Archive for the ‘Truancy’ Category

Why Time Magazine Might Have Got it Wrong

December 13, 2019


I have some points to make about the decision to award Greta Thunberg as Time Person of the Year.


  1. I think it’s fantastic that a teenager won this prestigious award. It is vital that our youth have role models. There are too many teenagers who are totally unaware of the world around them and have few insights on big-picture issues. I hope Greta’s recognition makes it cool for young people to engage socially and politically.
  2. The slurs against Greta from Donald Trump and haters on social media is absolutely out of line. She is a teenager, and even though she has chosen to become a public face and celebrity figure, we should never, ever forget that she is a minor. Picking on kids is not acceptable.
  3. This doesn’t mean that her style of messaging can’t be criticised. I have long wondered whether scaring young children on climate change is the right approach. Already there have been reports in psychological journals detailing how the doom and gloom style of messaging is causing anxiety and depression in our young children.
  4. My main issue with Greta receiving the award is that, from what I’m told, she does not attend school. This troubles me. I must make it clear. I am not judging Greta personally for not attending school. I am not completely aware of her own personal circumstances, so it would be inappropriate for me to pass judgement. However, widely speaking, I am not in favour of giving prestigious awards to kids that don’t go to school.

In fact, I think the pro-education message is much stronger than the pro-climate message. The more we tackle school refusal and truancy the more likely we will be able to foster generations of kids who will have the tools to speak up about the climate and any other major issue affecting our world.


Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can download a free ebook copy by clicking here or buy a copy by clicking on this link.


Unintentionally Funny Excuses Written by Parents

July 26, 2014


These are real excuses by parents courtesy of


1. My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take PE today. Please execute him.


2. Please exkuce lisa for being absent she was sick and I had her shot.


3. Dear school: please ecsc’s john being absent on jan . 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.


4. Please excuse gloria from jim today. She is administrating.


5. Please excuse roland from p.e. For a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip..


6. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.


7. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.


8. Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.


9. Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.


10. Please excuse ray Friday from school.. He has very loose vowels.


11. Please excuse Lesli from being absent yesterday. She had the sh*ts.


12. Please excuse tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea, and his boots leak.


13. Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.


14. Please excuse jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.


15. I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because I don’t know what size she wear.


16. Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday. We thought it was Sunday.


17. Sally won’t be in school a week from Friday We have to attend her funeral.


18. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the marines.


19. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.


20. Please excuse Mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.


21. Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover…


22. Please excuse Brenda . She has been sick and under the doctor.


23. Maryann was absent December 11-16, because she had a fever, sorethroat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever an sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn’t the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.


24. Toney could not make it in because me alarm clark didn’t go off because I was tired after partying all night.


25. Amy did not do her homework last night because we went out to a party and did not get home until late. If she is tired, please let her sleep during recess time.


26. Diane was late on Wednesday. She fell asleep on the bus and was taken back to the bus yard.


27. Please excuse my son from being absent yesterday, because there is a river in our house.


28. Henry stayed home because he had a stomach ache from eating too much frosting.


29. Ralph was absent yesterday because of a sour throat.


30. Please exscuse John from being absent. He was lost.


31. Cody was absent yesterday because we were out bowling until 2 AM.


32. It was my fault Mike did not do his math homework last night. His pencil broke and we do not have a pencil sharpener at home.


33. Please excuse Wayne for being out yesterday. He had the fuel.


34. Tommy wasn’t in school yesterday because he thought it was Saturday.


35. Please excuse Lupe. She is having problems with her ovals.


36. Scott didn’t practice last night because he lost his tooth in the mouthpiece of his trumpet.


37. Mike was absent yesterday because he had a sore trout.


38. Jerry was at his grandmother’s yesterday, and she did not bring him to school because Jerry couldn’t remember where the school was.


39. Please excuse my daughter’s absence. She had her periodicals.


40. Please excuse my son. He will be out next week slaughtering goats for his manhood ritual. Thank you!


41. Please excuse Burma, she has been sick and under the doctor.


42. George was absent yesterday because he had a stomach.


43. The basement of our house got flooded where the children sleep so they had to be vaporized.


44. Please forgive Clarence for being absent from school the past few days. He was home sick from an operation. He had penis trouble and had to be serpent-sized.


45. Please excuse little Jimmy from missing school yesterday. His father is gone and I could not get him ready because I was in bed with the Doctor.


46. Ronnie would not finish his work last night. He said his brain was too tired of spelling.


47. Please excuse Loren for being absent. She was in bed with minustruation cramps.


48. Eric hurt his knee in a karate tournament over the weekend. He won his age group, but was in too much pain to do his math assignment.


49. Please excuse Tommy for being absent. He was out with the swan flue.


50. Please let Jean leave the room if she asks. She has been sick with dire rear.


Click on the link to read More Proof that Schools Operate Like Prisons

Click on the link to read Truant Teachers

Click on the link to read How Do They Come Up With These Ideas?

More Proof that Schools Operate Like Prisons

March 24, 2014



One of, if not the greatest goal I have in my daily teaching is the desire for my students to wake up on a school day without feeling negative about attending school. In my view, happy students have the best possible chance of achieving their potential and it is my task to oversee a happy classroom.

But I am just a teacher. I don’t make the rules or pass the laws, so my mission has its obstacles and impediments. Most of these challenges come in the form of rigid prison-like rules imposed on students governing things such as who they can play with at recess and when they can be permitted to go to the toilet.

And now comes an even more astonishing rule that if imposed, will further reinforce the popular notion that school is a harsh and uncompromising place:

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has backed the right of schools to use fingerprint scanners to track whether kids are skipping class.

Several public schools are using hi-tech scanners to record when students enter and leave school across the state.

“I think that’s a good thing because it reflects our policy of ‘local schools, local decisions’, which enables schools to make decisions that meet the needs of their communities,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters on Friday

Asked whether he had any privacy concerns, the premier said the decision to use the technology was ultimately a matter for individual schools.

“If school communities want to make decisions, whether about the opening hours of schools or whether about these sorts of issues, I’m happy to back them,” Mr O’Farrell said.

Civil Liberties Australia have concerns over fingerprint scanning students.

“We support proper use of new technology, but this development has inherent dangers which should be evaluated by schools, their governing bodies and parents,” Civil Liberties Australia chief executive officer Bill Rowlings said.

“Schools and education authorities must put robust rules in place for how technology is used and administered, and the data safeguarded.

“A scan on arrival just tells you who passed through the school gates on the way in.

“The only way to ensure a child is at school all day is to fingerprint the student every half hour.

“So pretty soon children will be scanned into every classroom, every separate facility within the school grounds.

“If that is done, suddenly schools will become mini-surveillance states.”


Click on the link to read Truant Teachers

Click on the link to read How Do They Come Up With These Ideas?

Truant Teachers

October 2, 2011

I remember getting very little in the way of useful advice during my teaching degree.  One of the worst and most irresponsible pieces of advice came from an English lecturer who said that we were going to get a generous amount of sick days per year and it is his recommendation that we use them all up whether we’re sick or not, because “we either use them or lose them.”

It says a lot about what our instructor thought of the profession.  Unfortunately, my instructors mirrored the disillusionment felt by many teachers all over the world.  Take the story of Kulvinder Billan for example:

A teacher of Indian-origin ‘played truant’ for two years by forging fake sick notes, but escaped being sent to prison.

Kulvinder Billan, 31, forged half a dozen sick notes and a letter from a leading doctor so he could get out of teaching at Weston Favell School, Northampton, Dail Mail reported today.

A court heard he was paid 33,000 pounds a year but could not face returning to teaching after being off work with stress and as a result his pupils were left with no consistent teaching and school had to shell out about 7,000 pounds to hire part time staff.

I personally hate taking days off.  I am not a control freak, but I must admit that I strongly prefer teaching lessons I have planned for.  The thought of others stepping in and taking my class makes me reluctant to take a day off.  I also find that the class often fails to adjust in the days after I’ve come back from sick leave.  They often take a few days to settle back into gear.

What is your view about sick days?  Do you subscribe to the “use them or lose them” policy?

How Do They Come Up With These Ideas?

January 18, 2011

The latest response to fighting truancy is a full out assault against the parents.  The reasoning is clear.  It is the parents responsibility to ensure that their children attend school.  So bad must be the problem and so unable are authorities to motivate the parents to take a more diligent and proactive role, that a range of strategies, including some very weird ideas are being floated around to punish the parents.

Take this one for example:

Sen. Erik Wells wants to give parents an ultimatum: Send your kids to school, or lose your driver’s license.

The Kanawha County Democrat said Friday he plans to introduce a bill that would revoke a parent’s driving privileges if their child has 10 or more unexcused absences.

“We have to get to a point where we send a serious message to parents,” Wells told reporters at The Associated Press’ annual Legislative Lookahead conference in South Charleston.

Then there is a fine or jail time in California:

As of the new year, California parents face prosecution, fines up to $2,000, and even jail time if they don’t make sure their kids attend school regularly. The new state law took effect on January 1 and was signed into law last September by former Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It’s a strict law, which holds three designations for kids who chronically miss school. A truant is any student who is 30 or more minutes late to class on more than three school days, a chronic truant any student who misses more than 10 percent of school days without a valid excuse. A habitual truant is a truant who continues to miss class even after school officials attempt to reach out to the student. Parents of kids who are chronically truant can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face a series of fines and punishments, starting with a $100 fine for the first conviction and ending with a year of incarceration and up to $2000 for parents of chronic truants.

The UK have taken a softer approach whilst proudly dubbing it “cutting edge”:

A School in the Peterborough area is introducing cutting-edge technology in its fight against truancy.

Casterton Business and Enterprise College, in Stamford, is attempting to tackle students skipping lessons with Truancy Call, a scheme which allows the school to contact parents of absent children by e-mail, text message or telephone as soon as a child is absent.

Once registration of the schoool’s 800 pupils has been completed, the Truancy Call system automatically calls, texts or emails parents until a response is received.

Once a response is received from the parents any further calls that day are stopped automatically. The school has an attendance rate of more than 95 per cent.

This one is my favourite:

Schools are bribing parents to make sure their children attend classes with the promise of cheap foreign holidays.

Families are being offered a discount if pupils turn up for ­lessons every day next term.

Education chiefs have joined forces with a travel company to offer the holiday discount scheme, which is aimed at slashing truancy.

Please tell me they are putting just as much time and effort into conceiving ways in which to make school a more inviting and accepting place for our children.

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