According to the school district that my children attend, parents are acting irresponsibly if they schedule a vacation during a time that school is in session.
This was brought to light recently as a friend of mine is planning a family vacation that will result in their kids being out of school. When they notified the school that their children would be absent due to the vacation, they received a letter from the school principal as well as their children’s teachers stressing the importance of regular attendance.
The letter indicated that parents need to demonstrate responsibility for their children attending school and that the school discouraged parents from taking students out of school for a vacation.
Here is an excerpt from the Parent Handbook distributed by the school,
Families are strongly encouraged to plan vacations/trips during school holidays and over the summer months. If your child is going to be absent, other than illness related, for more than two (2) consecutive school days, you need to complete the REQUEST FOR SPECIAL ABSENCE (blue form) located at the back of this handbook. Any request for an absence of four (4) or more consecutive days will result in a letter from the principal stressing the importance of regular attendance. If your child will miss more than ten (10) consecutive school days, you must withdraw your student from school and re-enroll him/her when you return.
There is a similar section in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Code that indicates,
Parent/guardians are discouraged from taking students out of school for vacation or for non-school sponsored events. Any absence from school is a serious handicap; not only to the individual student, but also to our entire school system.
When I was a child and my parents took me out of school for a family vacation, I don’t recall my parents receiving any type of letter indicating that they were being irresponsible. I do remember my teacher assigning me a project to maintain a journal on my vacation and then provide a report to the class upon my return.
Instead of being chastised for taking a vacation, I remember my school embracing it as a learning opportunity outside of the normal lessons found in the classroom.
I strongly believe that traveling with your children opens a wealth of learning opportunities and is something I would like to do much more with my own children. Giving your children the chance to explore new cultures, customs, and experiences is hard to duplicate inside the classroom.
Apparently the school system no longer believes that to be true.
Or do they no longer feel there is value in a family vacation because the amount of their state and federal funding is determined by school attendance and test scores?
What is the real motivation behind these warnings from the school?