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Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 25th 03, 04:41 AM
Vicki
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

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

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 grade
as she is already the youngest in her class.

Have others faced this truancy problem? How do you approach it? If this is
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 in
three weeks. I'd like to have a sense of our options before we go so we do
what's right by dd and cause the least distress to her teacher and principal
(who are quite nice.) Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
Vicki


  #2  
Old October 25th 03, 05:15 AM
ColoradoSkiBum
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?


"Vicki" wrote in message
news : 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
school
: for other things we feel are important.) Can they prosecute us for
truancy
: 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
: time.)
:
: 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
grade
: as she is already the youngest in her class.
:
: Have others faced this truancy problem? How do you approach it? If this
is
: 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
in
: three weeks. I'd like to have a sense of our options before we go so we
do
: what's right by dd and cause the least distress to her teacher and
principal
: (who are quite nice.) Any help would be greatly appreciated.
: Thank you.

If your child is missing school because she's sick, then she is *not*
truant. The school cannot punish/penalized you or her for missing due to
illness. They may require that you provide a doctor's note (which is a real
PITA since it means you have to take her to the doctor if she's sick), but
that's as far as they can go. If her absences are "unexcused"--IOW not due
to illness, a funeral, etc.--then they *can* penalize you. In fact in my
area the courts can actually fine the parents $2500 per day for each
unexcused absence. This only occurs in extreme circumstances where the
parents obviously just don't give a s**t about their child's education.
Your statement about "taking her out of school for things you feel are
important" is getting pretty close to the line. I wouldn't want to stand in
front of a judge and try to explain that one.

As for keeping her at home 1 day a week for "home schooling," IMO that's a
big mistake, and they could definitely come after you for truancy for that.
If you want to home school, then do it, but don't do it half way. If she
misses 20% of the school days, then she'll miss 20% of the material that her
teacher expects her to learn--or you will unreasonably expect her teacher to
spend additional time every week helping your daughter get caught up on
material she missed. If you don't want to do full-on home schooling, then
do it on Saturdays instead of on a regular school day.
--
ColoradoSkiBum

  #3  
Old October 25th 03, 05:40 AM
GI Trekker
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

I highly recommend homeschooling and finding other ways for your child to see
her friends -- after school, weekends. This "truancy" argument sounds more than
a bit like a threat. One thing to always remember in matters like this -- this
is YOUR child. NOT the school's and NOT the state's.

My mother faced a similar situation one time with me in the third grade, not
with regard to truancy, but with regard to an absolute horrible teacher who
distinctly despised me. The feeling was mutual. She also had a soft spot for
the biggest bully in the school. The overall situation got so out of hand that
the school board and my mother had a discussion. Of course they tried to
intimidate her, and gave preference to the teacher's statements over mine. But
my mother was not the type to be readily intimidated, and the school board
eventually had to back down and had to persuade the teacher to back off in her
treatment of me.

Bottom line on truancy -- what the schools are most concerned about is that
every student who doesn't show up is ultimately money lost in their school
budget. That's why they may try to intimidate you in these forthcoming
meetings. Do not let them, and please give serious consideration to full-time
homeschooling. It sounds like it would be the best optional educationally.
  #4  
Old October 25th 03, 06:57 AM
Vicki
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

"ColoradoSkiBum" wrote

If your child is missing school because she's sick, then she is *not*
truant. The school cannot punish/penalized you or her for missing due to
illness. They may require that you provide a doctor's note (which is a

real
PITA since it means you have to take her to the doctor if she's sick), but
that's as far as they can go. If her absences are "unexcused"--IOW not

due
to illness, a funeral, etc.--then they *can* penalize you. In fact in my
area the courts can actually fine the parents $2500 per day for each
unexcused absence. This only occurs in extreme circumstances where the
parents obviously just don't give a s**t about their child's education.
Your statement about "taking her out of school for things you feel are
important" is getting pretty close to the line. I wouldn't want to stand

in
front of a judge and try to explain that one.


I read a child is limited to 10 absences excused by the parent per
year--guess this is where the 5/semester comes from. I can't get a doctor's
excuse for the flu dd had 2 weeks ago--we didn't go to the doctor. I did
call and talk with a nurse at the hospital, but I couldn't say her name. In
any case, dd will miss again around Thanksgiving due to something important
to us. That will put me over the five, even if dd stays healthy until then.
If they're not REALLY going to fine me (b/c we do care about her education,)
then who do I talk with beforehand so I don't have to have fines hanging
over my head?

As for keeping her at home 1 day a week for "home schooling," IMO that's a
big mistake, and they could definitely come after you for truancy for

that.
If you want to home school, then do it, but don't do it half way. If she
misses 20% of the school days, then she'll miss 20% of the material that

her
teacher expects her to learn--or you will unreasonably expect her teacher

to
spend additional time every week helping your daughter get caught up on
material she missed. If you don't want to do full-on home schooling, then
do it on Saturdays instead of on a regular school day.


I think you're right about the problem with truancy and part-time
home-schooling. I'm not sure how we avoid that. As an aside, I'm not
worried about dd missing what is taught--she knows it. Nor do I expect her
teacher to spend additional time to get dd caught up--dd is ahead. 2nd
grade curriculum seems pretty limited if you're already a good reader and
good with numbers. Our idea was to give dd a day of more challenging
materials. It is hard to fit them into the weekends and evenings (piano,
scouts, time with dad and siblings, etc.) dd reads constantly, but I'd
hoped to use the day for more hands on learning--science projects, trips to
museum, etc. She's expressed interest in this (as opposed to full-time
homeschooling, which she's rejected,) but maybe this won't be allowed.

Thank you.
Vicki


  #5  
Old October 25th 03, 07:29 AM
Vicki
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

"GI Trekker" wrote
I highly recommend homeschooling and finding other ways for your child to

see
her friends -- after school, weekends. This "truancy" argument sounds more

than
a bit like a threat. One thing to always remember in matters like this --

this
is YOUR child. NOT the school's and NOT the state's.

My mother faced a similar situation one time with me in the third grade,

not
with regard to truancy, but with regard to an absolute horrible teacher

who
distinctly despised me. The feeling was mutual. She also had a soft spot

for
the biggest bully in the school. The overall situation got so out of hand

that
the school board and my mother had a discussion. Of course they tried to
intimidate her, and gave preference to the teacher's statements over mine.

But
my mother was not the type to be readily intimidated, and the school board
eventually had to back down and had to persuade the teacher to back off in

her
treatment of me.

Bottom line on truancy -- what the schools are most concerned about is

that
every student who doesn't show up is ultimately money lost in their school
budget. That's why they may try to intimidate you in these forthcoming
meetings. Do not let them, and please give serious consideration to

full-time
homeschooling. It sounds like it would be the best optional educationally.


Luckily dd's teacher is very nice. The principal seems good. We're friends
with people on the school board. We are supportive of the school and have
had a good relationship in the past. dh volunteered in the classroom last
year. We initiated and donated money to start a community fund to finance
special projects or trips that teachers might want to do... I'm not saying
that the letter from the principal *isn't* about money... it just seems
misguided if that's what its about. It surprised us, got our attention...
but not in a good way. I'm angered by the letter. Maybe she is required to
send the letter and has no over-ride authority. I don't see this as an
issue the school board would have authority over... I don't know who we're
supposed to talk with, and what options are legal. dd will be truant by
their definition. Then what? I don't know.

dd rejected ft home school, and that's ok w/us right now. Maybe we'll
change our tune if we can't resolve this.
Thank you.
Vicki



  #6  
Old October 25th 03, 07:50 AM
cara
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?


Vicki wrote:

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 have no experience with this at all, but the implication of 'truancy' to me
means 'absences without parental knowledge or consent.' I guess I don't
understand why you can't keep your child home or out for family gatherings, or
illness (even without doctors note! the vast majority of childhood illnesses
absolutely do not require a visit to the doctor) if YOU are the one authorizing
it. I suppose I would take your particular case to the principal/teacher and
stipulate that as long as your daughter maintains a high standing in her class
and requires minimal 'extra' effort to keep her caught up (ie: you as parents
are willing spend extra time to help catch her up in school work due to missed
days) than you as responsible parents shouldn't worry so much about the hard and
fast rule of 5 absences/semester, as long as it is within reason (a few day here
or there, not going off to tahiti for a few weeks . Maybe once they realize
your direct involvement in this, they won't be so anal about it.

Man, reading a lot of these school issues - even/especially in the early grades
- makes me nervous about my dd heading into the school system. Wow, times have
changed, and I'm not sure its for the better .

cara

  #7  
Old October 25th 03, 07:58 AM
dragonlady
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

In article ,
"Vicki" wrote:

"GI Trekker" wrote
I highly recommend homeschooling and finding other ways for your child to

see
her friends -- after school, weekends. This "truancy" argument sounds more

than
a bit like a threat. One thing to always remember in matters like this --

this
is YOUR child. NOT the school's and NOT the state's.

My mother faced a similar situation one time with me in the third grade,

not
with regard to truancy, but with regard to an absolute horrible teacher

who
distinctly despised me. The feeling was mutual. She also had a soft spot

for
the biggest bully in the school. The overall situation got so out of hand

that
the school board and my mother had a discussion. Of course they tried to
intimidate her, and gave preference to the teacher's statements over mine.

But
my mother was not the type to be readily intimidated, and the school board
eventually had to back down and had to persuade the teacher to back off in

her
treatment of me.

Bottom line on truancy -- what the schools are most concerned about is

that
every student who doesn't show up is ultimately money lost in their school
budget. That's why they may try to intimidate you in these forthcoming
meetings. Do not let them, and please give serious consideration to

full-time
homeschooling. It sounds like it would be the best optional educationally.


Luckily dd's teacher is very nice. The principal seems good. We're friends
with people on the school board. We are supportive of the school and have
had a good relationship in the past. dh volunteered in the classroom last
year. We initiated and donated money to start a community fund to finance
special projects or trips that teachers might want to do... I'm not saying
that the letter from the principal *isn't* about money... it just seems
misguided if that's what its about. It surprised us, got our attention...
but not in a good way. I'm angered by the letter.


Don't get too caught up being upset about the letter itself: in many
districts, they are pretty automatic. If your child misses a certain
number of days, the system automatically kicks out a letter to send to
you, and the letters all say the same thing. Depending upon the size of
the school, the principal may even have someone else signing the letters
the computer kicks out. Lord knows, I've seen enough of them -- both
for a child who was desperately ill and missed an enormous amount of
school, and for a child who had truancy issues.

If you've been calling the school to tell them of her absences, and that
she's been sick, they are not truancies, but they should be excused
absences. If you have NOT been calling the school to tell them why
she's not at school, they are, technically, truancies, and there could
be some nasty actions regarding this. If you call the school to tell
them you are taking her out for something that YOU think is important
but they do not excuse it, it is a truancy.

It would not surprise me to find out that after five truancies in one
semester they would take action; it would surprise me to find out that
they would disallow any more than five excused absenses. However, the
only way to know what is and is not the law vs. optional is to talk to a
local lawyer -- one who knows both the state law wherever you are, and
any local school board rulings. A newsgroup, with people from all over
the world, can't tell you those things. If you are very concerned, I'd
make an appointment with a lawyer who specializes in these things.

meh
--
Children won't care how much you know until they know how much you care

  #8  
Old October 25th 03, 08:09 AM
dragonlady
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

In article ,
cara wrote:

Vicki wrote:

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 have no experience with this at all, but the implication of 'truancy' to me
means 'absences without parental knowledge or consent.' I guess I don't
understand why you can't keep your child home or out for family gatherings,
or
illness (even without doctors note! the vast majority of childhood illnesses
absolutely do not require a visit to the doctor) if YOU are the one
authorizing
it. I suppose I would take your particular case to the principal/teacher and
stipulate that as long as your daughter maintains a high standing in her
class
and requires minimal 'extra' effort to keep her caught up (ie: you as parents
are willing spend extra time to help catch her up in school work due to
missed
days) than you as responsible parents shouldn't worry so much about the hard
and
fast rule of 5 absences/semester, as long as it is within reason (a few day
here
or there, not going off to tahiti for a few weeks . Maybe once they
realize
your direct involvement in this, they won't be so anal about it.


This will vary from school to school, and from state to state, both in
how much leeway the teacher or principal has and in how willing they are
(if they DO have the leeway) to excuse absences. Some will accept
absolutely NO excuse but illness or family funeral, others will
negotiate for excused absences for family vacations or other reasons.

And, with funding being handled the way it is now, I sort of understand
their position when they do NOT excuse absences for anything but the
really necessary ones. Around here, at least, they only get money from
the state according to the number of bodies actually in school each day
-- but it actually takes MORE teacher time and energy (and sometimes
other staff as well) to give make up tests, arrange for additional
outside of class work to make up for what they miss in class, and all of
that stuff.

Man, reading a lot of these school issues - even/especially in the early
grades
- makes me nervous about my dd heading into the school system. Wow, times
have
changed, and I'm not sure its for the better .


With change always comes loss -- and gain. What's the old song? --
"something's lost and something's gained by living every day."

meh
--
Children won't care how much you know until they know how much you care

  #9  
Old October 25th 03, 01:37 PM
Donna Metler
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?


"Vicki" wrote in message
news
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

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

truancy
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
time.)

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

grade
as she is already the youngest in her class.

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

is
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

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

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

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


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
problems.

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.


  #10  
Old October 25th 03, 01:39 PM
Donna Metler
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?


"Vicki" wrote in message
news
"GI Trekker" wrote
I highly recommend homeschooling and finding other ways for your child

to
see
her friends -- after school, weekends. This "truancy" argument sounds

more
than
a bit like a threat. One thing to always remember in matters like

this --
this
is YOUR child. NOT the school's and NOT the state's.

My mother faced a similar situation one time with me in the third grade,

not
with regard to truancy, but with regard to an absolute horrible teacher

who
distinctly despised me. The feeling was mutual. She also had a soft spot

for
the biggest bully in the school. The overall situation got so out of

hand
that
the school board and my mother had a discussion. Of course they tried to
intimidate her, and gave preference to the teacher's statements over

mine.
But
my mother was not the type to be readily intimidated, and the school

board
eventually had to back down and had to persuade the teacher to back off

in
her
treatment of me.

Bottom line on truancy -- what the schools are most concerned about is

that
every student who doesn't show up is ultimately money lost in their

school
budget. That's why they may try to intimidate you in these forthcoming
meetings. Do not let them, and please give serious consideration to

full-time
homeschooling. It sounds like it would be the best optional

educationally.

Luckily dd's teacher is very nice. The principal seems good. We're

friends
with people on the school board. We are supportive of the school and have
had a good relationship in the past. dh volunteered in the classroom last
year. We initiated and donated money to start a community fund to finance
special projects or trips that teachers might want to do... I'm not

saying
that the letter from the principal *isn't* about money... it just seems
misguided if that's what its about. It surprised us, got our attention...
but not in a good way. I'm angered by the letter. Maybe she is required

to
send the letter and has no over-ride authority. I don't see this as an
issue the school board would have authority over... I don't know who

we're
supposed to talk with, and what options are legal. dd will be truant by
their definition. Then what? I don't know.

She is almost certainly required by law to send it. I would strongly suggest
getting documentation from your doctor, if possible, on past absenses, and
certainly getting documentation for ANY further medical absense.

Your state education code should be online, and will give truancy statutes.


dd rejected ft home school, and that's ok w/us right now. Maybe we'll
change our tune if we can't resolve this.
Thank you.
Vicki





 




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