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Old October 25th 03, 01:37 PM
Donna Metler
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Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

"Vicki" wrote in message
Today we received a warning letter for truancy for our 2nd grader. The
principal said she was concerned about dd's absences. I am not concerned
about dd's absences--she is bright, she knows the material [she's missed
five days this month, but received 100 on her test for materials covered.]
I don't think the teacher is concerned. But the principal said dd is only
allowed 5 excused absences per semester.

I'm not happy about the possibility of legal sanctions for keeping dd home
(she was sick this month, but I wouldn't hesitate to take her out of

for other things we feel are important.) Can they prosecute us for

when dd is top of her class? I don't see the harm to anyone in dd not
going. And she *will* miss more school at Thanksgiving (important family

We had planned to talk at school conferences about keeping dd home one day
per week, or bi-weekly, to enhance her education. But from what I've read
about truancy laws tonight, this doesn't seem to be allowable. Has anyone
done this or know if it is doable?

dd does not want to homeschool full-time--she likes seeing her friends at
school and we think this is good for her. We have discussed getting
appropriate challenge in her classroom--the teacher has been helpful, but
there is only so much she can do. We chose not to skip dd to the next

as she is already the youngest in her class.

Have others faced this truancy problem? How do you approach it? If this

a law (5 days/semester,) does the principal have much leeway in enforcing
it? If not, then who do we talk with? The DA? Is it possible to
homeschool part-time (the days dd misses) and avoid a truancy enforcement?
Could we test out of second grade and attendance be optional?

dh is calling the principal next week, and we will meet with dd's teacher

three weeks. I'd like to have a sense of our options before we go so we

what's right by dd and cause the least distress to her teacher and

(who are quite nice.) Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

If you have provided medical documentation, this can be exceeded. One major
illness can easily go over 5 days. It is only when there's a lot of little,
one and two day absenses, that this becomes a problem. Essentially, if an
absense is over 3 days long at a time, and there is medical documentation,
you are homeschooling for that time, and if it's over 5 days at a time, the
school can provide a homebound tutor for a few hours a week. I have a little
girl right now who just had open heart surgery, and will be out of school
for quite some time. If she has had frequent illnesses of a few days, you
still should get some sort of medical documentation for these to avoid legal

The reason this comes into play is that there are a great many parents who
will write excuse notes when their child isn't actually sick. In one case,
we have a 6th grade boy who ends up spending a lot of nights in the casino
arcades in Tunica, while his mother gambles. Then, the next morning, when
they finally wake up halfway into the day, she writes an excuse note,
claming that he had a stomachache or a headache, and brings him to school.
Let's face it-unless a child is pregnant, and this boy isn't, he's probably
not going to be waking up sick every morning! Talking to the child has been
very informative.

If she's already had extensive illnesses, it is unlikely the school district
will look kindly on her missing time over Thanksgiving. I am spending almost
$300 more on airfare for my husband and I over Thanksgiving precisely
because of the school schedule. If a teacher misses the day before a
holiday, we are charged double for it. In general, unless the child (or
adult) has been ill for an extended period of time prior to the holiday,
absenses right before a holiday are considered suspicious.