Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday OverThink #1, courtesy of Paolo's Elementary School

The perpetrator of the very first Thursday OverThink is not me, which is odd because I felt like I was in the running. We’re flying down to Florida next week to visit my family, which means Paolo will miss four days of school. I mentioned his impending absence to his teacher, who told me it wasn’t a big deal because he’s doing really well, but I would need to send a note to the office. Remember those notes your mom scribbled on the back of an envelope for you to take to school on the day AFTER your absence? This is how I roll:

To Whom It May Concern:
Please excuse Paolo’s absence from school Monday, November 17 through Thursday, November 21. We are traveling to Florida to visit family. I have already spoken with Ms. C. about take-home assignments and lessons to review with Paolo during his absence. Please contact me should you have any questions or concerns.
Best regards,
Paolo’s Excruciatingly Proper Mother
Imagine my surprise when I was informed that, because the absence was greater than three days, I had to fill out a special form for the principal to review. The form is printed on legal-size paper, stating the regulations governing excused vs. unexcused absences from school, and requiring inordinate amounts of information from me. For example, if the absence is for a family trip, state with detail the educational opportunities that will be afforded to your child. Attach additional pages if necessary. I kid you not.

I considered picking one of the established excused absence reasons, and just lying, but I’m too honest and too scared of getting caught. So now I wait to see if the principal decides to excuse the absence. I’m not confident of my chances, considering the form was supposed to have been submitted two weeks ago. Why is it is such a big deal to have the four days excused? Because a child who has four unexcused absences in a semester will not receive credit for the semester.

Along with the stress of getting the family packed up and flying halfway across the country with two children, I am now sweating whether my son will flunk out of kindergarten. Elementary School, lighten up. You have overthought your attendance policy.

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