Dear Principal of Supergirl's School;
I recently received a letter from you concerning Supergirl's attendance at school.
While I thank you for your concern, I not only dispute the accuracy of the statement, '6 days tardy', but also the validity of the classification as 'tardy', rather than 'excusable partial days'. Is there no such existence of an 'excusable partial day'?
On only one occasion, Supergirl was 'tardy' within the definition as shown below. On any other occasion that she arrived at school late (or missing more than 30 minutes of instruction), she came to school with a note from a parent, describing (what I would consider to be) an excusable absence.
"EC Section 48260 (a): Any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days or tardy or absent more than any 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof, is a truant and shall be reported to the attendance supervisor or the superintendent of the school district" [source]
Your letter states that I am, as her parent, responsible for her attendance in school. My daughter is six years old, and it is my first responsibility to see that she is healthy, well cared-for, and prepared in a physical and mental state that is appropriate for an educational setting. There have been many days when I have needed to make a decision as a responsible parent, whether or not my daughter meets this criteria for her attendance at school.
If she has had a mysterious fever on a Saturday, and by Monday morning I am not immediately sure of her recovery status and am concerned also about the spread of germs; but by 10:30am, she is 'acting fine' and clearly ready for school, then should I not send her to school with this information, but instead keep her home? If she has had any cause (common nightmares, screaming toddler-brother) for a notable disruption her sleep, and I am unwilling to reduce her necessary hours of sleep by waking her to send her to school on time but in a tired and compromised state, then should I keep her home and notify the school that she is unwell enough to attend school for the entire school day?
I am aware that, if any student has absences which are not considered 'excused absences' according to California Education Code, the school loses funding for that child.
While this is not something I am treating lightly, my obligation is to my child's well-being and in facilitating an appropriate state of mind for learning to occur.
If there is no appropriate label for an excusable partial-day absence, then it seems to me that the school serves itself first, while doing a disservice to a student that could otherwise be attending school.
I want you to reconsider my child's 'status of tardiness' and revise this in some manner that we will both find acceptable.
I would also appreciate a more concise policy on partial-day absences.
(can you say 'homeschooling' faster than 'bullshit'?)