Wednesday, February 20, 2008


tru·ant : one who shirks duty; especially : one who stays out of school without permission

Today when I arrived home there was a sealed manila envelope on the table. It was addressed to us from the school. Curious, I opened the envelope and found the following:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. R:

Many studies have shown that regular attendance is essential for a pupil to gain the most from his/her educational opportunity. On the other hand truancy has the potential of diminishing a student's chances of meeting their goals and graduating.

It is my responsibility to inform you that, according to our attendance records, Tyler is a truant from school......

etc etc etc

etc etc and so on and so on

A copy of this letter is being sent to the district's Child Welfare and Attendance Liason as a notice of this serious problem.


Principal _____

WHAT ?????????

Did I mention our son is in the 4th Grade???? Did I mention we take him to school every day? Did I mention that he goes to school except when he has thrown up or has a fever? Did I mention he reports to extracuricular homework club every day after school. Or how about the is the kicker folks, I was in a meeting with the principal, his teacher, the district psychologist, the resource specialist and my husband on Feb. 14 2008 and NOOOO mention was ever made of this little issue? Tyler was recently diagnosed as having ADD (another extrememly long post as it's been an ongoing battle with the school)and we had a meeting last week where the school finally acknowledged that he should qualify for special services. THE EXACT same day that the principal then signed and mailes us this very letter. SAY WHAT???!!!!

Upon further investigation it appears that my son is a truant because in October he missed three days of school for an extended weekend trip to Houston to visit his elderly Great Grandparents and all extended family. While in Houston we visited the Museum of Natural History, The Butterfly Gardens and several bookstores. He saw the dinosaur exhibit, a mummy exhibit and an IMAX film about ancient Egypt. He saw an insect exhibit and learned about Lucy's Legacy and the History of Ethiopia. Probably far more educational than what he picks up on a day to day basis. Apparantly this trip which we notified the school about and his teacher (that no one ever made mention of as being a problem), got my son labeled as a truant.

Can you tell I am a little mad? I will be at the school bright and early tomorrow. My friend was kind enough to investigate this for me with her friend who is a Vice Principal at another public school in our district. Apparently this is protocol for our state now (don't you love CA, the most expensive state to live in and some of the worst schools in the country). They have to send these letters out if a child has more than three non-medical absences. This still makes me livid and I think the principal might have mentioned it in one of our many recent meetings. I am hoping Tyler never catches wind of any of this as I don't like the idea of labeling a child for something they had no control over.

Unfortunately after coming home to this we then caught Tyler in a whopper of a lie and needless to say he is going to be grounded for quite awhile, then my husband and I managed to take the whole thing out on each other and got in a whopper of an argument. day SUCKED!

Thanks for listening.


JuJu - said...

Man ole man could you and I have dished it up and out over some starbucks last night!!!!!!!!!!!!
after an insane past week - I also ended up at the school yesterday!

You know it is hard enough to see your child struggle and have to FIGHT to get them help - but then to get THAT slap in the face - makes you want to poke them in the eye - I know it does;)

Sorry you had a crappy day - thinking about you and from one "crappy dayer" to another - I am sending you and your family a big hug:)


Christina said...

That sucks BIG time. Hope your having a better day today.

Natalie C. said...

I would be right up at he school too...Please keep us posted on what happened....I hate to hear that you and your husband fought...that's never fun...hope today goes better.

Pam said...

Hi, I just came across your blog and can understand your frustration over the truancy letter. I am an elementary school principal and just wanted you to know that unfortunatly when a student misseds so many school days that are not documented by a doctor excuse we are required to mail those letters by the state department and local school board requirements.(Not a part of the job we like, and often send by school secretaries). I hope this makes you feel a little better. Although I have never heard of sending a child's attendance to children's services before. Here we just take them to court where the judge always says, "Just do better", no matter how many days have been missed. And family vacations here are excused if there are not too many. I hope all goes well with your meeting over the attendance letter. I have enjoyed reading your blog:)

Tracey said...

I can't believe the school sent that out after missing 3 days...EXCUSED! The school I taught at waits til day 10 to send anything(which is way too long)! I would be at the school first thing in the morning as well. Your children are so lucky to have parents that are INVOLVED! Let us know how it goes!

Carrie said...

That is ridiculous. It sounds like he learned more in Houston than in school. It is soooo frustrating and maddening and a waste of time now to have to go to the school.

Yes, we used to live in CA and even though we did not have children then were well aware of the schools and their ranking. My friends daughter couldn't read and it wasn't discovered by the school until 4th grade--she was copying others before then and now she goes to Sylvan Learning Center and is doing fine.

Your day has to be better today! Hugs, Carrie

Kelly said...

WTF???????????? I would be absolutely livid ...that is absolutely ridiculous and to not even mention it the days of your meetings in uncomprehensible! What a bunch of asses!

Natalie C. said...

What ever happened at Tylers school?