Letter to my Daughter’s Principal

Mr. K,

My daughter is in attendance today, even though she is ill and should be home in bed and drinking fluids. She choose to attend school because she doesn’t want an unexcused on her records or transcripts.

Last week I had the same thing and was able to take a day of sick leave. This allowed me to stay in bed, rest, and drink plenty of fluids so that I began to feel better faster. Kristen on the other hand does not have that option as you have changed the policy so that all absences are considered unexcused. Instead of getting better, she is at school, coughing and sneezing on her classmates, teachers, and other staff that she comes across. This will help to spread the virus making even more people ill. You can also figure that not much learning is taking place as she doesn’t feel well and will be trying to just make it through the day, and will not be able to concentrate on what is being taught.

If you look at the Department of Education’s Attendance Policies- Key Points to Remember, (as recorded in the September 2014 School Leader Update) under Discipline and Attendance, point 6 “Students should not be subject to sanctions for failure to attend school if lack of attendance is beyond the control of the student. Some absences should be excused without disciplinary penalty. Illness, school-sponsored trips, or “unavoidable” occurrences (court appearances or other legal obligations, bereavement, family emergencies, etc.) would be examples of excused absences. It is also reasonable to require a doctor’s verification of the illness in some circumstances. It is not reasonable to do so in every case since to do so may create a hardship on families with limited or no insurance or families with working parents.”

I realize that the school can determine what is excused and unexcused, but surely a sick student should be excused. Kristen has good attendance, rarely missing more than a day or two a year, which tells you that she is not trying to avoid school. When she does stay home it is because we as her parents have determined that she is too ill to attend.

Please consider changing this policy back to the way it was before this year. By doing this you will be benefiting many students and others throughout the school year.

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9 thoughts on “Letter to my Daughter’s Principal

  1. It’s always a shame when the actions of a few cause rules and regulations which make things more difficult or ridiculous for the group at large. I would be interested in how the principal, etc., is backing up its decision to consider all absences unexcused. So very sad.

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  2. Ugh. I’m sorry that your daughter (and you as a mom) have to deal with this. I’m curious, was there any kind of forewarning before this policy was changed? Usually, the process here grinds along, but we can at least have a bit of a say before things change (not how we want it)! 😦

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  3. Yikes, this is nuts! As usual policies that are put in place to discourage those that don’t usually follow rules only hurt the ones that do. So annoying!

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  4. We learned to let go of that red unexcused box years ago. Our district policy says that students are allowed up to 10 before there are any consequences. So we work to stay under the 10. I am a responsible parent who can make informed decisions for my children. I should be able to call my child in sick when he or she is sick. That unexcused rule is a necessity that should be taken for what it’s worth. Every district has to have that rule, but underneath they also know life happens. Keep her home, be unexcused and enjoy a day of much needed rest.

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