I hate attendance rules. This week, I took my kid into the urgent care doctor on Sunday for a fever and a cough.   The doctor wrote me a note that said “can return to school after fever is under 100 for 24 hours,” and I assumed that was good enough to excuse her absences since I followed those rules. And also because it means she wouldn’t be contagious. It wasn’t. She is going to have to “make up” a day in Saturday school if she doesn’t get a note from the doctor excusing her.    sick kid school   It doesn’t matter that she did all her homework while she was sick at home. It doesn’t matter that she’s making straight A’s. It doesn’t matter that she is literally going to sit up there on a Saturday doing nothing but playing on her phone. They just want her body in the chair.    I think this all started with the ridiculous of the perfect attendance award. 

An award for perfect attendance is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of

“Congratulations. You came to school even when you had the flu and gave it to everyone within a twelve door radius. Here’s a certificate.”

  sick kid school  

Are you kidding me with that nonsense? Nobody should be awarded for coming to school sick. Sick kids should be at home!

Parents don’t have a choice though. It’s like they can’t decide for themselves if their kid is too sick to be in school, or if they need to stay home, because if you don’t send your kid to school a truancy officer is going to show up at your house.  sick kid school   What even is that? A truancy officer? How did that become a thing? I mean, I get it– schools want kids there because that’s how they get money from the state. Yes, this is an actual thing. School districts get paid per student in attendance each day. This is their incentive to make your sick kid come to school.    sick kid school   This is why attendance parties exist. This is why kids are made to feel guilty if they don’t show up to school every single day, and this is why teachers are so reluctant to just give makeup work.  It sucks. It really does. One of the worst things about this rule isn’t even necessarily when your kids are sick. Why is it that, if a kid gets all their work done, they aren’t allowed to go on a family vacation?   sick kid school   I mean, let’s get real. What’s it really going to hurt for a kid to do their school work one week from Bermuda instead of in a classroom?  These rules are so ridiculous. I like public school. A lot. I like the diversity my daughter gets to be a part of each day, and  I love that she gets to learn a little more about the real world than she would if she were homeschooled or in private school.    sick kid school   Last year, my daughter had surgery. The note the hospital wrote her said that she could go to school when she was off her narcotics. She was out for a week, because this is how long she needed her pain meds. When I took her back into school, they told me that note wasn’t good enough.  “What do you mean? I brought her in 24 hours after she stopped her narcotics. Like the note said to do.” “How can we know you actually did that?” The attendance secretary asked me.    sick kid school   “Oh I don’t know–because I wasn’t sitting at home plotting some sort of evil plan to keep my daughter home longer than she needed to be?” Is what I should have said. Instead I spent the next hour and a half getting a note from the hospital with the correct dates on it.  This is ridiculous. This is the reason we have flu epidemics in school. And it has to stop. Just let sick kids be sick kids. Let them stay home until they are better.    sick kid school     And please, for the love of all that is pink erasers and pencil sharpeners, don’t tell me how to parent my kid. 

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  1. I completely & wholeheartedly agree with Mandy! The excused absence requirement is simple: Present wriiten/typed/preformatted documentation detailing the reason for the absence, the beginning and return dates of said absence. Truancy officers only show up when absences accumulate consecutively over an extended length of time. Parents are notified and required to present documentation for the absences. If unable, a court summons is issued to address the matter which is deemed negligent in court.

  2. Ok, as a teacher I have a few issues with this post. 1) I don’t know where your kid goes to school but for the love of all things holy, don’t send your kid to school sick. They should be at home resting. In my district your child gets 10 days a year of excused absences, that should more than cover the flu or surgery. And, if your kid is out sick I don’t know any teachers who won’t give make up work. 2) we have attendance awards because showing up matters. This is also issue number 3. Your child misses A LOT by not being at school. You are probably a great parent who makes sure her kid does her work, but you still aren’t a teacher. If students could successfully understand and complete their work on their own teaching wouldn’t be a profession. Especially one that requires six years of college, a year and a half to two years of training, and two years of practice before you have a professional credential (I am in California and those are the requirements here.) That is the difference between doing your work for a week on the beach or being present in a classroom, a highly trained teacher. The previous poster hit the two points of funding and state testing. I know what your kid needs to know to face that end of the year test successfully, do you? That is not meant antagonistically. It isn’t your job to know, it is mine.
    I don’t get the sense that you are keeping your kid home unnecessarily but schools have laws they have to abide by. We have to properly document absences for the state because yes, our funding is tied to it. I am sorry if it’s inconvenient for you, we hate to send you back to get proper documentation, but it is part of what funds the educational experience you want to provide your child.

  3. The reason that children are being forced to come to school sick is for two reasons. First reason they have a test that they have to pass at the end of the year. If they don’t pass they run a risk of losing their electives or being held back. Nobody wants that. The other reason is because our underfunded public schools are paid per student per day. If a student body is not in the chair during the accounting period that they have, then the school loses a set amount of money per child. Schools should be funded based on enrollment not on attendance, but that is not how the state sees it.