There are a lot of things I take issue with. Like, a lot. Cable bills. Wealth distribution. Reality television. The end of Downton Abbey. But lately, nothing has me in such a state of fury as my child’s elementary school. She gets a good education. She’s safe. It’s clean. It’s highly rated (whatever the hell that REALLY means). But I am NOT a student and am therefore not subject to their reign of tyranny!
In today’s issue of Elementary School Bullshit: The Attendance Policy
Students are allowed 15 excused absences per year. Excused absences are illness, religious observances, other listed items and up to 5 of those absences can also be educational trips. My child has missed 2 days during the entire school year due to illness and a note was sent each time so it would be counted as excused. She’s on time every day because she takes the bus. We travelled out of town for Mother’s Day to visit with my mom and she missed a Friday of school. No big deal. I made sure her assignments were completed and we left. The onslaught of emails and paperwork I received upon her return to school Monday was ridiculous.
I sent in a note stating that I allowed her absence for travel. Another note was requested, as the first note should only be filled out if the child is ill. Instead I was asked, no less than 3 times, for an educational travel request to be completed and it should have been completed two weeks prior to travel for proper approval. Also, if I didn’t comply I would be in violation of section blah-blah-crap-crap of the district attendance policy. How very confrontational of you, Madame Secretary!
First, it wasn’t educational. I allowed my child a day off to travel to visit Grandma. I’m not even going to give them the satisfaction of having me lie and claim it was educational when it was not. Second… Request approval? I am her parent. I don’t need to request approval to allow my child to miss a single day of school. I can inform, but requesting approval is quite strong for my taste. That may be in your policy, but your policy can kindly f*ck off. It is not the role of a school to monitor my decisions as a parent. My child has already taken the day so what the hell was this approval form supposed to prove?
On the approval form it also insists I provide the names of other adults she will be with, their contact information and all other manner of detailed items. Did they intend to call the other adult participants to verify her whereabouts and ensure it was indeed educational? Would they require a security clearance as well? How about a DNA sample? This is an overwhelming invasion of privacy and a show of superiority over the decisions of a parent. I was told if the form was not returned her absence would be considered unlawful. UNLAWFUL; which equates to me getting a letter sent home. Am I in Kindergarten? Are they going to pin it to my shirt? Unless it’s filled with dog poo, then lit on fire and thrown at my front door, I couldn’t give a f*ck less about their nastygram for a single UNLAWFUL absence in the span of a whole school year.
When I was a kid sometimes you missed school. Period. No perfect attendance reward for you. Your parent was responsible for making sure you attended enough to keep up. Only recurring absenteeism was addressed. Or if your kid clearly needed every ounce of educational time because they were one of the dumb kids. Don’t get offended. Some kids are dumb, and we love them anyway. It’s statistically impossible for everyone to have a smart kid. If my child has missed 2 sick days and I am told time and time again that she is performing very well, then back off on my decision to allow her an absence. If my next kid is a doofus, then let’s talk.
Education Purpose of Trip: To challenge the efficacy of an approval system which has turned the administrators of the school into paper-pushing zombies who believe it is their place to make me ask for permission for what I do with my child.