Friday, February 20, 2015

Attendance Policies: A Venting Post

Yesterday my kid was sick.

Okay, not very sick.  A slight fever, a sore throat, body aches.

The sort of thing my mom kept me home from school for, in case it might be flu or strep or something contagious, because why take chances, not just with your kid's health, but with the health of the herd?

It's a difficult call to make with my kid's school, though, because she only gets five absent days per year.  If she misses more than that, we run into trouble with school administration.  (The penalties that accrue range from in-school suspension up to failure to failure to be promoted to the next grade, depending on how many absences we're talking.)

Now I entirely understand the reasoning here, believe me.  We want kids in school, and we don't want parents (and kids) taking days off for random and frivolous reasons.

On the other hand, holy hell, kids do get sick. And they also need to visit dentists, doctors, and opticians.  (Yeah, medical visits also have to come out of those five days.) Leaving me with the choice of sending my (possibly) sick kid to school, or keeping her home and burning a sick day -- which we might need later -- just not cool.


Bardiac said...

That sounds like a stupid policy. What happens if a kid gets something moderately serious, say chicken pox, the flu (the real flu, not a 24 hour bug). Those can EASILY last a whole school week, and suddenly, anything else is over the limit.

delagar said...

Exactly. It's a *terrible* policy.

There's some leeway for serious medical conditions -- there's a process by you can get exemptions if you have written documentation from hospitals or clinics -- but for just something like yesterday, when she wasn't (quite) sick enough to take into the clinic, well, you're just out of luck.

delagar said...

And -- obviously -- I could just take her to the clinic *anyway,* and get the documentation.

Except (a) that's a $40 co-pay, so I'm reluctant to take her in anyway, unless she's truly, actually, obviously sick and (b) frequently we can't get same-day appointments at our clinic anyway.

(I could take her to the drop-in clinic, of course, which is even more expensive, and would mean having my possibly sick child wait four to six hours in a chilly waiting room filled with (probably) very sick and probably contagious people. Obviously, I'm kind of reluctant there.)

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I've never even heard of a policy like that for K-12 education. That's super weird. Children get sick a lot more often than adults, it seems. Why penalize them for something so out of their control?

Anonymous said...

Ugh. They must really not trust parents.

Anonymous said...

It's funding. Some states actually dock the schools for individual student absences. Maybe this is how it's done in your area. Your kid's butt in a seat could be worth $20 or more to her school.

I'm sorry about the ridiculous policy. (Even more ridiculous when you consider how sending sick kids to school gets MORE kids sick.) I would keep her home when you think she needs to be kept home. Later on there's always the option of seeing a doctor.

delagar said...

Funding. That could well be it.

The principal gave us a...well...extreme speech at the start of the school year, about filling out free lunch forms, connected (somehow, he wasn't very clear) with getting extra funding for the school.

And Monday, when the weather was *just* horrific, the school kept the kids in session until the last 55 minutes of the school day, even though every county around us was cancelling and sending kids home early.

When my kid got home, I asked if other parents were coming for their kids, and she said yes, and that the principal had gotten on the intercom and warned the students that if their parents came for them it would be a "parental permission" or an unexcused absence -- one of their five absences.

I bet you're right. I bet it's funding.