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School attendence

You've heard me complain about the absenses my boys have had, and how we have been threatened with them having to repeat kindergarten. I spent some time trying to get the full story on their web site, and I'm still just as confused.

Matthew has beeb absent 3 times in the first 9 week period, and 3 times in the second 9 week period. He has been tardy one time.

Michael was absent 2 times in the first 9 week period and tardy once, and out 3 times in the second 9 week period and tardy once.

The way it seems to read below, that would be 7 for Matthew and 7 for Michael???? If they were absent or tardy 3 more times within a 6 month period, they would have to repeat kindergarten?

Here is the wording on kindergarten, and since it seems to make a distinction between a 5 year old and a 6 year old, I'm not sure what to make of it:

Students who are at least six years of age, or who have been previously enrolled in first grade, and who have not yet reached their eighteenth birthday shall attend school for the entire period the program is offered, unless exempted as indicated below. Students enrolled in prekindergarten or kindergarten shall attend school.

Parental warning policy (which we have received a phone call, not writing, because they haven't hit 10 days yet):

The District shall notify a student's parent in writing at the beginning of the school year that, if the student is absent from school on ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period, the student's parent is subject to prosecution under Education Code 25.093, and the student is subject to prosecution under Education Code 25.094 or to referral to a juvenile court in a county with a population less than 100,000.

It seems like if we hit that pount, there is an attendence committee we can appeal to and try to get them boys declared as having completed comparable work. Whatever that would be for a kindergartener.


( 9 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )
Jan. 17th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
The policy you're quoting reads like truancy policy - like this is what the rules are if they are unexcused/not illness related absences. I don't understand a 10 day per year attendance policy.

Here, at least as older kids, the policy is 30 days.
Jan. 17th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
It's so unclear. The policy never defines everything in one place. Part of Matthew's absences were for strep throat and there was a doctor's note for them. Yet on their 9-week report card, it just has all absences listed. They aren't divided into excused and unexcused. The vice-principal called my cell phone and my husband's cell phone, as well as our home phone, to give us a 'warning' about their absences.

I was supposed to have a parent-teacher conference today, but that was cancelled with the weather. When we reschedule I will try to find out more.
Jan. 17th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Tell them you want to count the cancelled parent-teacher conference as an absence on the teacher's part, and you expect full credit for both of your children! And for you!!!
Jan. 17th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
That is a big pile of bullshit. You should call them and ask about Drs.' notes. Without them absences beyond 10 days really fall under truancy laws in most places, and parents are hardly ever informed about the magic of a doctor's note. Of course it means you have to drag your kid to the dr's office each and every time he misses school.

My kid just missed 13 school days (65 hours) this semester due to a very nasty infection. He passed all his tests and made up homework he missed. If he'd fail because he got sick I'd sue the whole gorram school district. (Or pull the kid from the school and homeschool/find a different private school for him.)

Truancy and being sick are not the same thing. How do children with chronic illnesses ever get out of kindergarten in your schooldistrict?
Jan. 17th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering about the same thing. Which is why I asked about the exceptions built into these "rules."

Yes, I was an exceptionally truant student. I cut school at every possible opportunity. I even manufactured a few evacuations (and fires and explosions) just to get out of class - I can admit that now that the statute of limitations has passed. But I also made straight A's.

And when I got really really sick, and then really seriously injured, the school district sent a tutor to my house one day a week for about an hour. She was supposed to stay the whole day, but since I already had all the work done and understood all the material, she left early. No biggie.

Either these rules were written by complete power-hungry morons, or there is more to it than the principal understands.
Jan. 17th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
Holy Hell!!
First question: What are the exemptions? Is there an exemption for medical necessity, doctor's appointment, etc.?

What about people who home-school or who have family emergencies? What about a week-long flu?

Second question: Since when did kindergarten become mandatory - and subject the parents and the children (!!!) to criminal sanctions if kids miss some school?

Also, as my lawyer mind reads it (although I must disclose that I am not a Texas lawyer, nor have I read up on the applicable Texas case law and therefore am not qualified to give a legal opinion on the matter), kindergarten and pre-K are only "required" to attend. As they chose to draft it, the ambiguous - although apparently key - language of "for the entire program" isn't applicable for the younger kids.

Then again, how do they define "for the entire program?" If a child misses a snack day, or field day, or a fluffy field trip, I hardly consider that to be "part of the program."

Also, how do they define "parts of days?" How late to children have to be to be considered tardy? Does a medical reason excuse the tardy? Does just an hour or two "tardy" constitue a part of a day, or are they looking to catch the teenagers who cut school for the entire afternoon?

Either way, something doesn't sound right here. It seems like their rules are drafted entirely too broadly.

Which raises another question: Are these rules, statutes, guidelines, or what? And who enacted them? That will tell you what force they really have, and who has the power to enforce and/or ignore them.

GRRRRR. What a mess!

Yet another reason to put our child in private school.
Jan. 17th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Holy Hell!!
We're talking about looking at the private schools around here.

I'm going to send The Pit Bull Scott in after them about this. The policies are completely unreadable to my layman's eyes. There are exceptions upon exceptions, definitions of terminology in different documents, and nothing that just plainly states the policy. Here is the site that has all of their policies on attendence, along with everything else:

Frisco ISD Policy List

In one area, it says it covers ALL absences, tardies, etc. together, yet in the 'excused absences' section of the Compulsary attendence (legal) document, it says:

A person required to attend school may be excused for temporary absence resulting from any cause acceptable to the teacher, principal, or superintendent of the school in which the person is enrolled

Key legal words here being 'may' and 'acceptable to the teacher, principal or superintendent'. Where is THAT defined?

EVERY single time they have missed school, there has either been a note WEEKS in advance, as well as the day before, such as the 2 day absence to go to Indiana for Thanksgiving/Christmas, and the one day they missed for my surgery. If it was an illness with one child, there was a note sent along with the other child. If both were out sick, I called that morning to let them know (only happened once) and sent a note when they went back the next day.

To me, reading these, most of this is excused. However, their absences on their report card are not broken down into excused or unexcused.
Jan. 17th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
Wow, that is completely confusing AND ridiculous!!!

My daughter's school solely counts the unexcused absences toward the warnings/violations, etc. And an unexcused absence is clearly defined as an absence without a note or doctor's excuse!

What about kids who have chronic illnesses? Good grief, emergencies happen all the time! Who are these jackasses to say that a kid should be held back as a result of an emergency, an illness, etc? As long as a child does his/her makeup work and takes tests that were missed, I don't understand the need to hold him/her back! Ridiculous!
Jan. 18th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
Call your school's guidance counselor. They're used to dealing with district policy crap.

(I mean that in the kindest way possible since so many of my family members work in public schools, but a lot of the policy stuff is so broadly written as to effectively be crap.)
( 9 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )