I got "THE LETTER"

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by Napria, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. Napria

    Napria It really *is* the Happiest Place!

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    We took our son and daughter out of school for a week to go to WDW. I spoke to my daughter's principal and the administrator of my son's special needs school; both public schools. I explained to them both that my son's combination of conditions (Asperger's, epilepsy) make it impossible for us to take him to WDW during the Summer, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring breaks, which are the only times during the school year with more than a day off. Either the crowds would make him freak out and flee (we've lost him in crowds before, for as long as 40 minutes) or the heat would contribute to his seizures. They both agreed that we should go and enjoy ourselves, but not take more than 5 days off.

    I made sure that I wouldn't be taking either one out during testing or any other critical times.

    Yesterday I got "the letter" from my daughter's assistant Principal stating that we are in violation of the law, guilty of a misdemeanor and if convicted will face: 30 days in prison, fine of up to $100, community service or a combination of the above.

    Now I don't want suggestions. I already know what I'm going to do. I just want to vent.

    Much is made in this fair country of ours about "family values" Yet my kids go to school all day, come home and do their homework, get about one hour to play then must come in to take a shower, help get ready for dinner, eat dinner, clean up from dinner, then it's bedtime. I know all parents aren't like this, but my kids have from 7:30 to 8:00 PM to get ready and get in bed.

    Where is their family time? If you look at pictures of my son from any other time, he's either making a ridiculous face and pose, or frowning. Look at the pics from our recent trip and he's smiling a genuine smile. And having that time with both of them, away from the demands of our lives was priceless. It let us all really enjoy being with each other.

    I really do understand that education is important. What I don't agree with is threatening imprisionment to parents of special needs kids for spending a carefully thought out five days away from school when there was really no other alternative.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    And if I could figure out how to insert a picture of his happy face, I would.
     
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  3. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 <font color=green>I just love those parmesan mashe

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    Sorry that had to happen to you.

    If you ever go again (which I would anyway), I'd be sure to get a doctor's note. (It helps for me that I have a dentist friend that will write me a note).

    I'm glad that you guys had such a great time. :goodvibes

    (And thank goodness we don't have a policy like that here in my part of Maryland....my kids missed 11 school days for 2 WDW trips last year).
    They'll miss 6 this May.
     
  4. Foohound

    Foohound Mouseketeer

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    Napria,

    I live in Georgia as well. My daughter is 5 years old and has autism. We are planning a trip the second week in December for the specific reasons you stated. When I approached my DD's teacher about talking to principle she said and I quote. "Go ahead he will give you the same answer he gives everyone, It's against the policy"

    She recommended I go directly to the school board. I have already booked my trip, so now I am very worried about going?
     
  5. Michigan

    Michigan Mom of the Rolling Crew

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    Can you say CNN, Fox News, MSNBC

    They don't own your kids you pay their wages with your taxes to educate your kids.
     
  6. chrismom2005

    chrismom2005 Mouseketeer

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    how is ok for people to homeschool but illegal to take their kids out of school for a week. we give birth to them and then they hit five go to school and belong to the school district.
     
  7. tophee99

    tophee99 Mouseketeer

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    This is a new policy in our school district too. When I was little, my parents took us out of school for a week each year (either prior to or just after the spring break week) and we would spend 2 weeks in Florida with my Grandfather. We took school work, and generally our teacher would assign a special "project"..........gather info about what we did, where we went, etc. Now, it may not have been math that I was learning, but I sure did learn alot about the places we went, some different cultures and pasttimes.......and in my opinion, this should count........not everything can be taught in a classroom. My db has Cerebral Palsy and they were always afraid he would "fall behind"........he never did...........and he had wonderful, different, fun yet "educational" experiences to boot!!

    Have a wonderful trip!!!! You and your family deserve it!!! :wizard:
     
  8. Janet Hill

    Janet Hill DIS Veteran

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    We homeschool for a week in the fall and a week in late spring. Other than that they attend school regularly.

    No one has said anything yet, but I'm kind of expecting it.
     
  9. WildGrits

    WildGrits DIS Veteran

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    I'm really sorry to hear that you were treated like that.

    All but two trips I have taken have been between September and the end of November.

    I have never had a problem nor did my parents have a problem taking time off from school. We always send a note to school a month ahead of time so that if there is any work to be done, we can do it before we leave.

    Unfortunately if you are in one of those counties whose schools are failing in the Leave no Child Behind reform, then schools have to cover their butts and send these notes out during truancies.
     
  10. Charleyann

    Charleyann <font color=purple>Someone spilled the beans<br><f

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    Oh my gosh, I live in New Brunswick Canada. I have a special needs child and just took him from Oct 30th - Nov 16th, 2006. The School nor the District said anything other then have a great trip! They even made my son a treat bag for the plane also filled with stickers, coloring book, journal book, markers , cards and games. Even gave him a card signed by his teachers wishing him a wonderful trip!

    This Christmas we are leaving Dec 18th. Kids aren't finsihed until Dec 22nd. Everyone knows and says nothing!

    All I can say is wow! I wish you well and hope you don't give up your battle! You are the parents and ultimately you should have some say!

    Charleyann:wizard:
     
  11. KPeveler

    KPeveler Moderator Moderator

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    I understand the importance of schooling, but honestly, what does a 5 year old do in school that cant be missed for just a few days. I understand pulling someone out of upper level calculus in high school might be more difficult. but for goodness sakes, so your 6 yr old will miss the alphabet song and a couple Dr Seuss books! schools need to relax, especially if you have a special needs child.
     
  12. CinderellaBride12

    CinderellaBride12 Mouseketeer

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    I know you just wanted to vent but OMG they are being real jerks about it! I'm sorry but that is outrageous to send you a letter threatening you with that. I know in High School I missed a week after Thanksgiving to accompany my parents to a series of dr. visits. Stupid school districts are getting way to strict in what they want control of. Good Luck hope things go well for you!
     
  13. Belle1962

    Belle1962 DIS Veteran

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    I live North of Atlanta also and HATE the compulsory attendance law!!!! I took my son out of school to go to Disney when he was growing up and now am bound to the school calendar for my DGS!!!! The best I can do is a long weekend with one him having medical appts (for instance we planned a trip with picking him up from school Fri morning. dr appt at 8:30, hit the road, came home Monday and a dental appt Monday afternoon). The school gets their "documentation", DGS gets a mini trip to Disney and then we count the days until summer!!!!!!!! I understand that for 'at risk" students this is important but I don't believe the OP, or my family, could be considered "at risk". And we're ranked what #50 in country----what do they hope to achieve--we move up to #49????:rolleyes1
     
  14. diseyore

    diseyore Mouseketeer

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    I totally understand and am glad you have a place to vent. When my dd was in school she had a note from the doctor stating she would miss more that the 14 days per year allowed plus other items on her 504, but they said that they did not practice medicine and the doctor should not act like a teacher! (WA state) I was so angry at them,:mad: and still am! It was a constant fight so bad that we finally sent her to a home school center. We never received any grief from them in fact they were always asking what they could do to help.

    What is wrong with out schools?????
     
  15. cjholda

    cjholda Earning My Ears

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    As a mom whose children attended GA public schools, this is one of the many reasons we pulled them out of the school system. The school authorities think that we, as parents, aren't smart enough to raise or educate our own children. The state of GA has mandates for homeschoolers too, but they can't dictate which days we school and which days we don't. We only had to abide by 180 days per year and fill out attendance records. Gotta love the gov't.! I'm in IL now and we vacation whenever we please, but we also school all year. So far I haven't heard a peep from anyone. I'm sorry this happened to you and I hope you are able to enjoy your trip. If it were me, I'd be "homeschooling" at Disney.:rotfl2:
     
  16. Charleyann

    Charleyann <font color=purple>Someone spilled the beans<br><f

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    TOO MANY CHIEFS AND NOT ENOUGH INDIANS!!!!!!

    Charleyann
     
  17. Ali

    Ali 14 years here... never a tag fairy visit

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    In Florida a 5 year old is not subject to the attendance laws. At age 6 they legally start keeping track of attendance... not a day before. So, all of the 3 to 5 year old kids in my class who miss weeks on end or miss every Friday or just come when they want don't get into trouble but the kids who go on vacation and are 6 years old can get their parents into big trouble!

    Just made me think that I need to get a doctor's note for next Monday when we are Disney.
     
  18. triplefigs

    triplefigs <marquee><font color=009933>Triple Chick</marquee>

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    We're in Forsyth County in North Atlanta. I had my son's doctor from the Marcus Institute write a letter stating why he couldn't go during the breaks. She asked for not only him to be excused but my other 2 (they are triplets) as well. All 5 days were excused with no trouble at all. We are planning a trip in late September again and will ask her to write (or copy) the same letter. She documented his IEP and went line by line stating why non-peak times completely satisfy his needs and issues listed on the IEP. ETA: if they don't excuse it, then I'll get the letter and throw it away. All my neighbors take their kids out all the time, get the letter, and nothing else ever happens.

    HTH!
     
  19. DisneyDreams4P&B

    DisneyDreams4P&B Remembering Austin....

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    We took our 2 sons (ASD & SID) out of special needs pre-k and 1st grade(Douglas County) for a week in October to go on the cruise. I got letters from every doctor, specialist and therapist that my children see. When I started getting "guff" from my oldest's son's principle on the number of days he would be missing I simply and calmy replied...

    "My son's go to school typically year round, for regular school and then extended session while everyone else in on vacation. My son's go to OT, PT & SP every week. They then come home and work on homework and the work we have for them to help them be the best they can be and acheive all of the things we know they can do. I seriously doubt that another "neuro-typical" child at this school works as hard and does as much as my children. So if I can give my son's one week, where there are less crowds that will upset them and as pleasant and as non invasive of an environment as possible, I will. Unless you feel that my son's don't work hard enough and don't deserve it?

    She told me to enjoy our vacation and have a good time.

    Never heard another word about it.

    Sometimes these Administration people are more worried about "numbers and stats than the situation. Don't be worried, they would be hard pressed to take parents of a special needs child to court over missed days. Can you offer to make the time up? I know in Douglas County, they have a program where the child stays after school for additional instruction by the teacher for 45 minutes and that makes up for one day (seems silly doesn't it).

    Good Luck!
     
  20. Foohound

    Foohound Mouseketeer

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    Triplefig: and DisneyDream:

    Thanks for the advise. I am taking my dd back to her specialist this month for her bi annual checkup. I will speak with him about writing a letter for my DD. I agree with you DisneyDeam that our children work much harder to accomplish what they can, and they derserve a less stressful vacation when possible. My dd lives and breaths disney, it is the one thing she really relates to.

    Thanks again
     
  21. LauraAnn630

    LauraAnn630 See you in April 2011!

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    Thats crap! I cant believe it! Its just not right. They need to mind there own business.
     

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