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Skipping School

School attendance is very important.  Let your child know that you expect them to attend school every day and to be to school on time.  Children who miss school can quickly fall behind their peers, miss out on the social aspects of school, and often end up dropping out before graduating.  Researchers estimate that high school graduates earn $1,000,000 more in their lifetime than those who don't graduate.  The future is dimmer without a high school diploma.

Researchers estimate that high school graduates earn $1,000,000 more in their lifetime than those who don't graduate.

In Minnesota, there are only five legal reasons a child can miss school:

  • Religious Holiday
  • Illness
  • Medical Appointments (although appointments should be made after-school if at all possible)
  • Extreme family emergency (e.g. funerals)
  • Mental Illness (only excused with a note from a Mental Health Provider)

If your child starts having problems with school attendance, talk with them to find out “why” they are avoiding school.  If they are having problems at school, deal with them promptly by talking with teachers or other school staff.  Remove avoidable excuses (i.e. no clean clothes, exaggerating minor aches and pains, being late).  Track attendance on your calendar so you’ll know how much school is being missed.  Establish consequences for missing school. 

Don’t wait until your child is struggling to keep up in class to address any attendance issues.  Request a meeting to discuss how you can help your child improve their attendance.

Too many absences make it difficult for a child to keep up in school and to feel a part of their class and their school

Maintain frequent contact with the school.  If you are concerned your child might be skipping school or coming to school late, call the school attendance line (usually provided in your school handbook).  If this is a recorded line, leave a message with your telephone number and a good time to reach you and ask to have someone follow-up with you to discuss your child’s attendance. 

If a child misses school for any reason other than the five legal reasons listed above, including missing or being kicked off the school bus, getting up late, babysitting, family vacation, or bad weather, the school is required by law to report the unexcused absences to the Ramsey County Attorneys Office which can result in a referral to the appropriate Truancy Intervention Program.