Why Is Attendance Such a Big Deal?

Attendance greatly affects schools, students, and teachers, which is why they are unfavorable.

Courtesy of myps14.com

Attendance greatly affects schools, students, and teachers, which is why they are unfavorable.

Juliette Fournier, Photojournalist

Almost everyone has been absent from school at least once, excused or unexcused. It is fine to miss school occasionally in the year, given that there is a good reason. Even then, it is preferable to come at least a portion of the day. However, there are some days where one is incapable of attending school in which case it should be acceptable to miss school. Those who miss school for a reasonable reason, such as being gravely sick or have a serious family issue, should not be penalized for missing school; however, those who do not have a valid excuse should not be missing school for any reason.

What some students fail to realize is how much being frequently absent can have a negative impact on their future. Students who are absent just for one day fall behind quickly, especially in high school or college. The more they fall behind, the more their grades drop, and the more discouraged they become. It can severely impact a student’s self-esteem, especially those with outside pressure to do well in school.

On top of this, absences, when they happen too often, can become a habit for the rest of someone’s life. Imagine this. A young student is in elementary school, and once a month he is allowed to skip school to go on a three-day weekend with his parents. It seems relatively harmless. Added up, however, he is missing nine days of school that he is not going to get back. At the time, it may not be a huge deal in elementary school, but that sort of habit will carry on to middle school or high school. When parents start to approve of not going to school, their children may start to think that missing school is not that big of a deal. If the habit carries over to high school, the absences could seriously damage the student’s grades, and they cannot reach their highest potential. Now when college comes around, if a student misses classes, a professor can actually drop the student after they miss a certain amount of days. Even when getting a job, the person cannot be constantly missing work. This is why many school districts put so much emphasis on coming to school: it prepares students for their futures. Mrs. Long (staff), the attendance clerk at YLHS, insists that the school “care[s] about the students and want[s] them to be successful.” Attending school can help them to be successful.

Absences also have a negative effect on the school and its teachers. Not all students know this, but the school is funded when students come to school. Even if they only come for part of the school day, the school still gets the funding for that student. However, when a student misses school, the school is not paid. It is not only for the teachers and staff that the money is important; the money helps to fund all the activities and supplies for the school. Much of the money returns to the students. Teachers are also negatively affected by absences. They spend all day teaching a lesson, but if one student is not there for the lesson, they are forced to give up their time to reteach that lesson to the student. In addition, more so in elementary school, the teachers sometimes have to take extra time to review material that all the other students who came to school already understand. It is a complete waste of their time and should therefore be avoided.

However, there is still the possibility of missing depending on the circumstances. What happens if you absolutely cannot come to school? Students can still make up the classes by going to a Saturday school. This may not sound like a favorable option, but the school receives the funding missed from the days a student was absent.

 Mary Liu (11) agrees and adds, “Homework is supposed to help you learn, but when you are too sick, it can be hard to concentrate. Homework will lose its purpose.”

On the other hand, is it fair to expect students with a serious illness or a funeral to have homework done by the time they return? The whole reason for them missing school is because they are unfit to work. Sick students are too weak or too tired to do work and should not be expected to have their work done on time. Their goal is to get better, but if they are overwhelmed with homework, how can they get better? The same thing goes with going to a funeral? Typically those who have lost close family members do not want to be focusing on school while mourning someone they have lost.

Overall, absences have negative consequences on schools, students, and teachers. However, if they are absolutely necessary, students should not be penalized.