Starting at the age of six, most children will start school. By the age of eighteen most of us have graduated high school. In most schools students are required to attend class Monday through Friday with little variation. Students across America are kept in schools until the age of sixteen. They are then able to drop out if they choose. Most will continue on to receive their high school diploma but some who choose to drop out may later decide to earn a GED. In society today, it is hard to get a job without a high school diploma. Many students feel forced to go to school. However, there are juridic controls on how long a student goes to school, and policies on absents.
In many schools, there is a policy on attending classes. For many it is stated that once a student is in class, they may not leave the school until class is over for the day. If a student is to miss school for the day, it is required for the guardian to notify the school by phone or a signed note. There are limited reasons for missing school. Some may include a doctor’s visit, illness, or a family emergency. These are “excused” absents. The “unexcused” absents fall in the category of ditching school, or purposefully missing. If a student’s guardian did not call in or send a note this could result in an unexcused absent. Each school has their own rules and policies on absentees. They may have different consequences if these rules are broken. Here is one example: The first two are passed as a warning. By the third one, a student receives a pink slip. A pink slip could result in detention, or if the student continued to have unexcused absents, a 10% grade deduction for every class. This did not always exist. When my grandparents were children, they often miss school, whether it is because of the weather or because the family needs help on the farm. Students were not given pink slips. Nor were they expected to call ahead of time. Students were just responsible for catching up on their homework. It was understood that some students had responsibility on the farm.
I remember my junior year. We were reading the Miracle Worker. It is not a bad play, but my family had moved a lot and I had already read the play four times and seen the movie three. The last thing I wanted to do was read it again. I had seriously contemplated skipping that one class. Then I realized that a grade reduction would not be beneficial. It was just a burden. There was so much else that I could have done with my time. I felt like I was not being challenged. Many other students feel the same way. That is one of the reasons that students skip classes. Several of the smartest students in my grade skipped school. None of the classes challenged them; they were bored. When students become bored this becomes a burden for them to sit through class. What is the point of learning something that you have already learned? Since they cannot skip class, what are they supposed to do to instead?
There are not many ways to miss school without punishment, although there are a few. The captains in our school were given special privileges. They were allowed to get all the players on the team for practice. Often times they would leave much earlier than was necessary. Although this was not exactly fair, it gave the athletes extra time to get ready. This usually meant that they would get to miss the last half an hour of class. Another way that students were able to miss class was through clubs. If a student was involved in a club, they were often let out of class early. Another way is to avoid public schools altogether. Students can be home schooled. In this way they learn what the need to without the requirement of being in school so many hours everyday.