
Among some of the other welfare agencies that are
commonly found are the various service clubs each of
which usually has a welfare committee, the Catholic So-
cial Service, The United Jewish Charity, the Salvation
Army and the Family Service Association. Each church
usually has a welfare committee of some type. In addi-
tion Parent-Teacher Associations frequently carry on
welfare work through health funds, underprivileged
children's funds or other similar activities. Many cities
have a community chest used in supporting various
municipal or even county welfare agencies.
In a number of counties a County Council or a Council
of Social Agencies has been organized to coordinate and
integrate the work of the various agencies which may be
concerned with some phase of welfare.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Is there a county welfare board? If so what services does it
attempt to provide? Is there a child welfare worker assigned
to the county? What services does this welfare worker render
which contribute to the school program?


2. Is there any means of correlating and integrating the work of
the various welfare agencies or is this largely on a competitive
3. Is there a close working relationship between the schools and
the various welfare agencies so that welfare services needed
by school children can be made available and function
4. Is welfare considered largely a matter of charity on which
people come to depend increasingly or are the social service
possibilities fully realized and appreciated?
5. How can the school program be better coordinated with the
welfare program to result in better service for school children
and their parents?
Leadership in a community is very important in deter-
mining the attitude of the community. Unfortunate
leadership may soon result in such community indiffer-
ence that the development of a constructive program
may become very difficult. If the community loses faith
in its leaders or becomes so complacent as to expect its
leaders to try to take advantage of every opportunity for
advancing their own personal position regardless of the
effect on the community, the situation is likely to be such
as to make progress difficult. On the other hand liberal
and broad-minded leaders who keep the confidence of
the people in the community may within a few years
almost revolutionize the entire community. A lot can be
done to train constructive community leaders if the prob-
lem is but faced and something done about it.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What has been the history of community leadership for the
past several years or even for the past generation? Have
most of the leaders been constructive and unselfish or have
most of them been purely political, in the narrow sense or has
the leadership been mixed and varied and ranged from good
to bad?
2. Who are the community leaders and what are their various
connections and interests? What attitude do they take regard-
ing politics, health, welfare, education and other important
3. To what extent can the cooperation of the community leaders
be obtained in developing a program which will result in im-
provement for the schools and for the community?
Note: The Bulletin Avenues of Understanding, Community, Home
and School, prepared jointly by the Florida Congress of
Parents and Teachers, Florida Education Association and the
State Department of Education may be obtainable through


the Executive Secretary of the Florida Education Association.
Section I is entitled Today's Problems, Tomorrow's Com-
munities, and has some splendid material on community
problems. This section contains chapters on Citizenship,
Religion, Recreation, Delinquency, Health, Safety, Education
and Coordination of Efforts. A careful study of this section
should be most helpful to all persons interested in school
attendance work.

It is generally recognized that the home has a most
significant influence on the development of the person-
ality and attitude of children. The home is almost en-
tirely responsible for the training of the child during the
first five or six years of his life. Even after he begins
school, as much of the child's waking time is spent in the
home and with friends, as at school. In addition, two days
out of every seven during the week and three or four
months out of the year are spent at home and in the
community instead of at school.
Those who work in the field of school attendance soon
realize that they have to work with the parents fully as
much as they work with the children themselves. More-
over, it is often impossible to understand the child and
his tendencies unless the home background is fully under-
stood and evaluated.
Many of the problems of attendance service originate
in the home, perhaps even before the child has started
to school. Unwise or indifferent treatment of the child
in the home may cause him to develop attitudes and per-
sonality traits which sooner or later result in irregular
attendance and perhaps even in truancy cases. On the
other hand, the right kind of supervision may help the
child to develop such desirable personality and social
adjustments that he will not at any time become a school
A study of the home and family life of the problem
child may, therefore, be considered as essential to the
solution of the attendance problems. This study may in-
volve a variety of approaches and require considerable
information. The person seeking to solve attendance
problems will, therefore, need to understand how to make
contacts and establish a good working relationship with
parents and know how to obtain the information which
will be helpful in solving the problems. Some of the fac-
tors to be considered are suggested by the following
The home environment may be significant in deter-
mining many of the conditions which exist in the home


and even in influencing the attitude of the parents and
the reactions of the children. Care must be used, how-
ever, not to judge a home fully by its environment. Some-
times very wholesome conditions are found in a home
located in a neighborhood in which conditions are gen-
erally anything but desirable. A neighborhood is com-
prised of individual homes, each of which exerts some
influence on the other homes and on the entire neigh-
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What are the chief characteristics of the neighborhood in
which the home is located?
2. To what extent is the neighborhood either a very good or very
poor neighborhood as far as local environment is concerned?
3. Does the home in general seem to be better or worse than the
average for the neighborhood? What are some of the signifi-
cant influences in the community which are likely to have an
effect upon the home?
Some children have had to spend all of their lives in
cramped narrow apartments with little opportunity to
play except on the streets or perhaps on public play-
grounds. Other children belong to families which have
the house entirely to themselves and have plenty of room
to play. Sometimes even large families live crowded in
one or two rooms while other homes are sufficiently large
that each child can have a room to himself. The type of
housing to which the child has been accustomed undoubt-
edly has some influence on his life and on his general
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Has the child had plenty of room for play and recreation or
has he had to play in the streets most of his life?
2. Has he been crowded into a room with many other members
of the family or has he had plenty of opportunity to be by
himself and have a place where he can read or study without
too much interference?
3. Is the house in which he lives one of which he can be proud or
would he be ashamed to take any of his friends to his home?
It is well established that unwholesome family condi-
tions contribute definitely to delinquency. For example,
homes which are broken for one reason or another seem
to exert such a marked influence on the children that


many delinquents come from broken homes. Some fam-
ilies get along well together and the general atmosphere
is one of harmony and happiness. In other families there
is constant bickering and dissention and these situations
usually affect the children adversely. Some families seem
to be relatively contented and stable. Other families are
restless, constantly moving from one place to another,
never satisfied with their lot, and yet perhaps never bet-
tering their lot. Such restlessness seems to be psychologi-
cal and disturbing and is destructive rather than con-
structive. Some parents may be so indifferent to the wel-
fare of their children that what happens to the children
seems to be of little consequence. Such parental neglect
may result in antipathies that are difficult to adjust.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the family history of the child? Is it desirable or
undesirable; good or bad?
2. Are both parents dead? If so, with whom is the child living?
How old was he when he lost his parent or parents?
3. If the parents are not living together, are they divorced? How
long have they been separated? With which parent is the
child living?
4. How large is the family? Are any other persons living with
the family? What is the general attitude and atmosphere of
the family?
5. Is the child the oldest or the youngest child? If so, what effect
does this seem to have had on his general reactions?
6. To what extent has the family moved from community to
community during the last few years? What effect has this
had on the school attendance of the child?
7. Is there a record of alcoholism, moral delinquency or any
other unfavorable record on the part of either parent? How
has the child reacted to this situation?

If the parents have had very little education them-
selves, they are usually in very poor position to appreciate
the school work or school problems of the child or to be
of any assistance or encouragement to him. While this
statement is not always true, of course, it still seems to
apply generally. On the other hand sometimes parents
whose educational attainments have been high expect
too much of their children and as a result create prob-
lems which are not easily solved. Generally speaking,
fewer problems are found in the homes where the parents


are reasonably well educated and have had reason to
continue their interest in education.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the educational training of each of the parents? Has
one had advantages greatly superior to the other? If so, does
this one dominate the home situation and how does the other
2. If the parents have had very little education, what is their
attitude toward education? Do they at all appreciate the
opportunities which education may help to make available for
their children?
3. Do parents still think of education in terms of the school in
which they grew up? Do they rather resent some of the mod-
ern methods and tend to ridicule these before the child?
If both parents are working and have no servant, a
child may encounter home problems which are fully as
serious as those encountered when neither parent is work-
ing. Moreover the type of work in which the parent may
be engaged may exert a significant influence on his atti-
tude and on the entire situation. If the father is engaged
in work which requires that he be away from home for
many days at a time his influence with the children may
decline or problems may result because of the mother's
inability to deal ivith the children. Sometimes the parent
may be engaged in work which he intensely dislikes and
this attitude may be carried over into the home and re-
flected in the relationships between the parents and chil-
dren. If the father is working during the night and sleeps
during the day, the situation may be comparable to one
where he would have to be away from home quite a bit.
It is important to determine the occupational status of
the parents and any probable implications for the chil-

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Are both parents employed? If so, do they both work through
necessity or is it because they both prefer to work? When
they are away from home is there anyone to supervise the
2. To what extent does the work of the father or mother interfere
with normal contacts and relationships with the children? Do
the children get to spend quite a bit of time with their parents
or is their time with one or both parents strictly limited?
3. If one of the parents is engaged in WPA or similar work, what
is the reaction of the children? Do the children have the
proper respect for the parent?


There is usually a close relationship between the eco-
nomic status and the type of work in which the parent
or parents are engaged. However, because of over-
expenditures or for some other reason the economic status
may be poor in some cases where the income is good. The
most serious problems of child adjustment usually come
in homes where the matter of "keeping up with the
Joneses" is taken so seriously that there are constant
financial problems or where the income is so limited that
it is difficult to provide the necessities of life. Children,
of course, are most handicapped if parents are not in posi-
tion to provide proper clothing or nourishing food. These
cases require special attention and often necessitate finan-
cial assistance of some type. Some program of economic
rehabilitation may even be necessary.
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the standard of living of the family? Is it too high
for the income?
2. Does the family seem to spend its income wisely or are there
evidences of carelessness and extravagance which may result
in insufficient funds for necessities?
3. Does the child have adequate and suitable clothing? If not,
why not? What are the possibilities of working out an adjust-
ment so that he may have better clothing?
4. What are the food habits of the family? Does the mother
know how to provide nourishing food and does she have suf-
ficient funds to do so?
5. Does the child have any money of his own and has he learned
how to use it advantageously?
Sometimes the health of the entire family may be poor
either because of unwise living habits or from unfortu-
nate developments. If the health conditions are bad, not
much can be expected of the child in school work until
those conditions are improved.
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the general health level of the family? Should it be
considered above or below the average?
2. If health conditions are poor, what are the factors involved?
Is it because of ignorance and neglect or simply as a result of
3. What is the attitude of the parents toward the health of the
children? Are they indifferent, or, if not indifferent, do they
have the financial ability to provide adequately for the health
services needed by the children?


If the child is of foreign parentage he may have a great
many difficulties of adjustment unless the parents them-
selves have made a favorable adjustment. If the parents
have settled in a foreign language community and have
had little contact with American customs and little op-
portunity to learn the English language, the child may
be handicapped in his school work or may progress so
rapidly in his school work and in learning American
ways that he may grow away from his parents. Some
times the attitude of the parents influences the children.
This is particularly true during periods of international
strife when parents with foreign sympathies may cause
their children to develop antipathies or maladjustments
that are difficult to overcome.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the nationality of the parents? Are both parents of
the same nationality?
2. What language is spoken in the home? Do the children use
this language in the home or if it is a language other than
English do they use English most of the time?
3. How are the parents adjusted to American ways? What is the
reaction of the children to this adjustment or lack of adjust-
4. Is there a definite gap between the parents and children, per-
haps even an antagonism? If so, what steps can be taken to
help break that gap?

Religion or lack of religion in the home is also likely
to have a significant influence on the child. If the parent
has no religion and is extreme enough to hold all religion
in contempt, the children may have a similar reaction and
this may result in difficulties with other children or with
other groups. Some parents may be so extreme in their
religious point of view that they will refuse to permit
their children to take modern medical treatment or even
to engage in some of the rituals of the school such as
saluting the flag. In such cases the parent may constitute
the problem and punishing the child may not solve the
problem. Working with the parent is likely to be particu-
larly difficult because so many emotional reactions are


Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Do either or both of the parents take any extreme religious
point of view? Do they seem to be well balanced or are there
evidences of what might be termed fanaticism?
2. How do the children react to the point of view of the parents?
Does this influence their school adjustment?
NOTE: The Bulletin Avenues of Understanding, Community, Home
and School prepared jointly by the Florida Congress of
Parents and Teachers, the Florida Education Association
and the State Department of Education has a very helpful
section on The Home and The School. This is Section 2.
The chapters are The Home as a Factor in the Child's Edu-
cation; Home, School and Leisure; Individual Differences;
Understanding the Instructional Program; Parent-Teacher
Consultations; Reports and Promotions; Sororities and Fra-
ternities; and Organization for Cooperation Between the
Home and the School.

Theoretically each school should be able to appeal to
all child'etn in the community in such a way that everyone
will wait to attend regularly and will make every effort
to do so. Practically, however, because of home and com-
munity background factors such as those discussed in pre-
vious chapters, this situation does not fully exist in any
school. There are some schools that come much nearer
attaining this ideal than others.
It should be obvious that the larger the percentage of
pupils who do not attend school regularly or who drop
out at an early age, the greater the likelihood that the
school is not meeting all of its responsibilities. In other
words, while home and community factors are probably
responsible for some of the attendance problems, it should
be clearly recognized that the school may also be respon-
sible and that some of the problems probably exist be-
cause the school is not taking advantage of all of its
In any community it is desirable for the principal and
teachers to attempt periodically to determine the extent
to which the needs of the children are being satisfactorily
met and to ascertain the adjustments which should be
made in the school program. The attendance assistant in
addition to the County Superintendent and supervisors
might well cooperate in such studies. This is not to be
interpreted to mean that the attendance assistant should
consider himself a committee of one to undertake an
evaluation of the school program in the various communi-
ties. However, he should be sufficiently familiar with
these problems and the possibilities in the field of educa-
tion that he can be in position to cooperate with teachers
and principals in analyzing the various problems and de-
termining difficulties which should be overcome. An eval-
uation of this type made by the faculty of each school can
be of material benefit to the entire school program.
Policies may differ greatly among the schools of the
county because to some extent at least the policies of a
given school are worked out by the teachers and principal
subject to the influence of the trustees. Because of the


fact that each school must conform to regulations of the
County Board there will be a certain uniformity in basic
policies, but this leaves enough room for variations that
some schools will develop a program which is considered
excellent while others will have a mediocre or very poor
program. Moreover the policies are not to be judged
entirely by statements made by the school personnel con-
cerning those policies because there is a wide difference
between the theory as to what the policies should be and
the activities which represent the policies which are
actually being carried on.
If the school has definitely accepted and is carrying out
the policy of determining the interests, attitudes and abili-
ties of each pupil, and insofar as practicable is adjusting
its program to meet these needs, far more children will
respond by attending regularly and by remaining in school
longer than if it is the policy of the school to offer a pro-
gram which has been decided upon by the school authori-
ties who expect the pupils to make their own adjustments
and to accept the program whether or not it meets their

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Does the school have a written statement of policies prepared
by the teachers and principal? Are these policies consistently
good or are some of them good and some of them questionable?
2. Is the program of the school as carried on day by day consistent
with these policies? If not, in what respect does it vary?
3. Is the program of the school well adjusted to meet the needs
of the community and of the children in the community? If
not, what are some of the maladjustments?
4. How do the maladjustments in the school program affect the
attendance of the pupils? Does a large percentage drop out
of school at an early age, because the program is not adjusted
to meet their needs?
5. What steps are being taken to work out a satisfactory solution
to the problems resulting trom such maladjustments?
The county officials may be more responsible for the
organization of the school than the principal and teachers
because, under the law, the County Board is charged with
the responsibility of determining the organization includ-
ing the grades to be taught. However, even the County
Board may not be in position to affect desirable changes
because of the attitude of the trustees or of influential or
conservative individuals in the community.


The school, for example, may be attempting to offer
work in high school grades when it does not have the
facilities or the personnel and when those could not be
provided without excessive cost. A small elementary
school may be attempting to carry on work in the 7th and
8th grades when better facilities could more economically
be provided for those children at some other school. The
work in the elementary grades may not be properly co-
ordinated with that in the upper grades in the same school
or in the high school where the children will be assigned.
All such evidences of lack of satisfactory organization are
likely to be significant in the field of attendance.
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Is the school well organized to meet the needs existing in the
2. If the organization is unsatisfactory in any respect who is
responsible for continuing the unsatisfactory condition, the
people in the community, the trustees, the teachers and princi-
pal or the county officials?
3. Could any children now being cared for at the school have more
adequate facilities if they were assigned to attend some other
convenient school?
4. Is the school organized on a professional basis or is it domi-
nated or influenced to a marked extent by political considera-
tion? Have the principal and faculty members been appointed
and are they continued in service on the basis of merit or have
some other factors been significant?
Fortunately most of the recently constructed school
plants are reasonably attractive and have playgrounds
which are adequate or nearly so. Many of the older build-
ings, however and many of the smaller schools are dingy,
unattractive, may have an unsatisfactory environment,
may have inadequate playground facilities and in other
ways may be uninviting even to adults. Children like
attractive surroundings fully as much as do adults. They
are unquestionably influenced by the physical conditions
of the school they attend. If there is little that is attrac-
tive or interesting in the school they are attending, their
incentive for continuing will be that much less than it
should be.
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What are some of the unattractive and undesirable features
about the school environment or about the school plant itself
which will probably be discouraging or at any rate not encour-
aging to the children?


2. Are the school officials aware of these conditions and, if so, are
they taking any steps to remedy them?
3. Are the people of the community aware of the fact that their
school plant is not as attractive as it should be?
4. Are there a number of improvements that could be made with-
out a great deal of trouble or effort or is the school plant such
that no material improvements can be brought about without
starting all over and building an entirely new structure?
5. Does the playground have adequate equipment? If not, what
home-made or other equipment could be added to increase its
attractiveness and use?
6. Is the school reasonably well equipped? Is the equipment prop-
erly used or is it more or less obsolete or uncomfortable? Do
the principal and teachers insist on the most formal arrange-
ment possible regardless of the needs of the pupils?


Transportation is now a very important factor in school
attendance at many schools. In fact, in the larger rural
schools particularly, it would not be possible for many of
the children to attend unless adequate transportation
were provided. During recent years the State has taken
many steps to assure that transportation equipment meets
certain minimum standards. For example, no longer can
County Boards purchase buses with frame or composition
bodies. The bodies must meet certain standards of
strength and must conform to certain other regulations
relating to safety. Moreover the State has prescribed cer-
tain operating regulations which should add materially to
the safety and comfort of the children.
Unfortunately, transportation has sometimes been
planned more on a political than on a professional basis.
Routes are sometimes poorly arranged with the result that
some of the children have to get on the bus at a very early
hour and ride long distances. In general, however, these
conditions have been largely overcome with the result
that children can depend on the transportation schedules
and drivers and may expect to get to or from school with
far greater safety than the average motorist can expect
in connection with his own travel. Transportation gen-
erally has greatly helped school attendance.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Do all of the children who should be attending school have
access to transportation facilities without having to walk exces-
sive distances?


2. Should some of the children who are going to a small school
be transported to a larger school where they can have better
3. Are the transportation routes well arranged so that each child
has a minimum of riding and arrives at school without undue
4. Are the drivers carefully selected and are they as conscientious
and attentive to the needs and welfare of the children as they
should be?
5. Are there any bus discipline problems which are not promptly
and properly cared for?
6. Is the principal of the school as interested in matters concerned
with transportation as he should be or does he leave these
problems largely to the drivers?
7. Are any of the buses badly over crowded and if so, what steps
are being taken to relieve this situation?
8. Is there a satisfactory system of maintenance for transporta-
tion equipment so that buses are in good operating condition
and are safe for the children?

The principal of the school is responsible for the satis-
factory and successful operation of the school. No prin-
cipal can do an outstanding job if his school is to be handi-
capped by lack of county leadership and support or by
inadequate funds and equipment. Even with somewhat
limited facilities, however, a principal can go a long way
toward working out a satisfactory program for the school.
According to present laws the principal is responsible
for recommending his teachers. Trustees can reject his
recommendations only for good reasons. Thus the possi-
bility that a school may be severely handicapped because
trustees may wish to place certain poorly qualified per-
sons in the school as teachers is reduced. Moreover, the
principal submits recommendations to the trustees and to
the County Superintendent regarding various school
needs and has an opportunity to cooperate with them in
working out ways and means of meeting these needs.

The leadership of the principal determines to a great
extent the ability of the faculty to cooperate in working
out a satisfactory solution to the various problems of the
school. If the principal meets his responsibility, much
progress may be expected.
In the field of attendance service, much depends upon
the attitude of the principal. If he feels that teachers
should confine their attention to teaching and should give


little attention to problems of attendance which originate
outside the school or perhaps even to those which origi-
nate within the school, the situation will be difficult of
solution. After all, the school must assume full responsi-
bility for its own attendance problems and for securing
the cooperation of the attendance assistant and other per-
sons who may be able to render services in this area.
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Is the principal professionally trained and competent to deal
with problems of administration and instruction? Does he have
an adequate grasp of all of the problems involved?
2. Is the principal given a free hand to exercise leadership in
working out a satisfactory program for the school or is he hand-
icapped by the attitude of the trustees and County Superin-
tendent or of other groups?
3. Is the principal given the responsibility for helping to select
his faculty, prepare the budget for the school, and otherwise
work out a program for meeting the needs or does someone
else assume this responsibility?
4. Does the principal take advantage of his opportunities for
leadership or does he know how to act as a leader?
5. Does the principal encourage his teachers to accept full respon-
sibility for solving problems of attendance at the school or does
he seem to expect that these problems should be solved largely
by someone else?
Many problems of attendance arise because of person-
ality or other conflicts between teachers and pupils. Some-
times the pupils may be to blame and sometimes the
teacher may be responsible.
Unfortunately, too many teachers do not have a per-
sonality that appeals to and stimulates children. The
teacher may be matter-of-fact or may expect to get results
through discipline rather than through leadership. The
chief emphasis may be placed on academic achievement
instead of all-round development of the child.
In any school of any size there are usually a few teach-
ers who are outstanding and others who are not contribut-
ing much or who may even be a decided handicap. The
principal should be fully aware of this situation and
should be seeking constantly to work out a solution. He
and the attendance assistant should cooperate on prob-
lems of attendance which arise largely as a result of in-
efficiency of certain teachers. These may be solved partly
by helping the teacher to realize and overcome her dif-


ficulties and partly by helping the pupils to appreciate
and understand the work of the teacher. In extreme cases
they may have to be solved by eliminating the services of
that teacher.
Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Who are the strongest teachers in the school? Are these teach-
ers having a significant influence on the attendance of their
pupils as evidenced by attendance records, by the age at which
pupils tend to drop out of school, or by other factors?
2. What steps are being taken to improve the ability of some of
the teachers to deal successfully with their pupils? Is satisfac-
tory progress being made or is the teacher such a failure that
someone else should be assigned to that work?
3. Are all teachers giving proper attention to all phases of child
development or are they centering too much attention on the
academic phases?
4. Is there a definite plan being developed by the teachers and the
principal for working out a program which will enable the
school better to met the needs of the children?

Discipline is far broader than the relatively simple mat-
ter of keeping order. Discipline implies a school program
which will increasingly result in preparing pupils who can
successfully meet and solve their own problems.
A school disciplined on an autocratic basis may have
good order, but in the long run the results are likely to be
far less satisfactory than one in which the discipline is
placed on a democratic basis. Children are likely to rebel
against autocratic over-discipline or take advantage of
unplanned situations in which they are left to their own

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. Are the children in the school left largely to their own devices
and are they developing wrong attitudes as a result? Do many
of the teachers feel that to exert too much leadership in the
,matter of discipline would be undemocratic?
2. Does the discipline tend to be militaristic in nature? Does it
leave any room for initiative, thinking or planning on the part
of the pupils? What is the effect on the pupils of such discipline?
3. Do any attendance problems in the school result directly or
indirectly from the attitude of the school toward discipline?
If so, what are the relationships?
While the teachers and principal are more responsible
for the success of the school than any other one factor,


the curriculum is also of major significance. In many
cases the schools have not been offering the work needed
by certain children or the children have found themselves
studying a series of separate academic subjects which
may not seem to be related to their own experiences and
to their own life needs.
It is generally accepted that the curriculum must always
to some extent be adjusted to the needs of the community.
In other words, it is not practicable or desirable for the
teachers and principal of a school to apply the state
course of study in that school without some adjustments
or modifications. If they attempt to do so some of the
needs of the children are certain to be neglected. If chil-
dren are taking subjects they do not like, sooner or later,
they will probably become discouraged and may attend
irregularly or drop out of school. There is usually some
reason why children do not like a subject. It may be be-
cause of the textbook, because of the teacher or because
in spite of the best efforts of the teacher, the material is
not adapted to the needs of the child. Each school should
have a definite plan for evaluation of its curriculum to
determine the extent to which it is responsible for unsatis-
factory conditions of attendance.

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What subjects being taught in the schools are least popular
with the pupils? What is the reason for this? Is it because of
the teacher, because of the subject, or because of some other
2. Does the school have a rather narrow curriculum which is
largely academic in nature and which all children are required
to take? What is the result of this type of curriculum?
3. What are some experiences which the children should have in
school and which they are not now getting? Is any effort being
made to adjust to meet these needs?
4. To what extent are problems of attendance in the school re-
lated to curriculum? What adjustments can be made to help
to overcome these problems?
The school cannot exist satisfactorily as an institution
which is isolated from the community in which it serves.
There should be a very close working relationship be-
tween the school and the community. The people in the
community must know what is going on in the school and
must understand the justification for the program which


is being offered. This means that each school must have
some systematic plan for keeping the community in touch
with its problems and needs and for securing the support
of the community in working out a solution to those

Some Problems for Consideration:
1. What is the reaction of the people of the community to the
school? Do they feel that it is too theoretical and academic? Do
they feel that it is trying out too many new ideas without
proper justification or that it is too conservative?
2. Do the people in the community really understand the major
features of the program being carried on in the school? Are
they in favor of that program?
3. Is the school helping the people to understand the importance
of regular school attendance and the desirability of pupils
remaining in school through the upper grades? If not, what
steps can be taken to remedy this situation?
4. In what respect should better school-community cooperation
result in better attendance and an easier solution for the
attendance problem?

It should be obvious that there is a very close relation-
ship between child labor and school attendance. If there
were no child labor laws in Florida or if such laws were
ineffective it would be much more difficult to carry out
the provisions of the school attendance laws. In fact each
one of these laws should supplement and strengthen the
other and the enforcement of either one should facilitate
the enforcement of the other.
Child labor,-that is hiring children to work for wages
during the school hours or requiring them to work when
they should be in school, or to work at such hours and
occupations that their health or morals may be jeopar-
dized,-has been increasingly recognized not only as un-
desirable, but as decidedly injurious to the welfare of
children and of the Nation. Even a few years ago it was
not uncommon for children to be employed for long hours
in occupations which are now known definitely to be haz-
ardous and in many cases injurious.
It is now generally recognized that all children have
the right to an education and should be given an oppor-
tunity to develop into useful adult citizens. It is also
recognized that exploitation of children by persons seek-
ing profits for themselves or for their organization is not
only a handicap to the children themselves, but also to
the entire economic system, because of its effect on the
wages and employment of adults in competing industries.
These observations regarding child labor do not in any
sense of the word imply that children should not do any
work at all. On the contrary it is commonly recognized
as wholesome for children to be assigned definite respon-
sibilities in keeping with their age and strength. In fact,
it is unfortunate that children in so many homes, par-
ticularly in urban communities, can be assigned so few
responsibilities and be given such little opportunity to
feel that they are making a worthwhile contribution
through useful work.
As is to be expected, school and child labor authorities
have responsibilities which at many points are closely
inter-related. However, there is also a clear cut division
in responsibilities which should at all times be kept in


mind. The school officials are primarily responsible in all
cases for enforcing the provisions of the school attend-
ance laws. The child labor officials, (in Florida, the State
Labor Inspector), are primarily responsible for carrying
out the provisions of the child labor law. In a number of
instances as will be pointed out later, however, each can
and should be of material assistance to the other.

For a number of years Federal officials have seen the
need for a greater uniformity in laws and regulations
relating to child labor. Some states have had very effec-
tive laws for several years, while the child labor laws in
other states have been relatively ineffective. In prac-
tically all the states the age at which children may enter
industry has been raised materially since the opening of
the century as is evidenced by the fact that children are
now required to attend school at least until they are four-
teen years of age, and in most states are required to at-
tend until they are sixteen years of age. Moreover, there
has been a tendency for a large percentage of the chil-
dren to continue through high school for a number of rea-
sons. Increased development and reliance on machinery,
more technological unemployment even for many adults,
and a gradually developing tradition that all children
should have at least a high school education, have all con-
tributed to the trend. In 1920, 44.7 per cent of the chil-
dren 16 and 17 years of age were employed. By 1930 only
31.7 per cent were employed and it is estimated that
the 1940 census will show an even smaller percentage of
children in this age group who are employed.
The first Federal child labor law was passed in 1916
and sought to regulate child labor directly by prohibiting
the shipment in interstate and foreign commerce of goods
produced in establishments in which children under four-
teen years of age were employed. This law was declared
unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in
The second Federal child labor law was included as a
part of the revenue act in February, 1919, and sought to
regulate child labor by imposing a tax upon the profits
of all mines and manufacturing establishments employ-
ing children in violation of certain standards. This law
was declared unconstitutional in 1922.


The next step was to propose a Constitutional amend-
ment to authorize the Federal government to regulate
child labor. Such an amendment was proposed in 1924.
A number of states ratified the amendment but opposition
developed and up to the present time only 28 states have
approved the amendment.
In 1938 what is known as the Federal Fair Labor Stand-
ards Act became a law. The act approaches the problem
from a somewhat different legal angle and apparently has
been effective in regulating employment of minors in or
about establishments producing goods for delivery for
shipment in interstate commerce.
The Children's Bureau of the United States Department
of Labor has been assigned the responsibility for prescrib-
ing regulations and providing the necessary supervision
to see that the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act
relating to child labor are fully observed. Under the
terms of this act, employers producing goods for shipment
or delivery for shipment in interstate commerce are pro-
hibited from employing children in certain industries
unless those children have reached the age prescribed in
the law or regulations. No children under fourteen years
of age may be employed in any such industry or occupa-
tion. As a means of enforcing the provisions of this act,
all persons employing minors are required to have a cer-
tificate giving the age of each minor under eighteen who
is employed. Usually some agency in the state is desig-
nated to issue these certificates. Representatives from the
Children's Bureau then work with state officials and em-
ployers in seeing that the provisions of the act are ob-
served. In Florida the State Department of Education
has been designated as the proper certificate issuing
authority since this Department is charged with issuing
age and other certificates under the Florida law. The
certificates issued under the Florida law are accepted
provided they are properly issued for minors entitled to
work under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards
The basic provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act
are compared in the next topic with the basic provisions
of the child labor law. Many similarities will be noted.
The present child labor law in Florida passed in 1941
is in general well coordinated with the provisions of the


School Code relating to school attendance and also with
the provisions of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Acts.
Every school principal and official having responsibilities
for school attendance should be familiar with all of the
major provisions of the state child labor law as well as
with those of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Major Provisions
The present Florida child labor act is designated as
Chapter 20955, Laws of Florida, Acts of 1941. (Amend-
ing Chapter 6488, Laws of Florida, Acts of 1913 as
amended by Chapter 6918, Laws of Florida, Acts of
1915). While the details regarding occupations for which
certificates may not be issued to children of certain ages
and other similar information can only be obtained from
a study of the law itself, the major provisions which are
of basic importance to keep in mind are as follows:
1. The provisions of the act do not apply to any minor employed
or engaged in domestic or farm work in connection with his
own home or directly for his own parents. (Sec. 2).
2. No provision of the act applies to a minor employed or engaged
in domestic service in private homes or in farm work during
hours when the public schools are not in session. (Sec. 2).
3. No minor under sixteen years of age can be employed to
work in any gainful occupation except in domestic service in
private homes or in farm work as indicated above, or in cer-
tain occupations indicated in 4 below, unless the person em-
ploying such minor secures and keeps on file at the place of the
minors employment an employment certificate as prescribed by
the School Code. An age certificate is required for employment
of all minors between 16 and 18 years of age except as indi-
cated above. (Sec. 4).
4. No boy under ten years of age and no girl under eighteen years
of age is permitted to engage in handling or distributing any
newspapers, magazines, periodicals or in polishing shoes on
any street or any other public place or from house to house.
No boy under sixteen years of age is permitted to engage in
any of these occupations during the hours when schools are in
session. Moreover, no boy under sixteen years of age is per-
mitted to engage in these occupations at any time between the
hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. except between April 1 and Septem-
ber 30 when the prohibited hours are from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
(Sec. 1).
5. Minors under sixteen years of age may not be employed in any
gainful occupation at any time when schools are in session ex-
cept in domestic or farm work as is indicated above. Minors
between ten and sixteen years of age may be employed during
hours when the public schools are not in session but not in a
factory, work shop, mill, mechanical establishment, laundry, or
in any occupation for which a higher minimum wage has been
established for employment under the laws of the state.
(Sec. 3).


6. It is made the duty not only of the State Labor Inspector and
his agents, but of all sheriffs and law enforcing officers of Flor-
ida to enforce the provisions of the Act. (Sec. 6).

7. The presence of any minor in any place of employment during
working hours is prima facie evidence of his employment

8. A number of occupations are specified in which children under
eighteen years of age may not be employed and a number of
others including pool or billiard rooms, saloons or places where
liquors are sold, may not employ any person under 21 years of
age. (Sec. 9, 10, 11, 14).

9. Certain sanitary standards are required to be observed in places
employing any person under eighteen years of age. (Sec. 16,
17, 18).

10. Severe penalties are prescribed for any persons violating the
provisions of the Act. (Sec. 12).

Comparison Between Basic Provisions of State and Federal Law

The following comparison shows the similarities and
differences between the basic provisions in the state
child labor law and the Federal Fair Labor Standards
Act. The requirements of the Federal law, when higher
than those in the state law, take precedence when minors
are employed in or about establishments producing
goods for interstate commerce.

Provisions Relating to:
Minimum age for gener-
al employment including
manufacturing and pro-
Minimum age for public
messenger service
Hours minors 16-18
Minimum age for certain
hazardous employment

Florida Law
16 years-Certificate re-
quired (Probably includes

16 years, boys; 18 years
girls, certificate required
8 a day, no night work
18 years (for occupations
listed opposite as well as
additional ones not yet
declared hazardous under
Federal Law. (See State
Child Labor Law) Cer-
tificates issued on re-

Fair Labor Standards
16 years

16 years

No limit
18 years for
1. Work in or about any
plant manufacturing
explosives or articles
containing explosive
2. Motor vehicle driver
and helper
3. All occupations in coal
mines and some oc-
cupations about coal
4. Occupations in logging
and occupations in any
sawmill, lath mill,
shingle mill, and coop-
erage stock mill with
some exceptions
5. Occupations involved
in the operation of
power driven wood-
working machines


Provisions Relating to:
Minimum age for news
Hours for news boys-
out of school only

Minimum age for limited
employment in some non-
mining, non-manufactur-
ing and non-hazardou's
Hours of employment for
minors under 16, out of
school only

Minimum age agricul-

Minimum age-Domestic
work in private homes

Minimum age-theatrical


Florida Law
10 years, no certificate
Not after 7 p. m. or be-
fore 3 a. m. (except dur-
ing summer months not
after 8 p.m.)

14 years

8 hour day when schools
not in session and not
after 8 p. m. or before
6:30 a.m. (See State
Child Labor Law)
16 during hours school
in session except for par-
ent on home farm (Cer-
tificate required if child
employed by parent dur-
ing school hours)
16 during hours schools
in session except for par-
ent in connection with
own home. (Certificate
required if child employ-
ed by parent during
school hours)
Minors 14 to 18, not after
11 p. m. Certificate re-
1. Children employed di-
rectly by parent in do-
mestic or farm work in
connection with own
2. Children employed in
domestic work in private
homes or farm work dur-
ing hours schools are not
in session

Fair Labor Standards
14 years

Not after 7 p. m. not be-
fore 7 a. m. (except dur-
ing summer months) See
Folder No. 26, Children's
Bureau, U. S. Department
of Labor.
14 years

8 hour day when schools
not in session and not
before 7 a. m. or after 7
p.m. (See Folder No. 26)

16 during hours legally
required to attend school

No specific coverage

Actors in motion pictures
and theatrical perform-
ances exempt.
1. Employment of chil-
dren in agriculture dur-
ing hours they are not
legally required to attend
2. Employment of children
under 16 by own parents
in non-mining and non-
manufacturing occupations
3. Employment of chil-
dren i n theatrical per-

Penalties for Violation

The penalties for violations of the child labor pro-
visions depend to some extent upon whether state or
Federal laws are being violated. Violations of the Fed-
eral law of course, are dealt with by Federal officials.

If the state law is violated or obstructed, the person
so violating or obstructing the law may upon conviction
be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned in the county
jail not exceeding six months or both. Each day that any
such violation of the act continues constitutes a separate
and distinct offense and the employment of each minor
also constitutes a separate and distinct offense. (Sec. 12)
There is still a further penalty provided by the Flor-
ida workmen's compensation act. Section 18 of that


act (Chapter 20672, Acts of 1941) provides that any
employer employing a child in violation of the state
child labor law, is liable if the child is injured, for com-
pensation and death benefits that are double those for
persons legally employed. The act further provides
that the employer alone is responsible for the extra
benefits and that these may not be covered by insurance.
If the child who is employed illegally is absent from
school in violation of the school attendance law his par-
ents can be subject to a fine of not more than $100 or
sentenced to imprisonment in the county jail for not
more than 90 days or be both fined and imprisoned.
(School Code Sec. 619 (6-a)).

Also under the School Code the employer who fails
to notify the County Superintendent when he ceases to
employ a child for whom an employment certificate has
been issued or who employs a child under sixteen years
of age without receiving an employment certificate, may
be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned in the county
jail for not more than 90 days or be both fined and im-
prisoned. (Sec. 619(6-d)).

Exceptions for Training
Section 24 of the child labor act makes clear that the
act is not intended to prevent minors of any age from
receiving industrial education approved by the State
Superintendent or by any other duly constituted author-
ity. On September 24, 1941, the Attorney General ruled

"If any pupil in a regularly established vocational course is
employed outside of school on a part time basis as an essential
part of the vocational course he is pursuing and such plan is
duly approved by the State Board of Education and the County
Superintendent of Public Instruction, such employment is not
contrary to the child labor law, regardless of the age of the
pupil, inasmuch as Section 624 of the child labor law .....
was designed to prevent the child labor law from in any way
obstructing a plan of vocational education. .. . . If the
pupil were employed by an employer covered by the terms of
the workmen's compensation law on a part time basis in con-
nection with the program of training properly approved as in-
dicated above, the employer would not be subjected to double
liability ....... but if the employment were not so approved,
such employer would be subjected to the additional liability or
compensation under this Section."


Some Major Problems
In certain sections of Florida and particularly in the
heavy vegetable producing regions, there has been rath-
er consistent employment of child labor. Moreover a
number of occupations in which children up to 18 or even
up to 21 years of age cannot be employed under the
new law, have been accustomed to use and often exploit
minors. The primary responsibility for interpreting the
new law to employers of children above sixteen years
of age will, of course, rest with the State Labor Inspec-
tor although school officials should be interested and
should be able to assist materially in seeing that the laws
are properly explained.
One of the most important responsibilities, therefore,
is for the school officials, teachers and others to under-
stand fully the provisions of these laws. Another close-
ly related responsibility is for school and child labor
authorities to see that the laws are properly interpreted
and understood by the parents and prospective employ-
ers. A third responsibility resting primarily on school
people is to develop a plan for issuing and checking up
on the certificates so as to assure that they will be issued
only for children who are entitled to such certificates
and that all certificates will be properly used and ac-
counted for.

Under no conditions, except as explained above, may
a child under eighteen be employed during school hours
unless the employer holds the proper type of certificate.
Under many conditions it is necessary for a person un-
der eighteen years of age to be issued a certificate
before he can be employed even outside of school hours.
These certificates are required by the state child labor
law, by the Federal fair labor standards act and by
the State school attendance laws. The fact that a cer-
tificate has been issued and is in possession of the em-
ployer is sufficient evidence of the age of the person be-
ing employed. If, however, a certificate has been im-
properly issued or the child is illegally employed, the
certificate may be revoked at any time.
There are three distinct types of certificates each of
which serves a definite purpose as explained below.
The procedures for issuing these certificates and for ob-


training proper evidence of age are explained in the
next chapter on Requirements Relating to School At-
tendance, since all certificates must be issued by school
Employment Certificates. (Form At-20s, green)
The Florida legislature, both in the child labor act
and in the compulsory attendance laws, has recognized
that all children are expected to remain in school up to
sixteen years of age except under certain very limited
circumstances when an employment certificate may be
issued. This certificate is used only for children four-
teen and fifteen years of age who are to be employed
during school hours. (Form At-20s). The school laws
provide that it may be issued only in cases of urgent
need. The child labor law goes further and provides
that the certificate may be issued only for the employ-
ment of children during school hours by their parents
for domestic or farm work. This certificate may not be
issued unless the child has completed the eighth grade
or its equivalent. It is good only for the school year in
which it is issued, and must be returned at once to the
county superintendent after the child ceases to be em-
ployed regularly by the parent. The child then has to
return to school if he is not sixteen years of age.
It should be obvious, therefore, that there will not be
many employment certificates issued during any year
in any county. Moreover the matter of checking on em-
ployment certificates will be relatively simple since the
child labor law provides that they are to be issued only
to children who are urgently needed by their parents in
farm or domestic work.

Special Certificate of Employment During Vacation or
Out-of-School Hours. (Form At-25s, pink)
This certificate is to be issued only for employment
during vacation or out-of-school hours and for minors
under sixteen years of age. It is not valid for employ-
ment during school hours nor after the opening of the
next school year.
It may not be issued at any time for the employment
of minors in: Factories, Workshops, Mills, Mechanical
Establishments, Laundries, or any other occupations for
which a higher minimum wage has been established
under the Florida law.


It is not required for employment in farm or domestic
work or for selling newspapers or shining shoes out of
school hours as prescribed by the child labor act. It is
required for any and all other occupations for which
children under sixteen years of age may be employed
outside of school hours, or during vacations, but is not
valid for any occupation in which such employment is
prohibited. Proper evidence of age is required. The
certificate must be returned to the county superintend-
ent at once by the employer after the child ceases to be
employed regularly by him.
School officials are responsible for seeing that the
employment of any child holding a certificate of this
type does not interfere with his school work. The State
Labor Inspector is responsible for cooperating with them
in seeing that the certificate is used only in the occupa-
tions for which it was intended. The State Labor In-
spector is primarily responsible for seeing that there
are no violations of the child labor act by employers
employing minors for whom this certificate has been
Age Certificate. (Form At-30s, canary)
This certificate is required only for minors sixteen
years of age or over. It is not required as far as school
attendance is concerned because children over sixteen
years of age are not required to attend school. It is,
however, required both by the Federal Fair Labor Stand-
ards Act and by the state child labor act for employers
who employ children between sixteen and eighteen years
of age and for employers in other cases to provide neces-
sary evidence of age.
The certificate must be returned to the County Super-
intendent immediately upon the termination of the em-
ployment unless the minor is eighteen years of age. In
which case the certificate may be given to the minor.
The problem of seeing that this certificate is properly
used is primarily a responsibility of the State Labor In-
spector and other law enforcement officers, but school
officials are expected to cooperate fully.
The importance of complete understanding and co-
operation between school officials including teachers
and principals and the State Labor Inspector and other
law enforcement officials with reference to issuing, us-


ing and revoking the certificates required by the School
Code, the Fair Labor Standards Act or the State child
labor law, cannot be over-emphasized. The following
suggestions are offered for guidance:
School Officials. School officials should be particular-
ly diligent to see that Employment Certificates and Spe-
.cial Certificates of Employment During Vacation or Out-
of-School Hours are issued only in especially deserving
cases. This requires careful investigation especially for
each employment certificate issued and a careful follow
up of all certificates. Age certificates do not require
such careful investigation as far as the school status of
the child is concerned, but do require adequate evidence
regarding the age.
School officials should not at any time issue any type
of certificate unless the evidence required is satisfactory
to them. This does not necessarily mean that the proof
of age must in every case be substantiated by a birth
certificate but it does mean that the evidence should be
The attendance assistant or County Superintendent
should periodically inspect places where children are
employed to see that all children have proper certifi-
cates and also to see that the employment of children
under sixteen years of age is not in any way abused.
School officials should report promptly to the Labor
Inspector or to other enforcement agencies any evidence
of abuse or violation of the child labor employment pro-
visions or of irregularities relating to certificates. If
at any time after a certificate has been issued the evi-
dence is found to be faulty or the certificate is being im-
properly used, it should be revoked.
State Labor Inspector. The State Labor Inspector
should report promptly to school officials any evidence
of abuse or violations which involve children under six-
teen years of age. Such reports can be of material as-
sistance in helping school officials see that children who
should be in school are properly enrolled.
The State Labor Inspector also can materially assist
school officials by calling attention to various types of
problems relating to school attendance which exist in
a given county or community as a result of irregular or
objectionable employment or of other conditions.


The requirements of law and regulations of the State
Board relating to school attendance in Florida are in-
tended to assure that every pupil in the State not only
has an opportunity for an education, but that he takes
full advantage of that opportunity. Particularly are
these laws and requirements intended to assure that ev-
ery child seven years of age attends school regularly and
continues in school until he reaches sixteen years of age
unless an exemption certificate has been issued. The
provisions both of the child labor law and of the school
attendance law are sufficiently definite that there should
be no reason for failure to observe the laws within any
county. This should within a few years mean that il-
literacy in Florida will be reduced to a minimum and
that practically all adults will not only be able to read
and write but will also have the minimum educational
attainments considered necessary for exercising satis-
factorily the prerogatives of American citizenship.
Nursery schools. The Florida law authorizes the
establishment of nursery schools for children who will
have attained the age of three years by December 1 of
any school year, or if the school has mid-term admission,
the child may be admitted if it is three years of age at
the beginning of the second semester. Nursery schools,
however, are not required to be provided at public ex-
pense. Therefore, there is no assurance that all children
will have access to nursery school facilities without spec-
ial fees. In fact, few counties at the present time at-
tempt to provide nursery schools. (Sec. 605, also Sec.
Kindergartens. The Florida law also authorizes but
does not require kindergartens. Kindergartens may be
established at the discretion of the County Board and
may be provided either at public expense or on a fee
basis. In practice only a few counties have established
kindergartens at public expense. Any children who
will have reached the age of four years by December 1
of any school year are eligible for admission to public


kindergarten. If there are mid-year admissions, any
children who have reached the age of four years at the
beginning of the second semester may be enrolled at
that time. (Sec. 604, also Sec. 216).
Elementary and High Schools. Elementary and high
school facilities are required at public expense for all
children between six to twenty-one years of age inclus-
ive. The public school program is required to include
twelve years of public instruction. The law specifically
provides that "no matriculation or tuition fee shall be
charged pupils whose parents are bona fide residents of
the State, provided those pupils are attending any of the
first twelve grades of the public schools to which they
are properly assigned." (Sec. 216 (2)).
State Board regulations adopted April 1, 1941 provide
"Any person residing in the State who is more than twenty-
one years of age who has not completed high school work may
be admitted to any high school or to any course providing work
on a high school level, subject to regulations of the County
Board of the county in which the person resides."
On September 6, 1940, the Attorney General ruled
that the term "bona fide resident" of Florida is not equi-
valent to the term "citizen" and is not restricted to per-
sons domiciled in Florida. Winter residents who own
homes in Florida in which they live during part of the
year and upon which they pay taxes are entitled to
send their children to school in Florida without paying
These laws, regulations and interpretations are in-
tended to assure that all residents of the State can have
the privileges of education through twelve grades with-
out having to pay tuition, which, if required, would tend
to exclude children of parents in limited economic cir-
School Term. The law requires that every school be
operated for a minimum term of eight months' and
makes it the duty of the County Board of any county
when practicable to establish and provide a longer
term. (Sec. 205).
All children of compulsory school attendance age are
required to attend school regularly during the entire


school term, that is for a minimum of at least eight
months and if the county operates a term of nine months,
then attendance is required for the full nine months.

Regular attendance at any of the following is recog-
nized as constituting school attendance within the mean-
ing of the law (Sec. 602) :

(a) A public school supported by public funds.
(b) A parochial or denominational school.
(c) A private school supported in whole or in part by tuition
charges or by endowments or gifts.
(d) With a private tutor who meets all requirements prescrib-
ed by law and regulations of the State Board for private
All schools, public, parochial, denominational and
private and all private tutors are required to keep re-
cords of attendance and make such reports as are re-
quired by regulations of the State Board and all such
schools are required to be open for inspection by the
County Superintendent or attendance assistant of the
County in which the school is located. (Sec. 615).

Regulations of the State Board adopted on April 1,
1941 provide that:

"(1) Any parochial, denominational or private school in
which any pupil of compulsory school age is enrolled shall make
a report to the County Superintendent of Public Instruction
on the attendance of pupils at the school for each school month
while school work is in progress in the school. This report
shall be made on forms prescribed by the State Board.
(2) Teachers' Registers of Attendance and Principals' Re-
cord and Report Books shall be provided without cost to any
parochial, denominational or private school which wishes to
use such record and report forms for keeping attendance re-
cords and for submitting the attendance reports required.
(3) No parochial, denominational or private school may be
accredited or approved for transfer of credit unless these re-
gulations and requirements are fully observed by the school,
and no pupil may be transferred from any such non-recognized
school to a public school without a special examination.
(4) These regulations are adopted to make effective the pro-
visions of Sections 614 and 615 of the School Code relating to
attendance of pupils in other than public schools."
The following requirements are prescribed for private


"Any person who undertakes to tutor any child of compulsory
school attendance age when such tutoring is in lieu of school
attendance for the child shall meet the following requirements:
(1) He shall hold a valid Florida certificate to teach the sub-
jects or grades required for the private tutoring in which he
(2) He shall be approved by the County Board as a private
tutor for the county in which he proposes to engage in tutoring.
(3) He shall keep all records required by the State and the
County Board Regulations and shall make regular reports on
the attendance of pupils in accordance with the provisions of
Section 614 of the Florida School Code.
(4) Any person who engages in private tutoring of children
of compulsory attendance age and who fails to meet these re-
quirements shall be subject to prosecution under the terms of
the Compulsory School Attendance provisions of the Florida
School Code."

While it is recognized that some children are suf-
ficiently mature to enter school at an earlier chronologi-
cal age than others, there is no uniformly satisfactory
method in use for determining just when such children
should be admitted. In order to assure that most chil-
dren will not be admitted to school at an age which is
too immature and also to provide a uniform basis for
calculating attendance used in apportioning State funds,
the law prescribed a minimum chronological age be-
low which children may not be admitted. They may be
admitted above that age, but must enter school within
approximately a year after they reach the minimum age
of admission.
In schools having annual promotions, a child to be
admitted during the year must have reached five years
and nine months of age on or before the opening day
of school. Such children have a right to require admis-
sion at that time or at any time within the first month
of school, but not thereafter during the remainder of
the term. The Attorney General ruled under dates of
September 4 and September 20, 1940 that this is to be
interpreted to mean that any child who reaches five
years and nine months of age within the first calendar
month after the opening of school having annual pro-
motions is entitled to admission. Thus, if school opens
September 9, children who reach six years of age before
January 9 are entitled to be admitted to the first grade
provided they enroll during the first month of school.


In schools having semi-annual promotions, a child
must have reached the age of five years and eleven
months on or before the opening day of any semester to
be admitted and must enter during the first two weeks
of a semester if he is to be entitled to admission during
that semester. The Attorney General ruled on the dates
indicated above that any child who reaches five years
and eleven months of age during the first two weeks af-
ter the opening of school or after the opening of the
semester is entitled to admission provided he enrolls
during the first two weeks.
The Attorney General also held (Sept. 20, 1940) that
if a child has been properly admitted to one school and
then transfers during the year to another school which
has an earlier opening date, he would be eligible for ad-
mission to the second school even though he might not
have been the proper age for admission had he originally
enrolled in that school. A child below the age of ad-
mission established by law for Florida public schools
could not, however, enroll in a private school or in a
school in some other state and then expect to be admitted
to the first grade by transferring to a public school later
in the year.
Before a child is admitted to the first grade it is the
duty of the principal of the school to require evidence
that the child has attained the age at which he should
be admitted according to the provisions of law and rul-
ings of the Attorney General. (Sec. 603). Unless this
evidence is provided, the parent does not have the right
to compel admission of the child. The bases for deter-
mining evidence of age are explained in a later topic.

Best Practices
1. The County Superintendent or attendance assistant should
prepare and make available to all principals adequate in-
structions as to which children may be admitted and which
may not be admitted to the first grade at the opening of
school or at the beginning of the semester. Such definite in-
structions are necessary to avoid confusion and misunder-
2. Principals should be informed that they should not admit
any child who has not reached the age prescribed by law or
whose parents do not produce satisfactory evidence that he
has attained that age. To admit any such children would
be in violation of the law and even if such children were ad-
mitted they could not be permitted to attend.


3. Principals should be instructed that, when it is evident that
a child has reached the minimum age chronologically, but is
too immature to benefit from school work that year, his
parents should be encouraged either to enter him in a kinder-
garten or to wait until the next year to enter the child in the
first grade. A number of reasonably satisfactory standard-
ized tests are available and should be used in helping to deter-
mine the relative maturity of the various pupils.
4. All parents should understand that they should enter chil-
dren who are to be enrolled in the school at the opening of
school or at the opening of the semester if at all possible and
that these children must be entered during the first month
of school in schools having annual promotion or during the
first two weeks of the semester in schools having semi-annual
promotions if the children are to attend that year.
5. Principals and others should understand that the provisions
of the compulsory attendance law are not applicable to six
year old pupils, but that regular attendance of those pupils
should be encouraged on a voluntary basis. Children who at-
tend irregularly during the first year are likely to be greatly
handicapped not only during that year, but also during sub-
sequent years.

All children who have attained the age of seven years
or who will have attained the age of seven years by Feb-
ruary 1 of any school year are required to enter school
promptly at the opening of school and attend school regu-
larly during the entire school year. They must continue
to attend regularly until they have reached their six-
teenth birthday unless they are entitled to a certificate of
exemption as explained under the following topic. (Sec.

In order that these provisions of the law may be ob-
served a definite and systematic program is necessary in
each county. Some of the aspects of this program are
prescribed by law, others must be developed by the
county. This entire handbook is devoted to various
aspects of such a program. In this chapter major atten-
tion is centered on the legal requirements.

School Census. Each county is required to maintain
a continuing or periodic school census for all children be-
tween the ages of six and eighteen years. (Sec. 620).
The census is to provide information concerning the chil-
dren who should be in school. Without some form of
census record it is impossible to determine whether all
children of compulsory attendance age are enrolled in


the schools of the county. Suggestions for maintaining
this census are given in the chapter devoted to that
Compulsory Attendance List. The County Superin-
tendent or attendance assistant is required to prepare
from the school census list and from the membership list
furnished to him from each school at the end of the year
a list of pupils of compulsory attendance age who should
attend the various schools of the county, and to furnish
a copy of this list to the principal of each school on or
before the opening day of school. (Sec. 611). At the end
of the tenth day after the opening of school the principal
is required to report to the County Superintendent the
name and address of each child in the attendance area
of his school who is required to attend and who is not
enrolled in the school. If there are any children enrolled
in the school whose names are not on the list, he is also
required to report that fact. Weekly reports of children
who have been absent without permission or satisfactory
explanation are also required. (Sec 612).
Enforcement of Compulsory Attendance. The County
Superintendent is responsible for enforcing the provisions
of the attendance law. Provision is made for an attend-
ance assistant who is responsible to the County Superin-
tendent for carrying out many of the duties and responsi-
bilities relating to the enforcement of attendance law,
but if there is no attendance assistant the County Superin-
tendent, himself, is directly responsible for the entire
program. (Sec. 616 and 617).
Parents Responsible for Attendance of Children. Each
parent of a child within the compulsory attendance age is
responsible for the regular attendance of the child at
school during the entire term. The absence of a child
from school is prima facie evidence that the provisions of
the law have been violated, but no parent is held respon-
sible for a child's non-attendance at school under the
following conditions: (Sec. 609).
1. If a child was absent with the permission of the principal.
2. If a child was absent without the parent's knowledge or consent
and he has made proper effort to keep the child in school, but
is unable to do so. In such a case the child is dealt with as a
3. If the parent was unable to provide necessary clothes and had
reported this inability in writing to the County Superintendent.


4. If the attendance was impracticable because of injury or
illness as evidenced by a statement from a physician.
5. If attendance was impossible because of the distance of the
home of the child from the school and lack of transportation.
Explanation of Absence. Whenever a child of com-
pulsory school attendance age is absent from school it is
the duty of the parent to report and explain the cause of
such absence to the teacher or principal of the school.
If the parent fails to make that explanation such failure
is evidence of the child's being absent with the consent
of the parent. (Sec. 610).
Court Procedure and Penalties. All compulsory at-
tendance cases are required to be handled by the juvenile
court if there is such a court in the county or if not by the
county judge or if there is no such judge, by any other
court having competent jurisdiction. (Sec. 619 (1)).
Necessary prosecution may be begun by the County
Superintendent or attendance assistant, by the probation
officer of the county, by the executive officer of any court
of competent jurisdiction or by a duly authorized agent
of the State Superintendent. (Sec 619 (5)).
The County Superintendent is required to institute a
criminal prosecution against the parent of the child in
any case of non-enrollment or non-attendance on the part
of the child where there is no valid reason for such non-
enrollment or non-attendance. (Sec. 619 (2)).
Penalty for Parent. If the parent is responsible for
the non-attendance or irregular attendance of the child,
upon conviction he may be fined not more than $100 or
sentenced to imprisonment in the county jail for 90 days
or both.
The Habitual Truant. If the child becomes a habitual
truant and is found to be dependent, neglected or delin-
quent, he may be dealt with by the juvenile court or other
competent authorities as provided by law for such cases.
(Sec. 619 (3, 6-b)).

Best Practices
1. The County Superintendent, attendance assistant, principals
and teachers should develop a systematic and comprehensive
plan for determining which children should be in school regu-
larly and for seeing that those children are attending or for
determining why they are not attending. Without such a plan
compulsory attendance cannot be fully effective.


2. Each case of unexcused, unexplained non-attendance should
be carefully investigated, first by the teacher or principal if
possible. It should be understood that on the teacher and
principal rests the prime responsibility for taking every step
possible to deal with cases of non-attendance or of irregular
attendance and for working out a solution.
3. Cases which present particularly difficult problems or cannot
be adequately investigated for some reason should be referred
to the attendance assistant who should undertake a systematic
investigation and if possible work out a solution in cooperation
with the principal and teacher.
4. The program should be such as to provide for prompt investi-
gation of every such case. Many cases that might develop into
habitual truancy can be dealt with satisfactorily if promptly
investigated at the beginning.
5. Every effort should be made to get the cooperation and support
of the parents as well as of the child. Only in cases of failure
to obtain results because of non-cooperation, should prose-
cution be contemplated.
6. Prosecution should seldom if ever be undertaken in a case in-
volving extreme financial difficulty or some other unusual
situation where the parent is not chiefly to blame for the'
7. In extreme cases there should be no hesitation to evoke the
provisions of the law and to seek to have the court inflict the
penalties prescribed.


No child of compulsory attendance age can be exempt
from regular attendance at school for the full term unless
he holds a valid certificate of exemption issued by the
County Superintendent. No one but the County Superin-
tendent can issue these certificates. Any such certificate:
of exemption ceases to be valid at the end of the school
year in which it is issued. Only under the following con-
ditions are children entitled to certificates of exemption:

1. Mental or Physical Disability. A certificate for
physical or mental disability may be issued for children
whose mental or physical condition is such as to prevent
or render inadvisable their attendance at school or their
application to study. Before issuing any such certificate
the County Superintendent must require the submission
of a statement from the county health officer or, if there
is no county health officer, from a licensed practicing
physician designated by the County Board, certifying
that the child is physically or mentally incapacitated for
school attendance. (Sec. 606 (1)).


It is made the duty of the County Board to take such
steps as are practicable to provide special instruction for
physically handicapped children who cannot benefit from
instruction in the public schools or who can benefit from
such special instruction. An effort must be made to
secure admission to the Florida State School for the Deaf
and.Blind or some other similar institution of all children
in the county who are deaf and blind. A law enacted by
the 1941 Legislature provides additional instruction units
for the instruction in special classes of physically handi-
capped pupils. The principal of each school is to prepare
a list of such children in his attendance area at the begin-
ning of the school year, and this list can be used as a basis
for planning the special instruction. The State provides
$800 for each such unit authorized even though there
may not be more than ten children involved and provides
a proportionate fraction of $800 for a number smaller
than ten children. (Chapter 20910, Laws of Florida, Acts
of 1941).
2. Distance Exemption. If a child between six and ten
years of age because of lack of public transportation
would be compelled to walk more than three miles by
the nearest travelled route to the school, or to the nearest
publicly maintained school bus route, or if a child eleven
years of age or older for the same reason would be com-
pelled to walk more than four miles by the nearest
travelled route to the nearest publicly maintained school
or nearest bus route, such a child may be given a certifi-
cate of exemption. (Sec. 606 (2)). However, it is made
the duty of the County Board to provide transportation
for all pupils whose homes are more than a reasonable
walking distance from the nearest appropriate school, as
defined by regulations of the State Board (two miles).
(Sec. 801). Also in cases where transportation of pupils
is impracticable the County Board is authorized to take
such other steps for making available educational facili-
ties as are practicable including the provision of limited
subsistence in lieu of transportation. (Sec. 801, also Sec.
423 (10)).
3. EmplGyment Exemption. Children who have
reached the age of fourteen years may be exempt in
special cases of urgent financial need for employment
(this is limited by the child labor law to employment by
their parents in domestic or farm work in their own
homes). (See topic "Employment Certificates").


Best Practices
1. No certificate of exemption should be issued to any child of
compulsory attendance age without a very careful investigation
to determine the necessity. If at all possible some other provi-
sion should be made for the child so that he will have access
to school facilities.
2. If a certificate has to be issued for mental or physical disability,
an effort should be made to have the child placed where he
can have proper training. If the disability is physical, then if
practicable a special class for physically handicapped children
should be organized unless the child is blind or deaf and should
be placed in the State school. If the disability is mental, an
effort should be made to have the child placed in the State
school for mentally handicapped.
3. Under the provisions of the law it should be possible either to
transport all children or to provide subsistence in lieu of trans-
portation and therefore no certificate should be needed in
cases coming under this heading.
4. Before issuing an employment certificate every effort should
be made to work out some other solution to the problem. In
cases of financial need involving children less than fourteen
years of age, the cooperation of the county or other welfare
organization should be sought.

Evidence of date of birth is required:
1. Before any child may be admitted to the first
2. Before the parents of any child fourteen or fifteen
years of age may be given an employment cer-
3. Before a special certificate for employment dur-
ing vacation or out-of-school hours may be issued
to any pupil less than sixteen years of age.
4. Before any age certificate may be issued for chil-
dren sixteen years of age or older.
5. For any child who is believed to be within the
limit of compulsory attendance age.

The law regarding evidence of age is so definite that
guessing regarding the age of a child is eliminated. This
is important as a means of carrying out satisfactorily the
provisions of the attendance law. Unless definite evi-
dence is available, there is always a possibility that a
child or his parents or the employer may misrepresent
the age of the child for one reason or another.


The only evidence of age which is fully acceptable is
a duly attested transcript of the child's birth certificate.
If that is not available then the second evidence of age
may be accepted and if that is not available the third
evidence, and so on. The last evidence of age given below
may be accepted only when none of the other evidences
is available. The order is:
1. Birth Certificate. A duly attested transcript of the
child's birth certificate may be obtained in many cases
from the parent who is expected to have a copy of the
record. If the parent has not received a copy or if it has
been lost, a transcript may be obtained from the bureau
of vital statistics of the state in which the child was born.
This transcript may be obtained without cost for children
born in Florida if the application is made by the County
Superintendent to the Florida State Board of Health on
Form At-22 given below which is the official form ap-
proved by the Board of Education. If this form is not
used a charge will be made for issuing the transcript.

Form At-22 State of Florida
(To be used to secure a statement of the date of birth of the child
from the State or County Bureau of Vital Statistics. Completed
form is to be returned to the County Superintendent whose address
is given below).
...------------------- -- -- -.. .. .........- ...- ---- ... D ate--......-... ........- ..., 19......
(County) (City or P. 0.)
State Board of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Jacksonville, Fla. (if born in Florida, or to the State or County in
which the child claims to have been born).
Verification of the information listed below is requested for ( )
Admission of the child to school, or for the issuance of a ( ) Florida
employment certificate, ( ) special certificate of employment during
vacation or out-of-school hours or ( ) Florida age certificate.
To. -------------------------------Race White ( )
T o .......................... ....... ....... ..... ..... Race W hite ( )
Negro ( )
Sex 1 ( )
F ()
Date of birth..-....-- ------------....--...... Place -------...... -- County-.......-
(Month, day, year)
Father's name..........................-----------Mother's maiden name.................-

(County Superintendent) County (Address) City
(Spaces above this line to be filled out by County Superintendent to
whom the form is to be returned).


1. Records of the--....(State)....Bureau of Vital Statistics show that
the above information is correct ( ), or that
2. The child was born....-----------
(Date of Birth) (Place) (County)
3. A search has been made for the date of the birth of the child
listed above, and no record has been found ( ).

(Name of person in Bureau of Vital
Statistics giving information.)
Prescribed by Florida State Board of Education.
2. Certificate of Baptism. A duly attested transcript
of the certificate of baptism showing the date of birth
and place of baptism of the child accompanied by an
affidavit sworn to by the parent. (See Form At-26 below).
Form At-26 State of Florida
(To be used for a record of evidence of age if no birth certificate is
available. Fill out the preliminary blanks and the blanks in either
A, B, C, or D below).
---------- ----------------------Date--....-..........---.........., 19...
(County) (City or P. 0.)
Child-------------........................................... ----------------Date of Birth...-----.......
(Name) (Address) (Month, Day, Year)
Place of birth-...-------------------------
(City or P. 0.) (County) (State)
Parent or Guardian.... ----- ------ ------------
(Name) (Address)
Kind of document:
(See A, B, C, or D below) ------.- Date of Original Issue.... .
A. If record of baptism or confirmation is offered, it must be accom-
panied by parent's affidavit of age (See Section 603 (2) and
Form At-22 par............---).
Give-------... ------------------------------------------
(Name of Church) (Place of Ceremony)
Name and title of person officiating .... ------------...................
B. If an insurance policy, passport, etc., check: Insurance policy ( )
passport ( ) and give:
Place of issuance.... ----------- -------------
(City, State) (Length of time in existence)
Company....--.-------------- ------------------------
(Number or other identifying information)
C. If Bible record is offered, it must be accompanied by parent's
affidavit of age (See Section 603 (4), Florida School Laws and
Form At-22 par.).
(Name of person presenting Bible) (Name of person owning Bible)
D. Passport or certificate of arrival. Date issued....-------------
This form prepared by.... ---------------
Position ----------------------------------
Prescribed by State Board of Education.


3. Insurance Policy. An insurance policy on the
child's life which has been in force at least two years.
(See Form At-26).
4. Bible Record. A bona fide contemporary Bible
record of the child's birth accompanied by an affidavit
sworn to by the parent. (See Form At-26).
5. Passport. A sworn passport or certificate of ar-
rival in the United States showing the age of the child.
(See Form At-26).
6. School Record. A transcript of the record of age
shown in the child's school record of at least four years
prior to the application stating the date of birth.
For providing this information regarding the school
record Form At-24p approved by the State Board of
Education is to be used. The form is given below:

Form At-24p State of Florida
(To be issued by principal or head teacher of the school last attended
by the minor named in the certificate).
--..--- ...... .... .......-- ........- .. Date....-....- .---- 19 ....
(County) (City or P. 0.)
This certifies that the register of attendance of....------...-....-
(Name of School)
contains the record of attendance of ...........--........ ..--..............-..----, child of
-----............---.......--... -----------....------.--.---...----------. and
(Name of parent or guardian) (Address of parent or guardian)
shows that the age of the minor on ....------------..-------------..--......or
(Date of entrance of first school attendance)
---- ------ ---.... was........ years, ....-... months.
(Date of the earliest school census recorded)
Exact date of the child's birth as shown by records of school is
.......----- -- ...and it is my belief that this record shows the
(Month, day and year)
correct age of the child.
The records show that he ( ) has ) completed the work of
she ( ) has not
the eighth grade or its equivalent.

(Signature of principal or teacher in charge)

(City or school)
Prescribed by State Board of Education.


7. Affidavit and Certificate of Age. Only if none of
the above evidences of age is available can an Affidavit
of Age sworn to by the parent (Form At-22par) accom-
panied by a certificate of age signed and approved by a
physician be accepted. (Form At-23). These forms to
be used for evidence of age as approved by the State
Board of Education are given below:

Form At-22 par.
(For use if no birth certificate or other satisfactory documentary
proof of age is available).
...--.---.... .-- ... (County)
--- ---... (City or P. 0.) Date.........-....................-------------,19 -.--..
I hereby swear that I am the.....----.......--. --------..................... of....
(Parent, Guardian or custodian) (Name and
-----------------.-., a child of --.....---------------------------......... and
Address of Minor) (Father's full name)
..........................-------------. who was born in ..-
(Mother's Maiden name) (City, county, state)
on the date of-.....-.......-------......--------.......... making the correct age of the
(Day, month, year)
child now -..-......--------.......-........and that I do not possess and am unable to
(Years, months)
secure a birth certificate or other satisfactory documentary proof of
age of this child as prescribed by law.
SEAL (Signature of parent, guardian or custodian)
Date....---- ------ ----- ------ ------
(Signature of Notary)
(The above statement must be signed and sworn to in the presence
of an officer having seal and authority to administer oaths).
Prescribed by State Board of Education.

Form At-23 State of Florida
To be issued by a public health officer or by a school physician, or if
neither of these are available in the county, by a licensed physician
designated by the County Board. This certificate shall be presented
to the County Superintendent and should be kept on file in his office
as substantiating evidence for issuance of a certificate. (The exami-
nation is to be made by a public health officer, public school physician
or if neither is available, a physician designated by the County
-- .......... ....... Date ........-------.------- .......... 19 ...
(County) (City or P. 0.)
I certify that I have examined--------......------.----who has applied for
(Name) is (
a certificate to work as-----..............-----------... In my opinion he is not (
of sound health, is............years of age, and may ( ) undertake
the work without injury to his health.



Nor- Abnor- Specify Nor- Abnor- Specify
mal mal Defect I mal mal Defect
Nutrition Nervous System
Skin Posture I [ I
Eyes & Sight Skeletal Cond. I |
Ears & Hearing I | Others I I
Nose Height: Ft. In. Weight: Pounds
Throat I 28 permanent teeth erupted* Yes: No:
Teeth I I Secondary sex characteristics present:
Heart ___Yes: No:
Lungs I I *If not, age should be recorded as less
Abdomen than 16

Has the child evidences of:
1. Heart disease:........... 2. Pulmonary Tuberculosis..----.....
(Yes or no) (Yes or no)
3. Syphilis:...........---- 4. Gonorrhea: --------. 5. Hernia:...----....
(Yes or no) (Yes or no) (Yes or no)
6. Vaccination for smallpox---....... 7. Are there any other
(Yes or no)
evidences of symptoms that would disqualify him? .............. If so,
(Yes or no)
specify: .... ...------- .............................----------------
------------------------------------- M. D.

(Official position of physician)
Prescribed by State Board of Health and State Board of Education.

Best Practices
1. All parents who have children eligible to enter the first grade
should be informed sometime in advance of the opening of
school of the need for a birth certificate or other evidence of
age. This might well be done by the principals of the various
schools before school closes in the spring or at a special regis-
tration day. Plans can thus be made to have the evidence
available at the time school opens in the fall.
2. Parents should also be informed that a birth certificate is
necessary before any certificate of exemption can be issued
so that there will be a minimum of delay in issuing the cer-
3. All reasonable efforts should be made to obtain birth certifi-
cates or transcripts of birth certificates. If it is necessary to
send to the State Bureau of Vital Statistics an allowance of
nearly a month should be made.
4. If every reasonable effort has been made to obtain a birth
certificate without results, then another evidence may be
accepted but only in the order given above.


5. When necessary, children may be admitted to school or issued
temporary certificates on the basis of other evidence of age
than a transcript of a birth certificate with the understanding
that when the birth certificate becomes available the evidence
provided by the transcript will be accepted. Care should be
taken to avoid exercising any undue hardship on the parents
or making any unreasonable demands other than those re-
quired to meet the provisions of law'. On the other hand, care
should be taken to avoid accepting too readily unsatisfactory
evidences of age when other evidences might be obtained.

(Form At-20s-green in color)
In a previous chapter attention was given to the admin-
istration of employment certificates from the point of
view of child labor. This topic devotes attention primarily
to the procedure to be used by school officials in adminis-
tering and issuing employment certificates and in seeing
that they are properly used. Some of the provisions of
the School Code relating to the issuance of employment
certificates have now been superseded by more specific
provisions of the child labor act. However, the basic pro-
cedure in issuing such certificates has not been changed,
but conditions under which they may be issued have be-
come more limited. Under the child labor act the only
employer to whom such a certificate may be issued is the
parent or guardian. The child labor law provides that
this certificate may be used only in cases where the parent
or guardian has to have the child to help him with farm
work or in the home.

Conditions to be Met
The child accompanied by his parents must appear
before the principal, the attendance assistant who is to
make the recommendation or the County Superintendent.
Parent's Statement. The School Code provides sep-
arately for a statement by the parent and one by the
employer. Under the provisions of the child labor act
these are now one because the parent is to be the em-
ployer, therefore, only one statement is necessary. This
statement is to be filed on Form At-21par approved by
the State Board a copy of which is reproduced below.
The primary emphasis on this form is placed on need.
(Sec. 607 [2]).


Form At-21par State of Florida
-------..-----.--.----- --- (County)
-- -- ---..(City or P.O.) Date.......-----.......--........ 19....
This is to certify that I am the gparn () of
guardian ( )----------------------------
a child .......-------- years of age and that for the following reasons it is
necessary that he be employed by me in domestic or farm work in
order to help provide for the necessary support and maintenance of
my family: (State reasons on the following lines)..-------

The present total income for the support and maintenance of the
family of ----............ persons is only $.........---... per month, and is derived
from the following sources: (List separately the names and income
of each other member of the family).... --------------

Signed-- ---------
( ) Approved (Parent or Guardian)
( ) Disapproved for the following reasons:.. --------------

(County Superintendent)
Date...........---...........................--------------,19 --..
Prescribed by State Board of Education

Statement of Principal. In addition to this statement
the principal must certify on Form At-24p that the child
has completed the eighth grade or its equivalent. The
statement is to give the age and date of birth of the child
as shown by records of the school. The statement is also
to be signed by the principal of the school the child last
attended. If such a statement cannot be obtained, the
County Superintendent is authorized to examine the
child to determine whether he meets the required educa-
tional standards. (Sec. 607 [4]).
Health Certificate. A health certificate properly
signed by a physician is also required. This is to be sub-
mitted on Form At-23 reproduced on page 75.
Evidence of Age. Evidence of age must be submitted
in accordance with the procedure described in the topic

Issuing Authority
The County Superintendent is the only person desig-
nated to issue an employment certificate. However, per-


sons seeking an employment certificate may appear
before the principal of the school the child is attending
or before an attendance assistant who may assemble all
of the evidence and make the recommendation to the
County Superintendent. It is expected that a careful
investigation will be made to determine whether some
plan may not be worked out so that the child can remain
in school and to determine whether the child is seriously
needed at home as indicated by a statement of the
Issuing the Certificate
If the case is found to justify the issuance of a certifi-
cate, the employment certificate may be issued in tripli-
cate by the County Superintendent. The certificate must
be signed by the child and his parent and approved by
the County Superintendent. One copy goes to the parent,
one copy must be sent to the State Labor Inspector within
ten days in care of the State Superintendent of Public
Instruction and the third copy is retained for the files of
the County Superintendent. The certificate is valid only
during the year in which it is issued and if the parent
ceases to need the child, the certificate must be returned
and the child must also return to school.
Determining Whether Certificate Properly Used
It is important for the attendance assistant or County
Superintendent to follow up carefully each case in which
an employment certificate has been issued. After a child
has been out of school for several months, he might not
want to return to school because of loss of interest. If
employment ceases, however, steps should be taken to
see that the child returns promptly to school unless he
has reached 16 years of age. If the certificate has been
issued to a 14 year old child and the need still continues
the next year, and the child must stay out of school, a
new certificate must be issued for that child.

(Form At-25s-pink in color)
This certificate is not directly required by the School
Code but is required under the provisions of the Child
Labor Act for any child under 16 years of age who is
employed during vacation or out-of-school hours except


a child engaged in domestic or farm work or in street
trades or as a bootblack. The procedure for issuing the
special certificate of employment during vacation or out-
of-school hours is simpler than that required for issuing
an employment certificate. This special certificate may
be issued by the County Superintendent, by the attend-
ance assistant or by a principal authorized by the County
Superintendent in writing to do so.

Conditions to be Met
There are three steps necessary for issuing these spe-
cial certificates:
1. The first step is to establish evidence of age and
this must be done as prescribed in the topic above devoted
to that subject.
2. There must be a promise of employment filed by
the prospective employer. This must be filed on Form At-
25emp, a copy of which is given below. This has been
approved by the State Board of Education. A certificate
cannot be issued without this promise of employment.

Form At-25emp State of Florida
(Information to be furnished the County Superintendent before
special certificate of employment can be issued.)
---------------------------Date------ ., 19 ..-
(County) (City or P. 0.)
The undersigned intends to employ the minor named below imme-
diately upon receipt of a certificate issued by the County Superin-

(Name of Minor) (Address of Minor)
in the capacity of ........ ........ .......--.......... ........-.....
(Industry) (Specific Occupation)

(Name of Employer) (Business Address)
for........days per week, ----.......hours per day beginning-........a.m. and

(Signature of employer or authorized agent)
Prescribed by the State Board of Education

3. A health certificate is required to be filed on Form
At-23 which is given on page 75.


Issuing the Certificate
The child who is applying for this type of certificate
should be given necessary instructions and copies of each
of the forms. These instructions can be prepared in mim-
eograph form somewhat as outlined below. When the
child has returned with the forms properly filled out, the
certificate can then be issued if it is justified.
Instructions for Applying for a Special Certificate of Employment
During Vacation or Out-of-School Hours
1. This certificate is not required for employment in domestic
or farm work, in street trades or in shoe shining.
2. The certificate is valid only for the period during which you
are employed and not after the opening of the next school year.
It must be surrendered if you give up your employment.
3. To obtain a certificate, it is necessary that you give evidence
of your age, using for that purpose a birth certificate if possible.
If you cannot obtain a birth certificate, other documentary evi-
dence will be required.
4. You must have Form At-25emp prepared by your employer
and Form At-23 filled out by your physician.
Before the certificate is issued it must be signed by the
parent or guardian, by the minor himself, and must also
be approved by the issuing officer. Care must be exer-
cised to see that all blanks in the certificate are filled in
properly. The certificate issuing officer should deter-
mine whether the employment promised the child is per-
missible for children of his age under provisions of the
child labor law. If it is not, the certificate cannot be
issued. The certificate is issued in triplicate, one copy to
be mailed to the employer, one copy to be mailed to the
State Labor Inspector in care of the State Superintendent
and one copy kept in the files of the County Superin-
Best Practices
1. A careful and continuing study should be made of the school
progress of each child to whom a special certificate for em-
ployment during out-of-school hours is granted. If progress is un-
favorable, efforts should be made to bring about adjustments
if necessary by persuading the child to discontinue the work.
2. The present laws permit children to begin work as early as
3 o'clock in the morning. This is an unfortunate provision
and an effort should be made through employers and otherwise
to prevent employment of children who have to begin work
much before daylight. If children begin work too early they
are almost certain to be sleepy at school and that will handi-
cap their progress.


3. The issuing officer has a right to revoke any certificate which
is being improperly used and if the employment is not as
described on the employment blank. The certificate should be
revoked in such cases and particularly in cases where the
school work is handicapped, unless there is a situation of
extreme need.
4. All violations and irregularities involving the provisions of the
child labor law should be reported promptly to the State Child
Labor Inspector.

(Form At-30s-canary in color)
The issuance of age certificates for children who have
reached 16 years of age is authorized by the School Code
and is made the duty of the County Superintendent, the
attendance assistant or a principal authorized in writing
by the County Superintendent to issue such certificates
upon application and presentation of proper evidence.
The age certificate is required for all children between
16 and 18 years of age, both by the State child labor law
and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act except as ex-
plained in a previous chapter.

Issuing the Certificate
The procedure to be used in issuing the certificate
should be as follows: First, evidence of age must be sub-
mitted as described in the topic dealing with that sub-
ject. Second, the promise of employment form properly
prepared must be submitted. (Form At-25emp). These
are the only two steps required in issuing an age certifi-
cate. However, since an age certificate is not valid for
certain occupations, it becomes the duty of the issuing
officer to determine whether the employment promised
is within the provisions of the Federal and State child
labor acts. If not, the certificate should not be issued.
The certificate is valid only during the duration of the
employment and must be returned when the employment
is completed unless the child in the meantime has reached
18 years of age. A new certificate is required for any
change in employment. This certificate is required to be
signed by the minor, but not by his parent as in the case
of the other two certificates. It is to be issued in tripli-
cate, one copy to be mailed to the employer, one copy to
be mailed to the State Labor Inspector in care of the State
Superintendent and the third copy to be retained in the
files of the County Superintendent.


The regulations of the State Board provide that:
"1. In compliance with Section 608 of the Florida School Laws,
the County Superintendent of any of the various counties of
the State or an attendance assistant or principal authorized in
writing by him to do so, shall issue an age certificate to any
minor sixteen or more years of age, provided the minor makes
application in person to the County Superintendent, or an at-
tendance assistant or principal of a school authorized by the
County Superintendent in writing to issue age certificates sub-
mitting (a) proof of age as provided for in Section 603(1-7)
for issuance of an employment certificate under the School
Laws of Florida, and (b) furnishes a statement (Form
At-25emp) signed by his prospective employer that he will be
given employment upon obtaining an age certificate.
"2. The County Superintendent shall upon receipt of proper
proof of age and prospective employment of the minor, issue
an age certificate on Form At-30s in triplicate, one copy to be
mailed to the employer (not sent by the minor), one copy to
be mailed to the State Labor Inspector in care of the State
Superintendent, and the third copy to be retained in the files
of the County Superintendent."

Best Practices
1. Every effort should be made before issuing an age certificate
to adjust the school program to the needs of the child. In
case of each individual application the principal should deter-
mine whether further adjustments can be made to interest the
child in remaining in school. If the child is determined to
leave school, has a promise of employment, and has reached
16 years of age, the principal cannot refuse to issue the
2. All abuses should be promptly determined and reported at
once to the State Labor Inspector. The certificate should be
revoked if it is being improperly used.

Part III

Program for Improving Attendance Service

A county program of attendance service is not simply
a matter of depending on the various principals and
teachers to carry out the provisions of the law. An ef-
fective program will have to be carefully planned and
this planning will require the participation of many per-
sons over a period of time. The program must be suffi-
ciently comprehensive to give a clear cut picture of all
relationships and responsibilities and of the procedures
which are to be used in putting the plan into operation.

The exact plan of organization for attendance service
will, of course, vary somewhat from county to county.
However, the basic provisions of law are the same for
all counties and the same basic principles must necessar-
ily be incorporated in any satisfactory program of at-
tendance service. It is important that the plan of organi-
zation and the legal or assigned responsibilities of each
group of officials or individuals be clearly understood
in each county.

Responsibilities of the County Board
The County Board is elected by the people of the coun-
ty to determine policies covering all phases of the school
program. The various responsibilities of the County
Board are fully discussed in the Handbook for County
School Board Members in Florida (Bulletin No. 17). The
County Board is not an executive or administrative body
but is expected to determine the policies which should be
carried out and to see that those policies are put into
effect. In the field of school attendance service, there-
fore, the County Board is the basic policy determining
body. It is the agency in the county basically responsible
for seeing that a satisfactory school attendance program
is developed and that the attendance laws are observed.
The School Law makes it the duty of the County Board:


"To provide for the proper accounting of all children of school
age, for the attendance and control of pupils at school . and
other matters relating to the welfare of children . to provide
for an active school census of the children of the county as a
basis for determining children who should attend school and for
enforcing compulsory school attendance laws... to provide
for the enforcement of all laws and regulations relating to the
attendance of pupils at school and for employing such assistants
through the County Superintndent as may be needed to enforce
effectively these laws." (Sec. 423 [8]).
The County Board is also responsible for prescribing
such forms and requiring such reports as may be found
necessary to supplement those prescribed by the State
Board. Sec. 423 (14).
No Board member as an individual has any duties or
responsibilities in the field of school attendance. It is
the Board acting as a body which exercises the basic re-
sponsibilities as outlined above.

Duties of the County Superintendent
The County Superintendent is the secretary and execu-
tive officer of the County Board. His duties and respon-
sibilities are quite fully set forth in the Handbook for
County Superintendents in Florida (Bulletin No. 19).
The law contemplates that the County Superintendent
will be responsible for assuming leadership in the field
of school attendance service. It is made his duty:
"To recommend plans to the County Board for proper account-
ing of all children of school age for the attendance and control
of pupils at school .. and other matters which will best pro-
mote the welfare of children . to keep an accurate census of
the children of the county and to make such reports thereon
as may be required ... to recommend plans and procedures for
the enforcement of all laws and regulations relating to the
attendance of pupils at school and for the employment of such
qualified attendance assistants as may be needed by him to
enforce effectively these laws." (Sec. 433[8]).
Section 616 provides that:
"The County Superintendent shall be responsible for enforcing
the provisions of this article (relating to employment and at-
tendance service). In the county in which no attendance as-
sistant is employed, the County Superintendent shall have those
duties and responsibilities and exercise those powers assigned
by the provisions of this article to an attendance assistant."
The County Superintendent thus has the basic responsi-
bility for making proper recommendations for the or-
ganization and for the execution of a satisfactory at-


tendance program. He may delegate much of this re-
sponsibility to an attendance assistant, but he cannot
delegate the responsibility for seeing that a qualified
person is recommended and for seeing that the person
appointed executes effectively not only the provisions
of the law, but all other steps necessary to carry out the
program. There are certain responsibilities that cannot
be delegated by the County Superintendent such as the
responsibility for signing employment certificates (Sec.
607), and other certificates of exemption (Sec. 606),
and the responsibility for exercising the necessary lead-
ership to see that the program is put into operation.
Attendance Assistant and Attendance Department
The law recognizes the desirability of a qualified at-
tendance assistant in each county. The larger counties
will not only have an attendance assistant, but will have
a definite attendance department with several members
of the staff to carry out the necessary duties. If there is
such an assistant or department many of the duties which
would otherwise devolve upon the County Superintend-
ent and principal can be assumed and carried out ef-
fectively in that department. The ensuing' chapter is
devoted to a more detailed discussion of the work of the
attendance assistant or attendance department.
Principals and Teachers
The principal or teacher in charge of the school is
responsible for the control of all pupils assigned to the
school. (Sec. 625) This means that the principal and
teachers have the basic responsibility for seeing that
pupils assigned to the school either enroll in school and
attend regularly or are properly accounted for. Any
problems which cannot be solved by the principal and
teachers are to be taken up with the County Superin-
tendent or with the attendance department. Principals
and teachers are, therefore, responsible for the attend-
ance program of the school in which they are serving.
The county program of attendance service is, in real-
ity, comprised of a series of closely related programs
each of which deals with some specific phase of the sub-
ject. Three basic steps are involved in developing any
comprehensive county program of attendance service,
but each of these steps will require a great many more
detailed steps.


Basic Steps. The three basic steps are:
1. Preparing a list of best practices covering all as-
pects of the field of attendance service. This list of best
practices might well be prepared in written form in such
a manner that the statement would comprise the ob-
jectives in each aspect of the field of attendance service.
2. Carrying on a study or survey to determine at least
the following concerning the various phases of school
attendance: (a) Trends, (b) Attitude and (c) Present
Status. The results of this study may to some extent be
expressed objectively in terms of facts and figures.
Such a study should be carried out for each school or
community in the county and then summarized for the
entire county. Before determining what steps are prac-
ticable it is necessary to determine the present status in
order to have some idea of how much progress is pos-
sible in specific areas without getting too far away from
the present situation in too short a time. If the steps
proposed are too far in advance of the present status,
the entire program may fail.
3. Developing a series of next steps which, if taken
together, will constitute a program or plan for progress-
ing from the conditions found at the time of the study
toward the objective. The next step in many cases may
be only slightly in advance of the present status and may
still be far removed from the ultimate objective. How-
ever, any step which is in advance of present practice
and which opens the way for further progress toward
the ultimate objective is a desirable part of the program.
It is necessary to realize, of course, that the develop-
ment of a county program of attendance service is a
continuing process. The entire program cannot be pre-
pared at one time and then kept in that exact form until
it has been attained. The first step toward the prepara-
tion of a program should go as far as practicable in the
direction of outlining what is considered the best pro-
gram possible. However, further study and new devel-
opments will always open the possibility of making im-
provements in the original plan. The preparation of an
attendance program for a county, therefore, is a process
of continuous planning and then making such revisions
and improvements in the plan as are found desirable.
In addition to the basic steps outlined above there
are two other series of steps which will need be taken


in preparing the program. The first has to do with a
definition of specific areas in which studies and pro-
posals are to be made and may in part precede, and in
part accompany, the taking of the basic steps outlined
Specific Areas for Attention. Some of the specific areas
which should be singled out for attention are as follows:
1. School Census, including not only problems of
taking the census but plans for using most effective-
ly the census information.
2. Plans for preparing lists of eligible children, de-
termining how these may best be prepared for each
school and how they may be used most effectively
after they are once available.
3. Plans for checking absentees in each school, for de-
termining the causes of absence and for following
up those cases which need special study.
4. The procedure for determining when employment
and other certificates should be issued, for issuing
certificates, for following up to determine whether
certificates are properly used, etc.
Definition of Functions and Services. The second series
of steps has to do with the definition of functions and
services. At least the following would be included:
1. Determine which services must be rendered by the
the County Superintendent, which by the attend-
ance assistant if there is one, and which by the in-
dividual schools. There should probably be a writ-
ten statement setting forth functions and services
and at the same time showing relationships and
means of cooperation.
2. Determine what agencies can most effectively co-
operate in carrying out the attendance program and
outline plans for assuring the necessary coopera-
tion. Again a definite statement of functions,
responsibilities and possibilities for cooperation
should be prepared.
3. Determine how the objectives and requirements of
the attendance program can best be interpreted
and outlined procedures for making such inter-
pretations as are needed.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs