Elementary School Attendance Policies Too Strict?

Cynthia Dermody
kids on a nature walk

Photo by lulamae123

The other day we kept my son home from school because he was sick. My husband took the day off to be with him, but typical us, neither of us thought to call the school to let them know. We had a foggy notion of some policy about that, but all we thought about in the morning was, "Well, our kid is sick, so he's not going in."

I get a call from the school nurse about 10:30, both alarmed and perturbed that we hadn't called him in.

I can't blame her. While she was thrilled that I was actually keeping him and his germs at home, she also needed to make sure my son was where he was supposed to be and didn't end up in the trunk of some pedophile's car on his way to school. I appreciate that.

But some of the Stay at Home Moms were talking about overly strict elementary school attendance policies the other day. It seems some schools are way more rigid than mine is, with rules not just about calling in to the nurse, but demanding doctors notes for all absences and scolding parents who make the decision to keep their kids home for non-medical reasons.

One mom recalled how her own mother used to deal with these issues:

"I was sick a lot in middle school and high school, and my mother would take me out a lot for doctor appointments. I remember the school questioning her and telling her I needed a doctor's note for all my absences. She told them what she thought of that: She said she was my mother and if she wanted to take me out of school for a day it was none of their business. If she wanted to take me shopping she would. They day they paid my doctor bills and supported me was the day she answered to them."



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