Thursday, May 02, 2013


This school year has been a tough one around chez hok health wise.

Thanks to knee surgery and strep, Ella missed so much school in the fall that we got threatening letters from the school district telling us she'd have to repeat 6th grade. I appealed to the principal and the attendance committee, pointing out that we had informed the school in advance of her knee surgery and had worked with her teachers to make sure she stayed current on her work. As for the strep, we had a note from our doctor saying she was sick and not allowed to go to school. Oh yeah, and she's a straight-A student.

A week later we got a letter from the principal informing us that they had wiped all of Ella's absences from her record and everything was fine.

So when I got a letter from Lily's school about her absences, I figured we'd go through the same process. Lily has been sick a lot this school year, and she has missed a lot of days as a result. But I've kept in touch with her teacher, and she has stayed current on her work. She's also a straight-A student.

All this is to say that when my kids stay home from school it's with my permission and because they are sick. They aren't skipping school to hang out behind the 7-11 and smoke. When I get a recorded message from the school informing me of their absence, it's never a surprise.

I spoke with the assistant principal at Lily's school about appealing the attendance committee's decision to deny her credit for the school year, and I explained that she really had been ill. I also pointed out that she hasn't fallen behind in her classwork. The assistant principal said she would present my comments to the attendance committee and inform me in writing of their decision.

Frustratingly, their decision was to make Lily and one of her parents (me) attend credit recovery class for 6 mornings. This means she and I have to be at school by 7:05 and then have to sit in the library doing busy work until 7:40. Lily finished her entire packet of worksheets on her first morning, so today she and I both just sat and read.

I get that there are families for whom school is not a priority. I get that there are kids who will skip school given the opportunity. I get that schools receive funding based on the number of students in the seats at 10:00 am each day.

But I also get that Lily is essentially being punished for being sick, and I am being punished for following the district's illness policy.

The result is that for the next two weeks, Lily and I will hang out in the library being bored, and for the rest of school year, I will be sending Lily to school no matter how high a fever she has or how much she's barfing. I am going to be the mom who sends her sick kid to school to infect everyone else. Yay me. But that's apparently what the attendance committee wants.


knittergran said...

Take knitting with you!

Unknown said...

stupid rules that don't allow for exceptions are stupid. stupid.

donna said...

That's bureaucracy for you. Conflicting rules making compliance impossible. I think most schools and teachers have kids best interests at heart but they are hogtied by bureaucracy. Sounds a lot like how most government work!

Unknown said...

Can you call in sick for the credit recovery classes? Or bribe the teacher with coffee to mark you in? This is completely silly.

Ann in NJ said...

I agree with Donna. We're having a similar issue at our high school - they tightened the attendance policy because kids were skipping a lot of days to attend college fairs and visits, and there was a perception that the policy was being abused. Now there's a concern that kids are not going to enough college info sessions because they're afraid of losing credit. There are always going to be kids and parents that abuse the policy, and the right answer, which is a review upon appeal, sometimes slams the wrong parents, like you. I don't get the before school attendance sessions, though. If she's up-to-date in her classes, what point is there?

Runner Dude said...

Remember, common sense is not common - especially when it comes to rules.

ckh said...

It's about the money. They only get their funding if the kid is present.

You could send your kids to school and if they don't feel well, tell them to ask to see the principal for some comfort and perhaps a nap in their office.

Susan said...

I agree - the people who take advantage really screw it up for everyone else. So sorry for your "incarceration."

rebecca said...

That's appalling. I wrote a long thing in solidarity but accidentally deleted it trying to edit it and now I'm distracted by the fact that the captcha is my name and I have performance anxiety about typing it wrong and being expelled from the internet.

I may have had too much caffeine today.

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