Taking kids out of school to go to Disney. Horribly irresponsible or acceptable in some situations?

Alucard84

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
So a little backstory, I wanted to take my 5 year old daughter to Disney World in December 2020. Wanted to experience the holidays at Disney with her, my wife, and our 1 year old son. She is in Kindergarten and her winter break doesn't start until the week of Christmas so we would miss the last party. So I was considering taking her out of school for a week so we could go in early December. Anyways, I started researching the attendance policy at the local school system and it seems extremely strict. Students are allowed 4 unexcused absences. 5 or move unexcused absences and a student is considered truant. This is a the website detailing some of the punishments that can be brought to bear on the parents for a truant child:


Anyways, absences can only be excused for illness, death, religious observances, extreme weather, court appearances, school sponsored events, or extenuating circumstances. Vacations are not a valid reason for absences. Anyways, I was shocked to read that they could possibly take my child away from me if she misses 5 or more days of school that is deemed unexcused. I realize that this is the extreme and not likely, but just knowing they have the option is kind of scary.

I'm just wondering if most school districts are this strict. Any experiences are appreciated. I'm waiting on email responses from the school district for clarification.
 

cjlong88

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
As a teacher, the only time I have an issue with students missing school for vacation is if the student is failing my class. My school allows students to be gone for vacation. I think if you as the parent communicate to your child the importance of staying on top of their work and not falling behind, then you are doing the right thing. I have had parents take their kids out for vacation before when they student was failing every class. The parents had no idea. THAT is not okay.

I had a kid last week who just return from Disneyland. Great kid. Great grades. No one had an issue with it because his parents communicated to us well in advance and he made sure he was all caught up on his work before his trip.

I hope that helps!
 

Bjkandma

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Every school district is different. My granddaughter attends a Charter School and they simply refuse all vacation requests. Now, so do parents and grandparents have them miss school, yes. Would I? I don't even consider asking. I think we need to go back to "old school", where education is considered "the student's job". If your boss told you, you couldn't hAve your vacation at such and such a time. Would you still go, and lose your job? Your choice!!!
 
  • KayaWildfire

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2016
    As previously said, all districts are different. Yours seems rather strict, but I digress. Our school district allows 10 excused absences yearly, but thay can be anything the parent calls the child out for(vacation, sick, etc). School activities are not counted as part of this where school is missed(this is a high school so sports and clubs have multi day trips commonly). I will say we have gone over the alleged limit and no one has ever said anything. Our kids had excellent grades and weren't discipline issues so maybe they just figured they have bigger fish to fry as it were.
     

    kandb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2006
    I did it all the time until my daughter told me she didn't want to miss school anymore. That was when she was in the 7th grade. I never regretted it. We loved going to Disney "off" times when it wasn't a mad scene. My children's grades didn't suffer and we had quality family time. Win/Win
     

    stephk1981

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2013
    This is absurd to me, especially for lower grades.....k-2/3.....no wonder more and more families every year are choosing to homeschool. I hope everything works out for you op. I would take my 5 year old out. Whatever you decide, I hope your family has a good trip
     
  • amym2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2009
    As a former teacher, I agree with the others who said taking your kids out of school is fine as long as they aren’t struggling and you provide plenty of notice. It’s so easy to make a Disney trip educational, so any teachers who have been to Disney can typically see the value (plus it’s family time).

    Our district allows 3 pre-arranged absences for pretty much anything as long as it isn’t during a testing window. Anything beyond that is unexcused, but as long as the student doesn’t have a history of being absent, it’s never an issue. Definitely give the school and teacher a heads up and pull your kid out of school to enjoy lower crowds!
     

    Ensusieasm

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2013
    So a little backstory, I wanted to take my 5 year old daughter to Disney World in December 2020. Wanted to experience the holidays at Disney with her, my wife, and our 1 year old son. She is in Kindergarten and her winter break doesn't start until the week of Christmas so we would miss the last party. So I was considering taking her out of school for a week so we could go in early December. Anyways, I started researching the attendance policy at the local school system and it seems extremely strict. Students are allowed 4 unexcused absences. 5 or move unexcused absences and a student is considered truant. This is a the website detailing some of the punishments that can be brought to bear on the parents for a truant child:


    Anyways, absences can only be excused for illness, death, religious observances, extreme weather, court appearances, school sponsored events, or extenuating circumstances. Vacations are not a valid reason for absences. Anyways, I was shocked to read that they could possibly take my child away from me if she misses 5 or more days of school that is deemed unexcused. I realize that this is the extreme and not likely, but just knowing they have the option is kind of scary.

    I'm just wondering if most school districts are this strict. Any experiences are appreciated. I'm waiting on email responses from the school district for clarification.
    It seems to me that a five year old would not even legally be required to go to school. The attendance rules might not kick in till age 6 or 7 according to state or county rules.
     

    Rory607

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2016
    We did it for the first time this year. My kiddos are in 4th and kindergarten. I was nervous because our district has a similar written policy regarding the five days. My advice is to talk with parents of older kids at your child’s school/district. This helped me understand that even though those policies are in place, it’s not usually a big deal in our district. I had multiple people say they regularly took their kids out for vacations and as long as they pre-arranged it with the school it was fine. It could be different in your district.

    My 4th grader is a good student and I was not worried about her missing some school. She hasn’t even been out sick in two years. My kindergartener can be a handful and I have a feeling his teacher was okay with a break from him for a few days😆
     

    la79al

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2005
    I would talk to other parents with kids already in that school and see how strict they really are regarding attendance. Just because they have something on paper doesn't mean that they adhere 100%. Our district is very liberal with absences and my kids miss 5 days in the fall and 5 in the spring to visit family in Florida.
     
  • Vacations66

    Registered
    Joined
    Nov 3, 2019
    I would talk to other parents with kids already in that school and see how strict they really are regarding attendance. Just because they have something on paper doesn't mean that they adhere 100%. Our district is very liberal with absences and my kids miss 5 days in the fall and 5 in the spring to visit family in Florida.
    I think it depends on the kid. Is the kid a good student and can make the work up without falling behind.
     

    nb75685

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 31, 2019
    Teacher here. It’s annoying when parents take their kids on vacation when one of the following is also true: kid is struggling/failing in class, kid or parent doesn’t give advanced notice, kid doesn’t do make up work from when he/she was absent. Otherwise I don’t think much of it.

    Granted, I teach high school and a course with a state test at the end. I would imagine it’s not that big of a deal in kindergarten.
     
    Last edited:

    Disneyfan754321

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 19, 2019
    We did it every vacation, my kids dont miss much, my sons one teacher gave him the class flat Stanley. I think its the only way to go you wont see us spending thousands on a vacation when the rest of the country is on break.
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    So a little backstory, I wanted to take my 5 year old daughter to Disney World in December 2020. Wanted to experience the holidays at Disney with her, my wife, and our 1 year old son. She is in Kindergarten and her winter break doesn't start until the week of Christmas so we would miss the last party. So I was considering taking her out of school for a week so we could go in early December. Anyways, I started researching the attendance policy at the local school system and it seems extremely strict. Students are allowed 4 unexcused absences. 5 or move unexcused absences and a student is considered truant. This is a the website detailing some of the punishments that can be brought to bear on the parents for a truant child:


    Anyways, absences can only be excused for illness, death, religious observances, extreme weather, court appearances, school sponsored events, or extenuating circumstances. Vacations are not a valid reason for absences. Anyways, I was shocked to read that they could possibly take my child away from me if she misses 5 or more days of school that is deemed unexcused. I realize that this is the extreme and not likely, but just knowing they have the option is kind of scary.

    I'm just wondering if most school districts are this strict. Any experiences are appreciated. I'm waiting on email responses from the school district for clarification.
    Kids aren’t even required to attend Kindergarten here. Seems ridiculously strict to me. I think here the policy is 9 unexcused days missed which to me is more reasonable.
     

    shocker

    It's a WDW realty that not every moment is magical
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2008
    Kids aren’t even required to attend Kindergarten here. Seems ridiculously strict to me. I think here the policy is 9 unexcused days missed which to me is more reasonable.
    This was my first thought. First find out if your kindergarten is compulsory. Find out if the 'truant' policy applies for K. In my district it is not a required grade and is still only a half day.
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    Our school allows 10 unexcused absences per year, 5 seems strict to me.
    To answer your question, taking kids out can be horribly irresponsible or acceptable depending on the situation of the individual student.
    When my kids were young I had no problems taking them out of school for family vacation. They were not struggling students and had no issue making up the work when they returned. Had they been failing, or even behind in some way I would not have taken them out.
    At 5, I can't imagine there isn't anything your child would learn in school that week that a parent couldn't cover themselves, even while on a fun vacation.
     

    DisLiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    To answer the question in your title...I think it all depends on the kid. :)

    To answer your last question, yes, your district's policy does sound strict to me. Our district allows kids 5 excused absences for vacation as long as they are pre-approved. (And I personally have never known them to deny anyone unless the child was struggling in school.) So, you can use the two adjoining weekends and take a vacation of 9 days without incurring any unexcused days at all.

    Now, beyond that, our district does state that they may consider it a truancy issue if a child has more than 5 unexcused absences. But, your child has to miss more than 3 days in a row to require anything more than a parental note of excuse, and anything more than 3 consecutive days can be excused with a doctor's note. Plus, you can get those 5 excused vacation days here, so really, your kid has to be missing quite a bit of school for this to really be an issue.
     

    sponica

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2017
    I live in a state that's competency based not attendance based so I'm no help. Basically as long as your kid can prove they've mastered the topics, it doesn't matter how many days they've missed (although enrollment is still mandatory until age 18 unless they changed it back, I can't keep track).

    I'd see in your state if kindergarten is compulsory. While it's mandated to be offered by the towns, you don't have to enroll in school until 1st grade here.
     

    ofcabbagesandkings

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2014
    We homeschool now, but we did when he was in kindergarten, a short trip though so he was only out two days of the school week. Truthfully in kindergarten they aren't learning much in my opinion, to miss out on.
     



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