Chicago-area school districts are attempting to crack down on students who miss class to go on vacation.
Parents removing students for vacation in Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C must alert the office ahead of time, and the absences still are considered unexcused, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Principals in Oak Park Elementary School District 97 keep track of students’ missed days on a monthly basis and call home when attendance falls below 95 percent in an effort to curb absences unrelated to illness.
Michael Szopinski, principal of Young Elementary School in Homer Glen, said students will be missing out on valuable instruction time in these cases.
“Many kids, they do need multiple times of practice from the teacher in order to understand certain concepts and skills. And when they’re gone, they lose those opportunities,” Szopinski said. “You can’t replace what you’re getting from a classroom teacher.”
Efforts to discourage vacations during school time frustrate some parents as they try to balance the importance of school with time off work, peak travel prices and family bonding.
“Once they get to second grade, I would be a lot more careful,” said Jen Gorlewski, a Naperville resident who took her 5-year-old girls out of school this year for a family cruise. “But they’re going to remember these vacations forever, not whether they were at school on a Thursday or Friday.”
Frankfort resident Melanie Koreman said she and her husband have pulled their three children out of school for travel for over a decade.
“I’ve never once had a teacher that’s not encouraging about it,” she said.
The State Board of Education allows school districts to handle most of the debate around days off for vacation. The state school code defines a student as habitually absent when he or she is done without valid cause for 5 percent or more of the last 180 regular attendance days — far more than typically involved in vacation absences.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com