Truancy letter for 12 excused absences (5th grade) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 01-30-2013, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My girls are sick quite a lot. I only keep them home for fever and/or vomiting, or braces issues. Oldest DD is in 5th grade. She has missed 12 days of school so far this year. 3 were braces related, 9 were for fever/vomiting. All were considered excused via a phone call or letter from me.

I just received a truancy letter stating that the school was notifying the sheriff's office of her excessive absences. I guess I was a bit surprised as we never had this before and my kids do usually miss a lot. Oldest missed 8 and 9 weeks of school in K and first grade due to asthma related issues. We never received a letter then and that was definitely excessive. Maybe they just start notifying authorities in the upper elementary, middle,and high schools? I am not sure what to do about it. They don't want us to send our kids when they are sick, but notify authorities for excused absences? I guess the authorities will just know us by name.
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#2 of 18 Old 01-30-2013, 04:56 AM
 
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Were they at the doctor for any of the illnesses? If so, I'd get a letter from the doctor. There have been nasty enough bugs this year that 12 days, while a lot, can happen legitimately (especially with a child with asthma), and if you show it's legitimate in your case, hopefully that'll be the end of it. Just get a letter from the doctor and get it to the truancy officer.

Good luck!
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#3 of 18 Old 01-30-2013, 04:57 AM
 
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I know that, in *our* schools, the only way an excuse is considered excused is if a note is 'provided by a doctor. Mom calling in or writing a note doesn't count.
 

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#4 of 18 Old 01-30-2013, 07:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Sunshyn74 View Post

 I am not sure what to do about it. They don't want us to send our kids when they are sick, but notify authorities for excused absences? I guess the authorities will just know us by name.

 

Did you receive any prior caution before the letter was sent to the sheriff's office? Did the teacher or principal raise the issue of absences with you? She has missed over 2 weeks of school and the year is only half over. The school may be concerned at the pattern, particularly based on previous years' attendance records. Or it the letter may be simply automatically generated when a certain number of absences is recorded. 

 

You don't mention how your DD is coping with schoolwork. Is she doing well at school and maintaining grades despite the absences or is she struggling? 

 

I agree with the suggestion that you get confirmation from the doctor that the absences were justified, if that's possible. I would also organize copies of some supporting material, such as report cards and graded tests/assignments, if you have them. You want to demonstrate that your dd's education hasn't been affected by the absences. 

 

If, on the other hand, she is struggling, then you should demonstrate a plan to support her. The plan should include conferencing with the teacher, remedial work, possible tutoring, etc.

 

It's better to be organized and able to produce a plan and materials if you are asked, rather than scramble if someone contacts you about truancy. 

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#5 of 18 Old 01-30-2013, 08:36 AM
 
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I get a truancy letter for one of my kids almost every year. Most of the time, it's theatre related. If they are doing a professional show, they miss a lot of days (even though by law, the theatre provides a teacher and they have to do school work during rehearsal.) The SCHOOL always approves it and works with us but the DISTRICT automatically shoots out letters when a certain number of absences are recorded no matter what the situation. Nothing ever comes from it. My kids continue to do well in school despite the absences. The school doesn't really have a leg to stand on. Plus, the letters are warnings in our area. 

 

Last year, I got one for DS because I didn't call in EVERYDAY of his absence. He had an extra bad case of strep. I called in on the 1st day to let them know of the strep test results. I send the doctors note in when he returned the next week. Later that year, he was out several days for the flu. Again, I called the first and send a note when he came back. They counted the days between my calls as unexcused. Geesh.

 

In general, I think most schools are getting more pro-active about truancy due to budget cuts. They get money when your kid is in their seat. Not when they are home sick.... even if it is excused.


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#6 of 18 Old 01-30-2013, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everybody. I called the school and it is indeed computer generated. DD does great in school, currently all As. Her teacher has nothing but good to say. The attendance issue was not raised before i received the letter. I do not have a dr note for most of her absences, as I don't take her to the dr unless the fever lasts more than 3 days. It rarely does and is then bronchitis or strep every time. Anyway, the letter counted them as excused per my call or letter, but said they notify the sheriff's office if they are excused or not. Honestly, why excuse them at all then?

I was only concerned because I know we have at least a couple more absences for sure. She has some extensive ortho work coming up and while she may not miss, there is a good chance she might. Not to mention we have half the school year to go. I will just be sure to call in when she is home. I really can't justify a dr visit when I know it is a virus. Copays would break me greensad.gif. So we will just keep in touch with the school and see how it goes. Thanks again smile.gif
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#7 of 18 Old 02-12-2013, 02:48 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't get the doctor's letter thing.  Who really goes to the doctor with every cold or tummy bug?  That seems like a ridiculous hassle for just a note of confirming an absence...

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#8 of 18 Old 02-12-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't get the doctor's letter thing.  Who really goes to the doctor with every cold or tummy bug?  That seems like a ridiculous hassle for just a note of confirming an absence...

... which is why my state, NJ, allows 15 days absent without a doctor's note before a student loses credit for the year. I'm not sure what the rule is in other states. 

 

I teach HS, but in our book there are excused absences and then there are Excused absences. Absences aren't held against you, in terms of making up work or anything, but to get it forgiven in terms of earning credit for the year, it has to be a medical excuse, ie, doctor's note. 

 

I've never heard the idea that schools only get money if kids are in seats. I'm pretty sure it's not like that in my state. 


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#9 of 18 Old 02-12-2013, 04:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sunshyn74 View Post

She has some extensive ortho work coming up and while she may not miss, there is a good chance she might.

 

these should all have notes from your provider. Our ortho prints them out when the reminder for the next visit.

 

We've moved around and I think that states and districts vary WIDELY in how they handle this issue. I'd stay in contact with the school. You'd be surprised how many parents routinely fail to let the school know when their child is ill.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 18 Old 02-12-2013, 04:54 PM
 
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Tangent Topic:

 

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Originally Posted by staceychev View Post

 

I've never heard the idea that schools only get money if kids are in seats. I'm pretty sure it's not like that in my state. 

That's how it is in California.  Our school looses 10s of thousands of $$$ every year for "excused" absences - like fever.  No kid in seat at the start of school equals no funding for that day.

 

When I have kids out of school (especially if they are ill and will be out more than a day) I always make sure I get an independent study form in to the office before the 1st bell, so the school doesn't miss out on funding.  Previously, I had thought independent study was for extended vacation absences but you can do this for even 1 day.

 

Of course, this only deals with funding . . . truancy check-ins are triggered by number of absences, not the reason for the absence.

 

I hope you are breathing easy and not stressing.  You don't have anything to worry about, IMHO.

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#11 of 18 Old 02-12-2013, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everybody, we aren't too worried at this point. The schools all know us and I am in constant contact whether they are sick or not.

As for count days for $$, they are not totaled daily. There are two or three count days per year. If the child is home sick and it's excused, they can still be counted for that day. The school always has something attractive going on those days to help entice the kids. Picture Day is always the first count day and tomorrow (our second count day) is "Wacky Wednesday" so the kids can dress any way they find silly.

True on the ortho excuses. We have never gotten one, but I never really thought to ask before this truancy letter. I will definitely get one from now on. The problem is that it is often the following day that she misses due to pain from tightening.

Thanks again everybody smile.gif
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#12 of 18 Old 02-12-2013, 09:16 PM
 
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Tangent Topic:

 

That's how it is in California.  Our school looses 10s of thousands of $$$ every year for "excused" absences - like fever.  No kid in seat at the start of school equals no funding for that day.

 

When I have kids out of school (especially if they are ill and will be out more than a day) I always make sure I get an independent study form in to the office before the 1st bell, so the school doesn't miss out on funding.  Previously, I had thought independent study was for extended vacation absences but you can do this for even 1 day.

 

Of course, this only deals with funding . . . truancy check-ins are triggered by number of absences, not the reason for the absence.

 

I hope you are breathing easy and not stressing.  You don't have anything to worry about, IMHO.

 

Independent study contracts may vary by district. In our district, you can't get one for less than 3 days in our district (also in CA.) We did do this for our vacations and they counted as present.


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#13 of 18 Old 02-13-2013, 07:10 AM
 
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This thread reminded me that once again, we neglected to send a note to school for DD about 2 recent absences. Sigh. Partly because I've stumbled a little about phrasing the reason for the absences, so I keep putting it off. Then morning arrives and she's out the door before I remember to write it. 

 

She missed one full day, about 2 weeks ago. It was the first day back to school after a week-long exam period. It was on a Friday. She was ill during exams but soldiered on and wrote them all. By the time she wrote her last exam, she had recovered but saw no point in attending when there would be nothing happening in class. It was too early for exams to be returned and unlikely that the teachers would start new material on that Friday. 

 

Last Friday she missed a half-day. There was a big snowstorm. School buses were cancelled, public transportation was a mess, but schools remained open. She went in for 1st class but there were only a couple of other students there. Some of the teachers didn't make it in either. Again, there was nothing happening. They chatted, read books, did some homework for other classes but by lunchtime she was done with hanging around. She sought out the teachers for her afternoon classes, got assignments and left. 

 

I am tempted to write a frank statement that she missed classes because there was no instructional need for her to be present. That's a little too disparaging and confrontational for my comfort. I don't want to say that she was ill or had a conflicting obligation - other than a need not to be bored crazy - because that's dishonest.

 

I may just state that I'm aware she was absent and that we approved and give no reason at all. 

 

Background - She's 16, a straight-A student, conscientious about her work, well-liked by her teachers and often selected for responsible positions at school (eg. stage managing theatrical productions). There's no real issue about her decision to wag school once in a while. In our school district, there is no issue over funding and excused absences, so that's not a problem for us. We are expected to send a note explaining absences though and right now I'm wishing I could find a funny, light-hearted, but not dishonest, excuse. 

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#14 of 18 Old 02-13-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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At the high school my dd attends, I think the note is more about ensuring that parents are aware of the absence or tardy. It's really about the signature. I would say something like:

Dd was absent on date and left after x period on date. These absences should be excused.

Then I'd sign it and write my cell phone number on it.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#15 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 06:28 AM
 
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... which is why my state, NJ, allows 15 days absent without a doctor's note before a student loses credit for the year. I'm not sure what the rule is in other states. 

 

I teach HS, but in our book there are excused absences and then there are Excused absences. Absences aren't held against you, in terms of making up work or anything, but to get it forgiven in terms of earning credit for the year, it has to be a medical excuse, ie, doctor's note. 

 

I've never heard the idea that schools only get money if kids are in seats. I'm pretty sure it's not like that in my state. 


Are you sure that's a state requirement? I'm in NJ, and I don't recall that. Especially not in schools with block scheduling. In our district, it goes by semester, not year.

 

Also, there are other Excused absences. Religious observances, death in the family, etc. They do require some sort of documentation.

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#16 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 06:33 AM
 
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I am tempted to write a frank statement that she missed classes because there was no instructional need for her to be present. That's a little too disparaging and confrontational for my comfort. I don't want to say that she was ill or had a conflicting obligation - other than a need not to be bored crazy - because that's dishonest.

 

I may just state that I'm aware she was absent and that we approved and give no reason at all.

 

I used to simply write that my child had taken a mental health day.

 

My Mom used "general malaise."

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#17 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 07:42 AM
 
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At the high school my dd attends, I think the note is more about ensuring that parents are aware of the absence or tardy. It's really about the signature. I would say something like:

Dd was absent on date and left after x period on date. These absences should be excused.

Then I'd sign it and write my cell phone number on it.

 

Yes, that's pretty much what I ended up doing. smile.gif

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#18 of 18 Old 02-14-2013, 07:47 AM
 
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I used to simply write that my child had taken a mental health day.

 

My Mom used "general malaise."

 

Sounds utterly, charmingly Victorian. I'm picturing one of those portraits of a reclining damsel on a sitting room sofa, one rounded white arm drooping onto the floor. 

.

.

.

 

That is so far from DD and her usual bouncy, endless energy  lol.gif.  I can imagine everyone at the school chuckling over it. It's a great term and I think I may try it one day. Thanks  smile.gif

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