Excuses Not Allowed

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Excuses Not Allowed

Tiffany ortiz

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Tiffany Ortiz

Excuses Not Allowed

              Whether you have a bad case of the flu or a terrible cold that will not go away, the State of New Jersey decided that schools should no longer accept doctor excuse notes as valid absences from school.

According to the State of New Jersey Board of Education pamphlet, New Jersey is suffering a strong case of chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is defined in New Jersey’s Every student succeeds act (ESSA) State Plan as “the percentage of a school’s students who are not present for 10 percent or more of the days that that they were in membership at a school.”

According to NJ.com, in New Jersey alone, about 31 percent of our schools reported a case of chronic absenteeism rates above 10 percent. About 3,754 students are chronically absent in grades K-12 throughout Jersey City alone throughout the school year. In all 12 districts in New jersey the total amount of chronically absent students is about 8,013 per school year.

In order to avoid this trend of absences, the Board of Education decided to eliminate reasons for students not to come to school primarily, because of absences due to illness. In the past, many schools’ policies made it possible for a student to bring a signed doctor’s note as a valid excuse note to come to school. The only difference between the policies in UACHS and other schools’ is that students are only allowed 4 absences in one marking period according to the UACHS student handbook.

According to NJ.gova, the only valid excused absences are for religious observances, bring your child to work day, and 3 college visits per year.

Jaime Tlatelpa, a junior here at UACHS, was not happy to hear of the news when he tried to give in an excuse note after being absent from school.

“I was mad because I go to many dentist appointments every month and it’s not my fault I have to miss school. My dentist’s office usually always has spots open on weekdays. I at least had an excuse unlike others who don’t come to school just because they don’t want to,” said Tlatelpa.

Louis Gallo, attendance officer here at UACHS, thinks that the policy is a little harsh but understands the states reasons for putting it in action and explained one of the reasons the Department of Education implemented this rule.  

“ I think it’s a bit harsh but I do understand why the Department of Education of New Jersey implemented it,  too many people were getting doctors notes from their doctors for days that they were not at their doctor and also students were forging doctor notes on a doctors stationary so there were a lot of illegitimate things going on,” said Gallo.

Although doctors notes are no longer valid, students are still expected to hand in a doctor’s note if absent due to illness.

“We still require those because we need to know that the students absences are indeed legitimate  and that they are not taken for frivolous reasons. I create a login to powerschool so that it gets filed in the nurse’s office although it does not excuse the absence unfortunately,” said Gallo.

This rule also has its exceptions depending on the reason you are missing school.

“If a student is recovering from surgery or an accident or something and it puts them out of school for more than 4 days, the student most likely is eligible for homeschooling in which case has its own regulatory attendance so with that they will not be marked absent for that,” said Gallo.

With this new policy in place, it is important for all students to attend school and not use their limited absences frivolously. Although staff members agree that the attendance policy will bring issues, they also admit that students should attend school, and be cautious of the days they miss.

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Excuses Not Allowed