Monday, November 9, 2009

Sophie and Truancy

On Saturday I got a letter in the mail from the Los Angeles Unified School District. This is what it said:

Dear Parent/Guardian:

This is to notify you that your child has been reported to the Pupil Services and Attendance Supervisor as a truant from school as required by the provisions of Section 48260 of the California Education Code after having been absent from school or tardy for more than 30 minutes without a valid excuse on the following dates: 7/31, 8/11, 13, 17, 20 and 10/29/09 (7 partial day absences).

Section 48260 of the Education Code states: Any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without valid excuse on three occasions or tardy for more than 30 minutes in a school day on three occasions in one school year is a truant and will be reported to the attendance supervisor or the superintendent of the school district.

I will mention, briefly, that Sophie's IEP states quite clearly that she has a difficult time getting to school at 7:40 am every day because her seizures happen, for the most part, on waking. It's also quite evident that Sophie's seizure disorder is what keeps her from attending school every day and since she's been a student in the LAUSD for ten years, they should already be familiar with that. Evidently, though, the bureaucracy must be kicked up a notch and someone new is pumping out these letters.

While I'll be calling the district office this morning to settle this once and for all, I'm tempted to just ignore it. Who knows but Ramon Cortines (the superintendent of the whole district) himself (as written above) might even show up to find out what Sophie is up to and imagine the conversation I could have with him! (and the boys absolutely crowed when I read them this letter -- Sophie! A Truant!)


  1. it's just all so ridiculous, I have to sort of laugh.

    ...and so begins another week...can't wait to hear the outcome...

  2. It lacks sensitivity. We got a similar letter some years ago and it turned out that the person responsible for attendance and punctuality had not logged in my daughter's dental appointments. Oh, humans, aren't we complicated!

    Greetings from London.

  3. I went through the roof when I received a similar letter. I was pulling my son out of school 15 minutes early for the very last speech and language appointment that I could get each day from a private provider.

    My husband and I were in the middle of fighting the school to provide these services but paid out of pocket so he wouldn't slip behind.

    The principal basically said she has to send the letter even though she understood with why we were taking out son out of school early.

    Come over to my place, The Talking Pickle, to receive you $25.00 gift certificate from Barnes and Nobel!

  4. Oh man. You better put that girl in time-out for skipping school! That's my advice!
    Bless her truant little heart.

  5. We've gotten those stupid letters. Give me a break.

  6. Sheesh, no call to find out what's going on...just to send a letter like that.

    Due to the maladaptive aggressive behaviors my son developed over years of having an undiagnosed seizure disorder, we wanted his behavior specialist, who has experience teaching, to work with him in the classroom for 3 hours a week, doing the school's curriculum of course. This is at no cost to the school but the bureaucracy still said no, that it is the teaching assistants job to teach him. Ugh!!

  7. Ain't bureaucracy grand? We got an automated from Katie's school one day, an unexplained absence. Made me laugh though, if only my daughter could skip school or cut classes.

  8. Well, I for one have always felt that you were far too lax with that girl. What she needs is a little tough love, lady, and there will be no more truancy problems. Smack those seizures into a better time slot...cripes, some people's parents!

  9. Oy. What a way to start a week, eh?

  10. Well there's only one reasonable solution- the superintendent himself must commit to arriving at your home every morning at 5:30 am for a period of no less than 60 consecutive school days and it will be his responsibility to get your daughter to school. On time. And did I mention dressed, fed and ready to learn? I wonder if he'll make coffee too.

    The letter is a candidate for the "ohhhhhman, what are you thinkin'" award.

  11. I, too, once received a letter that practically threatened to take Amelia off in handcuffs for her truancy. She had been completely out of school for several months at that time. I wrote a letter to the superintendent that triggered not only an alarmed and abject total apology but a change of policy for the district. I never did send her back to school; even though I'd finally learned to kick ass so well, she was better off at home.

    wv: trant---leave u outta this!


  12. Ah, the case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand does.

    This year, our neighborhood school called me trying to figure out how they would accommodate all of E-Niner's IEP requirements when he was already enrolled and attending his therapeutic school!

    I think these huge school systems are sometimes too big for their own good.

  13. That's so ridiculous, you just have to laugh. Wow. Thanks for that.

  14. I get a recorded phone call on my cell, on my house phone, AND an email. They all say that Pearlsky (using her name in the recording) must go to Ms. so-and-so in the office and personally explain her absence. You can imagine (or maybe not) the emails I have sent (three times so far)! Some things are just so outrageous you just need to laugh among the tears!

  15. That's just unacceptable. She should be grounded. That will teach her.



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