Sunteți pe pagina 1din 9

Why Kids Skip School and What You Can Do About It

By Sue Douglass Fliess

If trends persist, 75% of today's students entering high school will not complete the postsecondary education required to thrive in our globalized world. Yikes. According to the
Freshman Transition Initiative (FTI) of George Washington University, a student's plans
for post-secondary education often hinges on the attitudes they develop in the 8th and 9th
grade about themselves, their futures, and their educations.
When you think of a high school drop-out, your mind may first go to a child who lacks
motivation or goofs off. Rebecca M. Dedmond, Ph.D., and Director of FTI says that, in
fact, many drop-outs are very bright. The kids who are not engaged or tend to be truant
simply dont see what theyre learning in school as relevant to their life. They dont see
the relationship. Andrew Jackson, the 7th U.S. President, dropped out, studied law in his
late teens and became a lawyer. Certainly not a slouch, perhaps he just wasnt challenged
Dedmond says once students can see how what theyre doing in school can help them
reach their future goals, they are much more likely to stick around and embrace their
So what can schools do to get on the same page as their students? First, says Dedmond,
We need to listen to the students. As long as we show them 'whats in it for me,' they
actually dont mind working hard and being challenged. Schools can help students
balance their skills and interests as well as deemphasize competition, which allows more
students the opportunity to participate.
But its not entirely up to the schools. Dedmond says as parents, there are a few things
you can do as well. Get involved with your childs school. Talk to the teachers about your
child and what piques her interests. Discuss how that may be incorporated in lesson plans
during her day. In addition, Dedmond tells parents to encourage their children to join
after-school sports. If they dont show up for school, they cant be on the team.
Schools and parents alike need to ensure the teens of today have what they need to
become world leaders of tomorrow. If you get engaged with your childs education, your
child will too.

Skipping School
Monday, 29 September 2008 00:12

The Problem
You just got a call that your child is absent from school. You know that he left the
house with his backpack this morning. He must have skipped school. That's not
such a big problem, is it? You remember skipping school yourself from time to
Many experts believe that a pattern of skipping school is often the first sign that a
teen is in trouble, and is giving up on his education. Skipping school is a good
predictor of other problems, including (but not limited to) gang membership, drug
and alcohol use, theft, high-risk sexual behavior, and vandalism. Statistics show
that children who start skipping school are at high risk of dropping out of high
school and ending up struggling through life.
Why do kids skip school? An isolated incident may just be an attempt to see if
she can get away with it, or something she did on a dare. But students who
develop a pattern of skipping school may do so for other reasons, such as the

Lack of interest - or a pattern of falling behind - in school.

Fear of violence in or on the way to school.
Lack of parental supervision or support for education.
Drug and alcohol abuse.
Too many hours spent working or caring for family members, resulting in
exhaustion and difficulty getting up in the morning.
Lack of consequences for skipping school in the past.

Current laws demand that the school must provide parents with notification of
school absence. This is one way to assure that parents will take steps to correct
the problems that lead to skipping school. Most states also impose fines or even
jail terms on parents of children who are truant from school. Some states are
linking school attendance to incentives, such as an increase in public assistance
for the family or the child's ability to obtain a drivers' license.

What To Do
Take it seriously. Even if it is just one incident, resist the temptation to
provide an excuse to the school for your child. One of the ways that he
can learn from his mistakes is to pay the consequences for his behavior. If
he missed a big test when he skipped school and his grade goes down as
a result, remember that it's not your fault, it's his.
Talk to your child. If it's just a one-time thing, following through with
consequences such as losing a privilege may be enough. But if your child
indicates that he's frustrated with school, doing poorly in school or if you
suspect he is having problems with drugs and alcohol, it's time to get
some help. He may need tutoring and encouragement to catch up and
begin feeling better about school, or professional help to deal with
substance abuse.

Stay involved. Get to know teachers by attending school functions, and

volunteer to help with field trips or school events. The more involved you
are, the less likely your teen will skip school. And by becoming involved,
you can get an early indication of any problems your teen may be having,
and can be in a position to help him to work with the school or the teacher
to solve the problem.
Let your child know the family rules and legal consequences of being truant.
Help him to understand how important an education is to his future, and the
correlation between truancy and poverty. What he does now will affect the rest of
his life.

Skipping School: Is it Worth it or Not?

By St. John, WA
Just taking one day off from school can affect your entire life. Even though you
may feel too tired to go, or you dont feel like taking a test, putting school off gets
you nowhere. According to a recent survey, approximately 63,000 kids skip
school each day. Why are so many choosing not to go? Maybe its because they
only see the positive outcomes of it. In contrast, in this paper I will explain the
negative effects skipping school can have on a kids life.
Most people dont like doing make-up work because it puts them behind
everyone else. However, others may think its easier to miss any lectures or
videos, and just get to the assignment. Little do those people know how much it
affects their assignment and test grades. At a school in Ohio, 50 students of the
same age and GPA were put into a class that none of them knew anything about.
Some were told to miss around 20% of the class periods, others were permitted
to miss one lecture, and the third group couldnt miss anything. At the class final,
the students who attended class every day passed by a large margin, and it went
downhill from there. Think of it like this: for every day of school you skip, thats
one percent your grade can go down.
Not only can skipping school have a toll on your academics, but it can damage
your personal life, too. Some activities that students take part in while they are
skipping class can be deadly. Studies have shown that kids can become involved
in drugs, alcohol, gangs, vandalism and more, of which none result in a positive
outcome. For instance, in Florida two years ago, three high school students
decided to skip the last day of school and go down to the beach. On their way,
they were in a car accident and all were killed. Going through one more day of
school could have saved their lives.
Skipping school determines your everyday life but has just as big of an impact on
your future. Missing important lessons on school can lead to missing questions
on major tests like the HSPE or SAT/ACT. Also, being involved in some of the
activities I listed above while skipping school can lead to suspension, expulsion,

or even jail. Going to school will keep you safer and makes your resume and
future applications look much better.
In brief, skipping school has more negative than positive sides. Teachers and
students should not allow anyone to miss out on school and then come back with
no consequences. There should be a certain number of sick days that a person
is allowed before suspension or possible expulsion comes into place. In my
opinion, it should be school every day or no school at all. Whatever one you
choose is your decision, but consider your future before you turn off the alarm


Many parents recognize the fact that children cannot learn effectively without going to
school. Skipping school or some classes hinders students from gaining academic success
which in turn may limit their capability to become financially successful in the future.

Parents, being the primary authority figures responsible for their children, definitely play a
big role in reducing juvenile truancy. What are effective consequences and punshments for
skipping school? There are several traditionally accepted means of imposing discipline to
children who purposefully and regularly skip classes.

Parents may choose to withhold privileges as a form of discipline. Withholding privileges may
also reduce the distractions to teens' studies. Restricting your teen's access to the internet,
phone privileges, or use of a family vehicle may be helpful. It may also help to impose a
stricter curfew or shortening/curtailing time spent outside the house during weekends. As
with any kind of punishment or consequences, what is more important is being consistent
about imposing them in order to effectively communicate the seriousness of your stand on
the matter.

It's also important to communicate with your child what the school's policies are regarding
truancy and reiterate that you will not protect them from these consequences. Many schools
impose detention and in cases of regular teen truancy, even suspension or community
service. There are also some states where school attendance is mandatory and habitual
truancy can result in parents and their children getting into some trouble with the law. The

worst thing that a parent can do is shielding their children from the consequences of their
mistakes by making false excuses for them.

Beyond the Punishment

The best kinds of consequences imposed for bad behavior are those that lead young people
to learn valuable lessons. For example, parents who deal with teens constantly skipping
school may opt to address the issue a different way. They may try to set reasonable
academic goals for their children. If they meet this goal, they receive a reward. If they don't
meet this goal, some of their privileges will be restricted until the goals are met.

This way, children focus on the real goal rather than just on school attendance. They also
learn for themselves that when they don't stay in school, they most probably can't meet
their academic goals. After all, parents want their children to stay in school not just for the
sake of school attendance but for the sake of learning what they need to learn in order to
advance to the next stages of their academic life.

Teens Skipping School - Other Suggestions for Parents

When a teen consistently skips school, it's a good idea for parents to take extra measures in
order to keep their teens in line. Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful.

Keep track - Parents can request the school to notify them if their teen is absent, regardless
of whether the absence is excused or not. If possible, have your own system to track the
attendance of your teen in school (like an attendance log signed by their teacher).

Investigate - Ask your teen if there are any specific reasons why he doesn't want to go to
school. Is he being bullied? Are there classes that he's scared to attend because he's not

confident about his performance in it? Are there gang problems in the area? Talk to your
child's guidance counselor and teachers to find out if he has begun hanging out with a bad

Explore alternative solutions - For parents who continuously have a hard time keeping
their teens in school, it may be best to explore other alternatives. Depending on the reason
your child is skipping school, possible solutions may include homeschooling, encouraging
your child to see a therapist, transfering your child to a different school in order to avoid bad
crowds, and others. In some cases, sending teens to therapeutic boarding schools may help
stabilize them emotionally before reintegrating them to mainstream schools.

There are many possible reasons why teens skip school, and while consequences and
punishments for skipping school is an important means of behavior modification, it is not
enough. Finding out the underlying reasons why your child is unmotivated to go to school (or
motivated not to go to school) is the best way to help them get back on the right track.