Okay to miss school for fun stuff?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Okay to miss school for fun stuff?
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Thu, 01-31-2013 - 2:52pm

Moms cited visiting family members, vacations, special sibling events, concerts, and even “mental health days” as good reasons to take kids out of school. 

Alyssa Chirco, a mother of one who lives outside St. Louis, agrees that parents, not school administrators, know best. “I reserve the right to check my child out of school at any time, for any reason.” 

What is the harm in missing a day here or there? Teachers and administrators talk about lost learning time, but the financial reasons are just as relevant. Most schools are funded using a formula that incorporates the average daily attendance. Absences mean fewer dollars allocated.

http://www.today.com/moms/parents-split-over-whether-its-ok-let-kids-miss-school-1B8186531

What do you think?  Is it okay for students to miss class for fun things? Have you let your children do it before?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 10:23pm

I suppose one could argue a "mental health" day is a medical or for health reasons. But yes, some medical absences are unavoidable. A planned surgery, deliberately scheduled during the school year, when it could be scheduled during their time off, is another issue.

I've known teachers who would take a day here or there because they needed a break. One I know, calls in the same day every year to plan a party. Just today, a friend of mine took off because she needed a break. My point is, some teacher take these fun days or mental health days. It's hard to find fault in a parent doing the same. Personally, I don't think one can plan ahead for a so called mental health day. As adults we may take a personal day from our jobs. I just don't see a difference.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 11:18am

Medical reasons are valid; I would not classify them as "fun days". My kids had to be pulled from school for medical reasons too.

There is another issue and yes, it has to do with money. Here, unlike in parts of the US, school funding is based on enrollment, not attendance.  Teachers are payed a yearly salary, extremely well compensated with a great pension plan.

When teachers book off, the school board has to pay for substitutes and that reduces monies avaliable for other things. Here, because of the money situation, kids in high school now have study hall when a teacher books off for whatever reason. Money for subs are reserved for elementary & middle schools.  When my kids were in school, it always seemed to be the same teachers who would always be away for some reason or another. If it was a valid reason for the absence, that was fine. But, there was a minority of teachers one wondered about. They were terrible examples for their students.

My kids, when they were in school, only missed school when it was unavoidable (sickness, dentist appointments etc..) or for "school saction" events.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 11:18am

Medical reasons are valid; I would not classify them as "fun days". My kids had to be pulled from school for medical reasons too.

There is another issue and yes, it has to do with money. Here, unlike in parts of the US, school funding is based on enrollment, not attendance.  Teachers are payed a yearly salary, extremely well compensated with a great pension plan.

When teachers book off, the school board has to pay for substitutes and that reduces monies avaliable for other things. Here, because of the money situation, kids in high school now have study hall when a teacher books off for whatever reason. Money for subs are reserved for elementary & middle schools.  When my kids were in school, it always seemed to be the same teachers who would always be away for some reason or another. If it was a valid reason for the absence, that was fine. But, there was a minority of teachers one wondered about. They were terrible examples for their students.

My kids, when they were in school, only missed school when it was unavoidable (sickness, dentist appointments etc..) or for "school saction" events.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2010
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 2:19pm

 It's funny, I've never heard our school district bring up money issues in relating to school attendance.  The only point I've heard is that students are missing instruction time.  I've not heard the money brought up from a budget point of view (and our district is trying to make cuts and they haven't mentioned this) and the teachers I work with view concern of non-attendance with concnern for the student learning.  I think the loss of instruction time is a very valid enough concern without bringing money into it.  Then again, money matters are the only thing that get some people's attention.

No I don't usually take them out of school for fun stuff.  In the 11 years my children have been students, there was one time we took an extra week off just before or after spring break.  I justified that because I live in Alaska and we were going to Florida.  They did get to visit with relatives on my dh's side of the family (that will never travel to see us--one has passed on since that trip--my dh's aunt) that they would never meet otherwise and see some more of the world outside of our state.  

The other time was a weekend trip & they might have missed 2 days.  It was another time to visit with family--my family who has not been all together, ever since we moved over 25 years ago.  And it was for a wedding, which I was pretty annoyed at because they scheduled it first in July--great for me.  Moved it back to early August--eh getting close to when I have to go back to work/school.  It ended up in late August.  Having it in July would have been great for me, but as usual the world doesn't stop to accomodate my schedule.  : )  

But I don't take them out of school for a mental health day or we're going out town for a local trip that we could easily do on the weekend.  If out of state family/visitors come to visit during the school year, my kids will still go to school and visit with these people on off-school hours.  

Ok I just rememebered one other time that one of my children missed a couple days of school two Octobers in a row--that was to take her for medical appointments to the Mayo clinic in another state, so I don't count that as taking her out for a vacation trip.  We try to keep those trips short, as we have to pay partially for the hotel and of course all the other expenses (eating out).  But I've also found they always want to add on another couple appointments other than what is already scheduled--so I have to leave some days in there extra to go see those doctors--so it's not like we can fly in go to appointments all scheduled in the same day and leave that night.  I was very lucky to be able to schedule her surgery there at Mayo this summer and also the follow up appointment to that before we returned to school.  You have to really plan ahead to be able to do that, because everyone is trying to get things done like that in the summer--at least if they are surgeries that can wait a bit.

“Clearly," said Arthur,"you're an idiot- but you're our kind of idiot. Come on.” 
― Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 4:44pm

I have never taken my kids out of school to go skiing, but I did take one of my kids out of school for a week in second grade to go to Florence with this father.  I considered that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and one he remembers to this day (he is now twenty).  It sparked long-lasting interests in art and architectural history, and in learning Italian.  He took Italian lessons for about five years after that, and Latin for seven years in middle school and high school afterward.  I don't think there's another week of his whole educational career he remembers more vividly.

I took my younger son out of school last Friday, ironically enough.  He'd been invited to an event in Washington DC, where he was being recognized for something he did in school last year, and the only way we could get to the event in the evening was to fly in that morning.  I minimized the amount of time he was gone, but I thought this was important for him to do.  He also got to spend the entire day Saturday in Washington DC, where he requested to go to the National Archives, the US Capitol Building, the National Air and Space Museum, the Museum of American History, and to visit the war memorials (WWII -Korea), the Presidential memorials on the Mall -- Grant, Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Jefferson, as well as the new Martin Luther King memorial.  A wonderful day that he will long remember, and well worth skipping a day of classes for, in my opinion.

My kids have a lot of respect for their teachers.  But going to school is not the same as going to a job.  We hire the teachers, to help with their education.  When they have jobs, they are the employees.  My son does have a job in a fast food restaurant, and he did have to find someone to cover his shifts on Friday and Saturday.  The employer allows them to take occasional personal days if they can find someone to cover the shift.

We are really, really big on education in our home.  My husband and I are both educators.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 3:05pm

Unless it's an emergency teachers are DIScouraged from taking time off when a school year starts, Sept is a critical time for kids and teachers to get acclimated to a new school year and all, I sub and those calls don't typically start until October for that very reason too..  There was one year when my DD started her school year with a sub b/c the regular teacher was still out on maternity leave, The teacher did return after Christmas break but the months before that were insane, I'd exchange emails with her on a regular basis but my kid didn't get to officially meet her until January. 

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 10:14am

Yea...Thinking about how our choices impact others is part of being an adult.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 9:50am

>>I wonder what parents would say if their kids' teachers would take mental health days or holidays during the school year.<<

Some teachers do though. And I stress "some". I have even known a few to schedule surgeries right after summer vacation.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 9:38am

Depending on the child, a day here or there probably isn't a huge deal. However, I don't think parents should be planning annual family vacations during school time because it's cheaper or more convenient. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 8:51am

Do you not think that teaching respect for teachers, those in authority, not important?  And, for a "tool" to be effective, it should be exploited to its fullest.

Sickness and family funerals are unavoidable situations. That's the difference. And one would hope that they are not common occurances.

So, sorry, I have to disagree. My two, both now university graduates, went to school no matter what.  I only took them out only if they were really sick. An extra long weekend to go sking or to visit a relative, nope. That teaches, by example, that their "wants" come first and their obligations come second. 

When they are in the work force, will they then think it is "ok" to take a mental health day or an extra long weekends, whenever they want to?

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