Missing School for Family Vacations, illegal??

Missing School for Family Vacations, Could it be illegalI had a great post planned and ready to go today, then the news was on the background and I heard the oddest report. They were discussing that in some states it is illegal to take your children out of school for a family vacation. Not frowned upon, not discouraged, illegal. Please note that I do not feel strongly one way or the other on this topic but it really peaked my interest. It got me asking a couple questions.

What would parents think if this truly was enforced in their school district?

I know plenty of friends who have taken their children out of class for family vacations. They justify it as their schedule and the fact that it was the best time for the family. Family time is super important. These are memories you cannot get back. These are memories that you want to share and have your children experience. Education children get outside of the classroom is just as important as time inside the classroom; all valid thoughts.

I have also heard, they will catch up without much stress, the teacher will work to help them. Who cares if they have to stay late for help once or twice to catch up, the memories will be totally worth it. I would imagine if a parent took a child on a trip to Disney lets say and the child missed a week of class, this would put the child slightly behind but there is always a justification.

I understand the reasoning. Prices for traveling during school times are lower, much lower. Parents have tough schedules too and a lot of people cannot take time off at most work places at once. This leaves all of the parents fighting for time around winter, spring and summer breaks.

Now lets say that they are picking up their mail one day and receive a letter from the state with a fine enclosed; like a ticket for $600 dollars. (Please note I am taking these figures from a very real situation which happened overseas in Britain)  If you fail to pay this amount you could face jail time. Jail time for a family vacation! I bet you would think twice about taking that family trip.

Jail time for a family vacation! I bet you would think twice about taking that family trip. Click To Tweet

What do teachers think about this policy?

I asked some friends of mine who are teachers and they echoed the same sentiments which were mentioned in the news report.

It is tough for teachers when the students miss a bunch of days in a row and do not have to. They are the ones who put in the extra work. They are the ones who have to provide the “make-up” assignments and prepare the homework early. They are the ones who will need to take the extra time to help the student catch up. The thing they kept repeating was that they do not mind doing these things necessarily, if the child is sick or there is a death in the family, but it all came down to reason. You cannot blame the teachers, they don’t get overtime for it.

They stated that it is different based on the different children. Some kids can catch up, no problem, others miss a day and they might as well miss a month. Parent involvement was also a factor. Do these parents take the time to help their children or are the teachers lucky to know what they look like? How long was the absence? There is a big difference between missing one day for a long weekend and missing a week. I also noticed the ones with younger students, K-3rd grade did not have AS big of a problem as my friends who teach middle and high school. However, no matter the grade, no one thought it should be illegal. The general consensus was that was a bit of an overreaction, no matter the annoyance it caused them.

So I am dying to know…what do you think? Is calling this an illegal absence or making it plain illegal an overreaction? Have you done it?


The Perfectionist Mom

If you are interested here is the NYTimes article they were referring to

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  1. As a teacher, it is slightly annoying to have kids missing class a TON, but for a couple days really isn’t a big deal as long as the students, parents, and I have a plan.

    Everyone needs to lighten up and enjoy life!
    Amanda @ queenofthelandoftwigsnberries recently posted…Heartwarming Vegetarian MealsMy Profile

    1. I agree with you Amanda everyone needs to calm down a little bit. When I was in school I cannot imagine anyone ever even thought about this. My parents took us out once in a rare blue moon and really only when we were in elementary school. We learned a lot while on vacation but I see how it could have been tough on the teachers.

  2. My parents often took me out of school for family trips, and I took all my homework with me in advance. I didn’t get behind but I still got to have time with my family. I think it is just so wrong to make this illegal. It is the parents’ decision if they want to take their kid out of school for any reason and making this one specific type of excused absence illegal is absurd to me.
    Julie S. recently posted…I purchased a new car, this time for realMy Profile

    1. They are no longer considering trips an excused absence. I personally never fell behind when I was little either but I know a couple of kids who might. I think they are taking it a bit extreme to make there a big consequence.

  3. I definitely don’t think it should be illegal. The parents should, however, have the children take their assignments to work on in the evenings if theirs is a child who can’t catch up easily after a few days off.
    Donella Crigger recently posted…15 Craveworthy Pie RecipesMy Profile

  4. Love your post. This question definitely generated a lot of chatter on my FB page. I love how you added the teacher perspective and I completely agree, I think it can depend on the kids and the parents. When you have kids that are good students with involved parents who are going to follow through on completing missed work, great. However, that might not be the case with some families. Illegal, no way, but people do need to be considerate of school holidays and the extra time teachers may have to put in.
    Kirsten recently posted…How to Apply for a Passport for Your KidsMy Profile

    1. I think this was perfectly put Kirsten. I agree you need to know your child and yourself and be honest. Are you going to help your child if they need extra attention from being behind or is that something you just don’t have time for. That should be a consideration before booking that trip.

  5. As a former private school principal, I had no problem with kids missing school for a vacation trip with their parents as long as they worked it all out with the teachers, kept up with their school work and didn’t abuse the rules. I think it’s ridiculous for this to be considered illegal and another way for the government to take away parental rights.
    Alli recently posted…Game Day Recipes with Ritz Crackers & CokeMy Profile

    1. Thank you for this perspective. I agree that making it illegal is taking it too far.

  6. I think the parents should be considerate of the teacher and their child’s education. I think the parent should be willing to teach the information that is being missed over the vacation and not expect the teacher to take extra time staying after school to catch their kids up. I homeschool my children, but if my kids were in school I would not plan a vacation during the school year.
    Sonya recently posted…Gulity Pleasures #ourproject52 Week 3My Profile

    1. I understand from some perspectives ($$) why people take trips during the school year and I think there is a big difference between one day and one week but I agree that homework should be given while the vacation is going on and expected to be returned the day the student returns. That is part of having children, you have to make sure they learn what they need to keep up.

  7. With my husbands travel schedule for work we like to tag along to places we haven’t been and I think if we’re lucky enough to go on the trip we aren’t going to miss it. With that said at this point we are also going to be homeschooling because there is that possibility they would miss a good bit of school doing this. But both my parents are teachers and they are fine if the students and parents come and speak to them about the class work before hand.

    1. I think some of it has to do with the teachers too. Every person is different and each teacher is going to have a different opinion on the subject. I think a lot has to do with their students and the parents, are they active in their child’s education? If not it might be more difficult. With that said I am with you that if you can homeschool and travel double win!

  8. Over the years my son has missed 1-2 days for planned vacations but we live in NC where school districts are closed for cold weather and spring break has the most make-up days. Did I feel this was illegal? No! I’m with Allie on this one, as long as teachers know and students aren’t missing any major assignments or exams I see no problem with it.
    Demetrice recently posted…The Sigma Life | 1.22.15My Profile

    1. I agree. I am of the big mindset that one or two days is VERY different from one or two weeks. In the article I found on the NYTimes they also make the point that if your child is on block scheduling missing a couple days is like missing a week. It all depends on timing.

  9. WOW! I can honestly share that I did not know in some states this was a rule that cannot be broken. I guess I didn’t know because I never attempted to take my girls on vacation during school time/schedules. Thanks for sharing this! Now I am aware of this an will see if my state includes this too. My kids are small (ages 7 & 4) so I really don’t want to take a vacation when school is in anyways.

    Thanks again, GOOD STUFF!!!

    Janelle recently posted…[VIDEO] Mompreneur Web Tools FAVORITE – #5:My Profile

    1. Thank you. I had never heard of this either but I was also not big in the mommy loop now I pay attention lol. It is a very interesting and kind of odd topic. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Illegal? Hmmm… I don’t think this should be illegal. However, I’m the daughter of a retired school worker and my mother never planned vacations during school time. I know that that worked for us because naturally, she had the same schedule I did. Honestly, though, I have never heard until this post of parents taking their kids on vacations when school is in session. I think it’s inconsiderate of their teacher(s) and their education. Family time is valuable, but again, that’s what evenings, weekends and holidays are for.
    FabEllis recently posted…Learn More About Me – 10 Questions TagMy Profile

  11. For the first time last year I took my daughters out of school for a couple of days to go to Orlando. I feel that school work can be made up and families need to take a vacation when it is convenient for them.

    Now, if the kids are missing a lot of school days like over a week that is a different story.

  12. I notice most of the argument has to do with whether or not kids should or should not be taken out of school and while I personally believe this should be avoided if at all possible, that is not what the argument should be. PARENTS have rights to choose what the believe is best for their own children. It is a slippery slope that should be avoided at all costs to allow this type of government intrusion into the rights we have as parents!

  13. Wow. We’ve taken our kids out of school for a family reunion with extended family that we only see once every 2 or 3 years. Our school made it clear that the absence would be marked as unexcused and that my kids wouldn’t be able to get their work ahead of time to take with them – which I thought was reasonable. They’re only in elementary school so it wasn’t a big deal, anyway. I imagine it will be harder as they get older.

    Followed you over here from the Mommy Moments link up. Enjoying your blog! Thanks for the food for thought.
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…How To Get Your Kids to Clean Their RoomMy Profile

  14. I had never heard this before. I have no problem taking my son out of school for a family vacation. Thanks for sharing this with us at the #HomeMattersParty this week. We hope you will link up again next Friday.
    Bonnie recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #21My Profile

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