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NY: What are School Truancy Laws Like?

3203 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  UrbanPlanter
This is apropros of some stuff I've been hearing from people in other states about getting chastising letters from their kids' schools after letting their kids go with them on the anti-anti-immigrant marches. Threats of legal action, fines, etc.

So, when I was a kid, at a private school, admittedly, my mother regularly pulled me out for special events that she thought were worth it. These were always political or cultural. She took me to meet Placido Domingo (out of 3rd Grade for half a day) and Harvey Milk (out of 4th grade for a whole day, there was a rally, too). I went to a couple of chess meets. (No, I wasn't competing, merely observing a friend. But, it was the person who had been teaching me some cool chess gambits. I think that was once in 5th grade -- for two days -- and once in 6th grade -- for half a day 'cause that competition stretched into the night.)

I know she always had the "permission" of the administration. But, then again, she never doubted she'd have it. I think her "permission" was gotten by just telling them "I'm taking/keeping little sohj out of class today because we are meeting a world famous operatic tenor/seriously activist candidate for office/chess champion for lunch/dinner/political activity."

Was this just a priviledge of her class? Was is a freedom of the times? Can this still be done?

What are the rules on this kind of thing here in the public school system?
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I'm not sure of the specifics of it all, but I know that with the whole no-child-left-behind thing, truancy laws went into mega-overdrive.

It looks like it is determined by each individual school board

But if I recall correctly, there was a story last year of a girl who was slated to graduate (validictorian or something even) who was told she couldn't because she got sick right before the end of the year and that brought her total absences for the year to over 2 weeks (10 days).

I'll have to look it up......

basically, parents no longer have the ability to augment their children's education during school hours--unless you can keep it to a minimum and they don't miss too much school for being sick.

Although I know when I was in school, I cut about oh..umm...75% of 10th grade and managed to have only 5 absences reported by the school.....
My teachers didn't care as long as I kept my grades up.
I can't imagine a school agreeing to something like that with a parent, but they might allow some flexibility.

BTW, you CAN miss school for religious education--same as ever.

So....being Quaker.....I would think peace studies would be a major part of religious education....and ummm.....protests would count, right?
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Good point, Unreal. I hadn't thought of that...hmmm....religious education. But, I'd be stretching the truth an awful lot for some of that stuff.

And, yeah, another way that No Child Left Behind is messing things up.

I was poking around more on the NY websites...still haven't found the actual text of the laws describing stuff like "appropriate excuse".

Any more info out there?

And, honestly, I really want to let him go to school, at least for a few years; because he wants to. I'm not planning on homeschooling right now. Maybe sometime in the future if it is appropriate for him, but, it isn't part of the solution right now.
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I hear ya about homeschooling. And if we weren't homeschooling now, we would be facing the same sort of questions. They've cut so much enrichment out of the schools now (my district is HORRIBLE), I would feel obligated to take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself.

When A was younger, it drove me up a wall that I had to send in notes or call in just because we were doing something besides school that day.

I can understand it when the schools don't know the families--when they don't know that the parents are committed to their kids education and what-not.
But argh!

In Kindergarten, we took A out of school for 2 weeks while I was on break from school. We had to jump through a billion hoops (and actually ended up having him bring a workbook of his own on our trip--the teacher didn't check his work, but marked that he has made up all the work he missed (in Kindergarten??))

In 1st grade, we had to justify every single school was exhausting.

I never asked what the 'laws' were pertaining to absences for the year--since I couldn't see it being an issue in elementary school.
If he were to go back to school now though, I would definitely want to know. have 2 weeks from when you pull your child out of school to notify them that you are homeschooling.
I wonder if that is the longest you can have an unexcused absence before your child is considered truant.
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i substitute teach at a suburban district in syracuse. maybe the kids make it seem too easy, but to me it looks like all they need is a note from mom or dad and they can get out of school early. i think the high schoolers get away with it more than the younger ones.
i've looked at the daily absentee lists, and i've seen kids on there who have missed 1/4-1/3 of the days of school! some of these kids are on the list over and over again. (really, how do you miss 20 days of school by january??? i think i missed that many total in elementary school!) i asked someone what they do for kids they know are just skipping. they can only send the truant officer to the house so many times. sometimes both parents work and leave for work before the bus comes, so the kid just doesnt get out of bed. the truant officer can come to the house, but if nobody answers the door, he/she cannot just come in. the kid gets to know the truant officer's car and just doesnt answer the door or runs out the back or something.
i subbed in the middle school attendance office a couple times. parents are supposed to call the school before 8:30 am to tell them that the kid is out and the reason. otherwise, the ladies in the attendance office call home or work. they know who is really sick and who is just skipping.
i dont know how strict the nyc school district is. i guess that you could always pull your kid out of school for the day and write a note (or an "excuse") saying that dc was sick. just tell dc to keep his/her mouth shut about the protest and say he/she had a really nasty stomach bug. (how legal that is, i dont know.) but i have seen parents pull their kids out of school to go on vacation. kids come in and out for doctor's appts too. one high schooler came in right before lunch and left before the end of the day because she had 2 doctor's appts that day!
hope this helps!
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the only thing I know so far is that one particular NYC public school that is highly sought after for admission says that if your child misses more than two weeks of school (not necessarily consecutively) that aren't valid sick days, then the school will give your child's spot to another child and ask you to find another school. This is not SWA (I don't know their policy), but I guess you would have to know the individual school's policy once you get your ds enrolled.
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