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No More Vacations During School

The Troy school board tightened its policy on parents allowing children to miss class.

Mickey and Minnie are going to have to wait.

Starting this year, when Troy students miss school because of a family vacation, the days are considered unexcused absences. This is regardless of whether the parents call the school.

Troy was one of the last districts in the area that didn't have this policy in place, according to district Superintendent Don White. Now Troy is in line with other local districts.

Research supports that being in class is the best way students learn, White said, admitting that he struggled with this particular policy.

But White said he likes to err on the side of students receiving a better education.

When students are in class, teachers can perceive if they have grasped the material and make necessary adjustments in the explanation if needed.

"Just doing a worksheet isn't going to do it," White said.

Excused absences include illness, a death in the family, religious holidays, or a family emergency. A student will also be excused if required to appear for a court appearance.

Unexcused absences include oversleeping, non-emergency transportation or family issues, vacation, and illness nine or more days without medical documentation.

Parents must notify the school office in order to be considered an excused absence.

Also, the district added a week of vacation around Thanksgiving to help make vacation travel easier.

These changes in the policy come at the same time as a new Illinois law cracking down on truancy. Starting this school year, a child is considered truant if he or she misses nine or more days of school without an excuse. Previously, that number was 18 days.

In the event of a student missing nine days without an excuse, the school is required to report the child to the Will County truancy officer.

The next steps involve the officer making contact with the parents. If the situation does not improve, parents could find themselves in front of a judge.

"It's not a huge problem (at Troy), however, I'd say we have maybe 5 to 10 percent attendance issues, and not for legitimate reasons," White said.

The superintendent wanted to dispel the myth that the district is changing the policy to get more money from the state. Because of the size of the district and how the funding is calculated, the attendance issue does not affect the finances. 

"In Troy, we don't see enough money from the state to make a difference here," he said. "It really is about the learning."

Should parents have any questions or concerns, White invited them to call their principals or the district office to discuss. The district can be reached at 815-577-6760.

Flora Dora September 16, 2011 at 02:26 PM
How did Erin's article about penalizing absentee children devolve into an argument about creationism and home schooling?
Tim September 16, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Some people felt it isn't the schools place to tell the parents when to take vacations with their children. They then went on to describe how this is why they home school their children to avoid these 'rules'. While it may be hard to follow the conversation because some posters chose to ignore the reply button, and just post wherever they felt like, the comments still show how the conversation ended up discussing homeschooled children. And since a large majority of homeschooled children are kept out of public schools because the parents don't want their children 'exposed' to such ideas as evolution and the scientific method, we ended up talking about creationism and the parents unhealthy individual ego complex as well.
Jay September 16, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Who is schooling Christine's children while she is spending all her time on internet message boards defending creationism and home schooling? With her as their key educator, how will those kids build social skills in order to fit into society?
Flora Dora September 16, 2011 at 06:40 PM
You're welcome!
Kathy B October 19, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Hmmm... so you go under the wire and take the trip as scheduled... what do ya tell the school office when you call in? Or do you call your child in with the *cough* "flying flu".

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