I know we've all had situations with students who seem to have a solid number of excuses not to be in class or get work done. However, for the most part, it will be only once or twice a semester that I have to deal with any single student for which I'm normally happy to give them the benefit of the doubt with even a modicum of forewarning or evidence of reason (doctor's note, etc).
But I'm pretty much at my wit's end with a student this semester and I'm not entirely how I should deal with it. The student has missed close to half of class meetings and missed so far both of the exams given so far this semester. They have had excuses of one sort or another for each absence, but the diversity of them rivals anything Lemony Snicket could hope to write. But all of them fall within our departmental policy for excused absences so I have to work with the student. I'll spare details (also for FERPA concerns), but the extra work load it's resulted in has absolutely not been welcome give I'm on a large overload this semester.
When it comes to excused/justified absences, just how many is too many? And how can one best handle it given departmental or institutional policies that force instructors' hands to be lenient even for cases where, really, a student ought to have withdrawn if they're having so many problems?