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The Reality Of Missing School And Chronic Absenteeism

For many of us school really just started – and not a moment too soon! I know you know exactly what I am talking about. That small celebration that goes on in your head after the school shopping is done and you cry a few tears after dropping them off for their first day back. FREEDOM. Even if just for a little while.

Or maybe you are like me and you had one more quick trip, that was work related, but also meant a quick and fun vacation for the family. And for us, that also meant one of our kids wasn’t starting school on time. It was only one day, and I felt guilty about it, but I also knew that I had every resource I needed to ensure that he did NOT fall behind from missing that day.


Unfortunately, there are millions of kids across the U.S. who miss days like that every single week and they do not have what they need at home to make sure they do not fall behind. A student who misses just two days of school each month—eighteen days total in the year—is considered to be chronically absent. However, many parents don’t realize that, even when absences are excused or understandable, absences add up and can greatly impact a child’s education. In the United States, more than six million children are chronically absent from school each year.

Some parents may not even realize what is happening, while others know it is happening and may not understand the impact it is having on their child’s education.

“My child isn’t getting good grades.” By getting your child extra help—through tutoring, mentoring, personalized education plans and online learning resources, you can help your child improve their academic performance.

“My child is being bullied at school.” Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior where one or more children use social or physical power to intimidate their peers or make them feel unsafe.

“My child is often sick or doesn’t feel good.” Your child’s doctor can work with you to identify symptoms and treat potential health issues to give them a better chance of curing or managing illness. And even if your child has a chronic health condition, such as asthma, diabetes, oral health or vision problems, your school’s nurse or counselor can help provide medical support throughout the school day.

“My child helps care for another family member at home.” It’s often difficult or impossible to plan in advance for what’s needed to care for all the members of your family. But if your child is missing school in order to help care for another family member—or if your caring for that person prevents you from helping your child get to school—it can negatively impact your child’s long-term success.

“Our family is struggling with mental or emotional health.” As a parent, you may worry about the challenges your child is coping with during the school day and question whether it’s better for them to stay home or go to school. But missing school can end up reinforcing anxiety rather than making it better. Getting help from a qualified professional and developing relationships with your child’s teachers and school counselors are your family’s best bet when addressing a mental or emotional health challenge.

“Our family is having difficulties with housing or food.” School and aftercare programs are great places to ensure that children’s nutritional and physical needs are being met. When school is out, parents can also help address their children’s food needs by enrolling their children in summer learning programs. Beyond effectively reducing summer learning loss, 86% of these programs provide kids with at least one meal or snack each day and 74% offer more than just a snack.


SPREAD THE MESSAGE! If you know someone who needs help or can get this message to someone who does – please spread the word.

  • Did you know that missing two days of school each month makes it less likely a child will graduate from high school? #AbsencesAddUp
  • Twelve family emergency days + six vacation days = risk of not making it to graduation day. Visit today. #AbsencesAddUp

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