Truancy… Lack of Fluency?


As the second semester approaches, some students are receiving a not so positive letter in the mail.

At Black River Falls High School students are allowed to have 10 excused school days throughout the year, many are beginning to exceed that. For many, they don’t think 10 days is enough for students.

“There are some people who go on vacation for around a week or two and that uses those excused days up right away,” said senior Ryan Goodenough.

Not only do people go on vacation, but other things come up for students that may cause them to miss school.

“Students never know when they get sick or have a funeral or something like that come up, which continues to use excused days,” said Goodenough.

Once you have used all 10 excused days up, students will notice even if a parent calls them in, in skyward, it is still marked unexcused. On the other hand, that’s not always the case.

“Even though I’m passed the amount of excused days allowed, when my dad calls me in it still marks me excused,” said senior Ella Brown.

Although some students have reasons to be missing school and using their excused days, others simply do not like coming to school.

“I really just don’t like to be here but even though I miss so much school, everything is online, like all of the assignments for my classes so I always stay caught up and it’s hard to fall behind,” said Brown.

Most teachers post all their assignments through canvas and students can learn what they missed just by logging in and looking at the class periods they’ve missed.

There are students though who disagree with the idea of having more excused days, saying 10 excused days is enough.

“When you think about it, school is just like having a job and many jobs don’t allow that many excused absences without prior permission,” said junior Adeline West.

A normal workplace in the United States will only allow for a employee to have 8 excused with pay sick days before they start not getting paid when they take the day off.

“As students, school really is our job so it makes sense that we only have a small number of excused days, school needs to be taken just as serious as a real job, which will eventually prepare people for the real world,” said West.

Most parents tend not to be too happy once their student has run out of excused days but other parents think it’s no big deal.

“My dad doesn’t really care how much school I miss so if i’ve used all my excused days he’s still willing to call me in even if it marks me unexcused,” said West.

Most students don’t understand why it’s 10 days or what those 10 days mean but Assistant Principal  Stalheim explains what these days mean.

“The 10 excused days are allowed by WI State Statute 118.15 (3)(c).  That is the maximum number of days a parent is allowed to excuse their child from school in a year.  There are times when a student or parent can share documentation about an absence with the school. For example, medical appointments.  These documented absences do not count against the 10 total excused. We place the letter d in front of the attendance code in Skyward so it calculates the total absences according to state statutes,” said Stalheim.  

It’s important for the school to know when a student is going to be absent so they can correctly mark them down.

“Though high school students are becoming young adults it is important the school is contacted about the reason for their absence or we get documentation when appropriate.  Accurate attendance information helps the school determine if a student is truant,” said Stalheim.

Before students have reached the maximum limit, the school works with and notifies the students family to work on improving their attendance.

“First, unexcused or excused absences have different guidelines about class work makeup. Second, if a student has accumulated 5 unexcused absences the school will hold an attendance meeting with the family.  If our plan does not improve attendance, the school will follow prescribed procedures to file for truancy. This may result in a fine and/or county intervention,” said Stalheim.