Posts Tagged ‘Truancy’

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?

Mum Taken to Court for Letting Son Miss School to Attend Her Wedding

October 11, 2012

What a ridiculous waste of the courts time. Fining parents for truancy is bad enough, but opposing a parent from letting her own child attend her wedding is just insane!

A mother who took her son out of school so he could give her away at her Caribbean wedding has been taken to court by her local council.

Frances White, of Marple near Stockport, is due to appear before magistrates next week after refusing to pay a town hall fine for her son Harrison’s 11-day absence.

Ms White, 31, said she first asked for time off for her 13-year-old son more than a year ago – so he could attend her wedding to fiance Nick Harden in St Lucia.

Despite several pleas, her request was refused by Marple Hall School.She took Harrison anyway, and was then hit with a £50 fine by the council, which she has refused to pay on principle. She has now been summoned to court with the fine standing at £100.

Ms White said: ‘It is ridiculous. I can understand why these rules are needed for people who abuse the system, but this was a one-off in exceptional circumstances – it was our wedding day.

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?

Should Teachers Visit Their Students’ Homes?

August 19, 2011

I think in certain circumstances it would be a most valuable experience for teachers to visit the homes of their students.  By doing this they will get a clearer picture about the environment in which that child lives in and unique aspects of their lifestyle.

The new chief of the Chicago public schools, Jean-Claude Brizard, suggested recently that teachers visit the homes of their students. Many people reacted to that badly, as math teacher Jason Kamras’s principal did when Kamras dropped in on his students’ apartments near Sousa Middle School in Southeast Washington.

The Sousa principal feared for his young teacher’s safety in a high-crime area. Kamras, however, found the visits invaluable. He understood his students better. Parents were more supportive. Now a D.C. schools official, Kamras is one of many educators who think unannounced visits can be worth the risk.

In the District, officials are looking at the possibility of home visits for elementary school students. The nonprofit Concentric Educational Solutions has been knocking on the doors of persistent truants for the past year. The group’s executive director and co-founder, David L. Heiber, said the visits would be even more effective if they occurred before students got into trouble. “Home visits by themselves do not correlate into academic achievement,” he said. “However, if done with academic goals and targets as the objectives, they do work.”

I commend Mr. Brizard for his brave and innovative suggestion and I’m disappointed it got so much backlash:

That thought is dismissed in many schools. Administrators such as Kamras’s principal see danger in some neighborhoods, and don’t think their staffs have the time or the energy for such after-school and weekend enterprises. “Teachers are overworked already,” Heiber said he has been told. He said administrators say that “our social workers only see our special needs students” or that “we are short staffed as it is.”

Introducing -The Truacy Drug!

August 2, 2011

Sooner or later there will be a drug for everything.  No problem self-made or genetic will be without its own medication.

And we will all be worse for it.

I have a very cynical view of the pharmaceutical industry.  I don’t believe what they are telling us about how they are giving children with poor concentration a quality of life they wouldn’t ordinarily have.  Maybe I should buy in to it, but I don’t.  Instead, I believe that they are replacing one problem with the threat of a much bigger problem.  The effect of drugs on a child isn’t fully known yet.  I fear that when we do have comprehensive data on the effects of drugs such as Ritalin on young children, we won’t like what we see.

The latest drug to concocted is a truancy drug.  That’s right, a drug for not wanting to go to school!  It is recommended that no child under 18 take it, but whoops, that rules out school aged children!  Not much point making a truancy drug for adults.

So  they scrap the idea, right?  Nope.  They find a way to trial the drug on kids aged as young as 11:

SCHOOL truants as young as 11 are being given a powerful ADHD and antidepressant drug in a controversial trial.

The drug, Lovan, is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 but is being prescribed for children as part of a School Refusal Program being led by Professor Bruce Tonge.

Prof Tonge is chairman of a federal government committee setting new guidelines for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

But the side-effects are minimal, right?  Nope.

Prof Tonge said the children on the trial and their parents had been warned of potential side-effects of Lovan, including suicidal tendencies.

The question I am bursting to ask is, why do we need a drug for something which is a product of  factors likely to be unrelated to the child’s mental state.

But asking that questions will show me up as a pharmaceutical non-believer.  Because logic isn’t important here.  What is important is that every problem must have its own approved drug.

I’d love to write more on this issue but I’ve got to take my pills now.  I’m trialling a new drug for people who don’t enjoy paying bank fees.

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