bilingualism in California

Lying to an Arrogant State

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Dear Parent:

Your child’s success is important to us…(She) has had at least 3 days unexcused absences (sic) since the beginning of the  school year… state law requires parents to have their children attend school unless the child is ill, has a medical appointment, is attending the funeral of an immediate family member, or …an authorized religious activity. ( Cal. Ed. Codes: 46010.46014.18200.48205.48260.48290)… By law, absences for most other reasons are unexcused. … a child is truant if the student has an unexcused absence and/or is more than 30 minutes tardy three or more days in one school year.  … Your child is now considered truant… If the pattern continues we are required to hold a School Attendance Review Board (SARB) hearing and you and your child may face penalties for failure to comply with the state law.  These include referrals to the District Attorney, Juvenile Court, student work permit and drivers (sic) license sanctions and/or involuntary school transfers…”

Sincerely, Xxxxxx  Yyyyyyy,

Coordinator, Attendance Improvement/S.A.R.B. ( bold emphasis is mine.)

I had once foolishly confessed to the tape recorded non person, somwhere in the school recorder, that our youngest child would be absent to attend a family gathering; and on another occasion for two days for her sister’s graduation from USC. Thereafter I received the above notice by mail. Our daughter is a very good student, but, to judge from the rather abrasive notice, whether a child is succeeding academically seems irrelevant to an arrogant state that even claims the right to determine which deaths, and which religious activities are proper.

It’s pretty hard to change the law on the spur of the moment or to convince a law-abiding public school employee to break the letter of that law. The parent who actually has responsibility for the whole child, or who actually takes into account much touted but little respected Family Values, may find it best to invent an  acceptable death or illness in the child’s best interest to avoid the effect of a well-intended  but arrogantly and stupidly enacted law.

Parental Conclusion # 1: It is wise to lie to school authorities in order to spend the day with your child for non approved religious or family matters, or the death of a non approved person.

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