January 18th, 2007


School absences update

I suddenly feel a lot better about the absences. I got the call from the school regarding Michael being out today, which I have a note for. I asked who I would discuss the absentee policy with, and the woman said she was the correct person. I asked a lot of questions and got some good responses. Actually, I grilled the poor woman, even quoting from the Frisco policy documents. They don't think I have ANYTHING to worry about with the boys.

- Excused absences, with a doctor's note, are not even counted as absenses unless they are more than a couple of days in a row. That is why Matthew's days counted when he had strep, but it is noted as being 'with doctor's note'. It would only have been an issue if it had affected his schoolwork.

- If they are sent home sick from school, that is considered an absense. If you take them to a doctor, it becomes excused. I had not been taking them to the doctor when they were sent home, just watching them and taking care of it at home. I won't do that in the future!

- The vice-principal called because he was just following policy. He has to do that when absences reach a certain point, whether it is something to worry about or not. She said we had nothing to worry about, but he had to call EVERYONE regardless to be in compliance with policy.

- They would NOT be keeping Michael and Matthew back in kindergarten if they got more than 10 absences, because we have ALWAYS sent parent notes and been good about communications on all absences. She knew the reason for EVERY absence both of the boys had, so she said I had nothing to worry about.

- Her recommendation is that if they are sick (fever, puking or other serious issues) don't hesitate to keep them home. If I don't think it is something serious enough for a doctor, I can usually call the doctor's office and they can fax a note to the school.

I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I am glad that they see that children get sick. It's not always life or death, but you don't want them spreading it to everyone in their class either.

I do still have an issue that if you didn't dig like I did, and you just relied on the policy and the call from the vice-principal, you would probably send your kid to school sick to keep them from having an absence. Then they would spread it to other kids who would then miss school. It wouldn't have happened (probably) if that initial child hadn't been scared to stay home. I think they need to alter their policy documents to more clearly state (actually, to state at ALL) that excused absences will not be counted unless they are more than 3 days, instead of just explaining what qualifies as an excused absence. I didn't find anywhere in the document that it said only UNexcused absences or that said that when a child is sent home sick, and they don't return with a doctor's note, that is considered UNexcused as well.

Oh well. I'm relieved that my children aren't at risk through this, and will work through our PTA group to see if we can get clearer policies defined by the school district.