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Zero Tolerance — the Next Step

The Waterbury, Conn., Board of Education has announced plans to crack down on student absences. Only proof of a “serious chronic illness” would suffice to excuse a child from school under its new plan. “We now are looking for school to be the priority,” said Kennedy High School assistant principal Michael Yamin, who served on a committee to draft the new regulations. “I think we need a policy with some teeth in it,” said Walsh School Principal Erik Brown. Try this on for size: even a letter from a doctor would not be enough to excuse an absence, the new policy says, and appeals by parents for any absence ruled “unexcused” would be limited to one each for elementary, middle and high school. A fine of $25 per absence would be enforced by sending police officers along on home visits by attendance monitors. (RC/Waterbury Republican-American) ...One guess as to whether this policy applies to teachers, school administrators, and School Board members.
Author’s Note: The BOE apparently backed off over the years. In early 2013, I find that Board of Education policy reads that “Any student enrolled in the Waterbury School System in grades K-5 whose combined excused and unexcused absences exceeded 19 days automatically receives a grade of incomplete for all subjects. Failures due to absences may be appealed to an Appeals Board. Appeals must be made within 5 days of issuance of report cards. The initiation of the appeals process is the sole responsibility of the parent/guardian of the student.”
Publication Date: 02 July 2006
This story is in True’s book collection, Volume 13.

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