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Why do they call so late if your child is absent?

Original post made by What?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 11, 2008

Shouldn't there be a rule about calling the parents soon after the bell rings? What if the student is snatched on the way to school?

There have been a few times where my child was going to be late to school due to an appointment or absent due to illness and I forgot to notify the school because I also have a toddler to care for. The administration did not call me until some 45 min. after the beginning of school and one time did not call at all. For summer school, my son (who attends a different middle school during the year) was ill and I forgot to call JLS and they did not call me until two hours after the beginning of class. For a year, my children attended a different elementary in PA because they were overflowed and that school would call me within 15 min. of the start of the bell if I hadn't called in. They were very strict about tardies. I know this sounds kind of bad that I have forgotten so many times, but it was about 6 times total of the three schools which I forgot, not enough for them to dismiss me as being forgetful.


Comments (5)

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Posted by Parent without handles
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2008 at 10:59 am

It has only happened to me once at elementary school and it was due to a schedule change on their part not mine, but they called me within 1 hour and made me feel terrible as my mother had walked my child to school for the regular late kindergarten start and I got really worried that she had not turned up, although she had already arrived. I complained about this later as they worried me, but I was told I was in the wrong.

In secondary schools, there is the infamous dialer which calls at dinner time and tells you any classes your child missed. On each occasion this has happened it has been because of a mistake made by a sub or a teacher, when they forgot to do roll call or made a mark by the wrong child being absent.

I get the impression from friends that if you are the sort of person who often forgets or does it late, then they leave you at the bottom of the list of people to call. If it is very unusual for you to not call on time, then you will be the first to call. The office staff are quite busy with absences and parent questions at the beginning of the day and although they try and work their way through the lists, it is hard with so many calls to make to know which ones they should do first.


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Posted by Another idea...
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 14, 2008 at 11:11 am

If everyone got to their classes on time, this would be a non-issue. Schoolds would have a much shorter list of calls if the habitually late students (and parents) just got to school on time.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2008 at 11:43 am

Good idea another


Back in my school days, those who were late to school had to stand in line outside the office for the whole of lunch and then at the end we had to explain to the principal. Sometimes the principal came out early just to make sure that we were there for the whole time.

Being late was no fun, so we made sure we got there on time as much as we could, but buses were late or went by full and it did make us late sometimes.


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Posted by mom
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Another Idea and Parent,

You are not addressing the issue, but rather stating opinions and experiences. We can't always blame the children for being late. It is often the parents' fault.

The real issue is that the schools don't call parents within a set amount of time. This isn't the old days where a child is just late. Children get taken off the streets these days and if a child is not in class, the parents should be alerted and police called. If the parent isn't called until an hour later, you can bet there will be lawsuit against PAUSD. Moreover, the child could be far away and tortured if the police find out so late.

Our superintendent should address this issue. Palo Altans are getting complacent about safety.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Terman Mom

I agree with what you are saying, but in order to understand that there are so many late arrivals, our office staff need to get to them all in turn. If we could make this list of late arrivals shorter each day, then the staff would be able to shorten the time to call.

Families are often the reason kids are late, but often the kids don't feel that being late is anything to worry about. If more emphasis was put on getting to school on time by both kids and families, then these calls could be dealt with quicker and any alerts made sooner.


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