Schools and Their Absence Policies
January 16, 2009 5:52pm CST
I have to vent. The school my son attends (he is in middle school) is driving me crazy. Granted they have a problem with kids who aren't in school come without excuses, parents forget to call, no dr notes, etc. a lot. I understand that they want to resolve this, but.... My son has major allergies (the school knows this, it is noted in his file) and when he is subjected to respiratory illnesses such as the major flu that went across our state last fall, it tends to really hit him hard and bring him down. He was hit with two major flu illnesses in Sept and Oct of last year. The first one he was out of school (doctor note provided, and I called each day) for 4 days. The second was a stomach flu that turned into a major respiratory flu with fever and coughing and congestion etc. With the second he was out of school for 7 full days. He also had a couple of doctor appts where he had to leave early because of a foot fracture during football. Now, we did everything we were supposed to. I even went above and beyond to call the principal and explain what was going on. So last week I get a letter in the mail stating that because he missed over 10 days in a semester, that all of his credits were being held from him for all his classes! I almost went through the roof. I should also mention that he is an A student and caught up all his work in a few days (working longer at school and bringing work home to do so) and this did not affect the work or A average!!! I was so angry. I calmed down enough to write a letter of appeal as they requested to have the credits "re-instated". I should hear from them beginning of next week on their decision. To me this is an outrage. If I hadn't already talked to the principal, if they didn't know about his respiratory problems, if I hadn't followed rules in calling and dr notes, if he had fallen behind or grade level dropped I could see why they would do this. But in this case I do not think they should have sent that letter or taken credits away. After this is resolved (and it WILL BE) I am setting an appointment to talk to them and school board about this. Is this right? To Punish good students who want to do well and like school, for being ill!!!?????
2 people like this
17 Jan 09
I have to agree with the first response. I know how frustrating it is to follow policies to the letter and still have problems with the school (this happened to me when one of my daughters was harassed and had personal property destroyed and/or stolen). The new "absence policies" really do seem arduous for the parents because we now have to request (and often pay for) doctor's letters for shorter term illnesses. It's not easy, that's for darn sure. I can absolutely understand your frustration, quinnkl. I would be exactly where you are with it. But I'm convinced that you got a letter than was automatically cranked out by the system when your son hit a threshold for days absent. They probably didn't even look up any information before sending it out as a matter of routine and they probably need to have it on file as being sent (to ensure they follow their own procedures to the letter). I hope it gets resolved via your letter of appeal and I do hope your son is feeling better :)
• United States
20 Jan 09
I appreciate your response. I agree, I don't see how they cannot reinstate the credits legally, so it probably just a paperwork thing. I haven't gotten the response yet, but will let everyone know when I do. Having responses and letting me vent here really made me feel better. My son just had a bout of flu over the weekend (lots of it going around in the school right now), but so far so good. Thanks again.
• United States
15 Feb 09
Exactly. You are right on! It is like they have become a "business" and don't permit "absences"! Dumb. I talked to Attendance Committee, Principal and had a sit down with the Superintendent of schools and finally got it in writing that they understood he was really not able to attend through no fault of his own, and re-instated the credits. This after asking if I was the only parent at home and if he had any siblings! How insulting! They are just being statistical. Sad. Thanks so much for your response.
• United States
17 Feb 09
Speak with the special education department about applying for an OHI (Other Health Impairment),in some states referred to as OHD (Other Health Disability). Your child may qualify for that or for a 504 plan. On a 504 plan your child will be able to have the protection of the special education department and you can work out that he will not be penalized for the days he misses for his allergies/asthma. I wish you luck! Remember, you do have rights. Contact a state advocate if you cannot get the school to work with you.