Why is it all about attendance?

Kelsi Seltenreich, Memorial Staff Writer

Far too many teens are saying “Mom, I know I’m sick, but can I still go to school to keep my exemption?”

To qualify for an (exemption) on a semester test, students must have no more than three excused absences per class and three or less tardies total. Absences for State, school, in-school activity, death in immediate family and college visits for seniors all do not count against receiving an exemption, yet unfortunately sickness and non-school activities do.

Students have absolutely no control over becoming ill, and when they do become sick, the best remedy is typically (rest). Even though the rational thing to do when becoming sick is to stay home from school, students still attend to save their exemption. When they do this, not only do they not recover, but germs are spread to other students, continuing the cycle.

Another thing that hurts exemptions are absences from programs not sponsored by the school. For example, if there is an Olympic caliber tennis player that misses four days of school because they are training, whether they have a 4.0 grade point average or not, they still lose their ability to exempt a test, whereas an average student with a lower GPA can still exempt their test because they only missed two days.

The students that don’t care about this rule are not affected, leaving the star students to fight off their illness and miss out on activities in fear of losing their exemption.

There are many opportunities for athletes, actors, models, artists and countless others that prepare them for their future. If they have good grades, they should receive an exemption whether they missed some school to prepare for their future or not.

There is a simple solution to this issue: exemptions shouldn’t be about attendance if the reason is justified. Not taking one final test shouldn’t come at such a cost, especially if the student is working as hard as they possibly can to achieve greatness. After all, isn’t school’s main purpose to prepare students to succeed in life?

Contact Kelsi Seltenreich at [email protected]