How Many Days Are Your Kids Absent from School Each Year?

Updated on February 22, 2012
L.O. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
24 answers

Mniece is sick and this will be her 9th absense from school. Her mom is worried that she will have to go to summer school to make up for hte missed days.. She posted on facebook.. someone replied that if the child misses 8 days they would have to repoeat the grade!!! That seems extreme to me.. I know every state is different...

But what isa normal number of absences for your kids..

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answers from Washington DC on

My kid's school is 10 days and they are submitted for retention. At which point truancy officers are called in, guidance couselor is called in, it goes before a review board. Last year my son missed 8 1/2 excused days. Excused/Unexcused, it didn't matter. Late arrivals/Early dismissals when they add up to 6h = 1 day missed.

He battled two bad rounds of asthma flare up that included an ER visit. The school even called and said please send him, if he gets too bad we'll call you, but send him.

He had to go, and did the last 6 weeks without missing 1 day. That was hard.

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answers from Hartford on

As soon as a child reaches 6 absences here, or equal to 6 through tardies and absences, a letter from the principal is sent home with a warning and an offer of "help" in getting the child to school in order to obtain the best possible education. Yeah. Because when my child has a barf bug, the barf bug counts and says "Damnit! Time to pack up and leave the kid alone! She's nearing day 6! Mom is going to get reported to the truancy officer if she goes over 6!"

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answers from Dallas on

I may be incorrect but I think that in Texas you cannot have more than 3 days in one month or 10 days in 6 months of unexcused absences. You have to have a Doctor's note if you are going to miss more than that and you have to complete the missed work. If you fail to complete the missed work and do not have an arrangement with the principal than the state of Texas can consider holding the child back a grade. Ideally my kids would not miss any school but being kids in all if they are going to miss more than 2 consecutive days I would contact the school and see about getting the work to do at home. I would definitely have the doctor's office fax something to the school regardless of whether or not it is an excused absence.

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answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is in high school. She has been absent one day and away on school sanctioned trips for 4.
As for absenteeism - if the child is sick, but keeps up, there shouldn't be a problem -- BUT you need to speak with the school to be sure.
I think it honestly depends on the kid. If the child is absent for 10 days, keeps up with the work and gets As, it's not an issue. The issue is really when they aren't doing well academically.



answers from Seattle on

It varies by district. In our old district it was 9 days of school (per calendar year) = grade repeat. When I was in the same district (highschool) it was 15 days per semester / aka 30 days a year. While I was in highschool it switched to 15 days per year. The number keeps adjusting downwards. Apparently kids are supposed to not get sick anymore.



answers from New York on

Unless this person on FB is a school official, ignore her. Contact the school. My son has missed no days so far. It has been a healthy year over here. Does your niece take vitamins and an immuno-boast?



answers from Los Angeles on

We are in California and if a school told me that my kid needed to repeat a grade for 8 absences I would tell them to bite me!! My older kids have missed a lot this year already, it has been a sick year for our whole house, unfortunately, which has a lot to do (I believe) with the fact that I opened a preschool from our house in Sept which my daughter attends. I have gotten a SARB letter already from the district because my daughter has missed 8 so far, but at least in CA, that is pretty much all they can do. It is basically a letter saying that your kid has a lot of absences and that they should try not to miss so much school. Duh. All the districts care about is their money and when your kid is absent, they don't get paid. I would personally worry about it if my child was behind at all or struggling due to the absences but that is not the case with us. Is your sister's child behind? If so, have her go to the teacher each time he is absent and get the work.


answers from Washington DC on

You need to ask the school, or your niece does. Everywhere is different.

My kids don't miss much. I feel that they get enough breaks throughout the year with days off, but that doesn't stop me from giving them fun days sometimes.

We are also taking them out for a week in May for a family vacation, as well as a week next January for a cruise. I'll give the school notice for both and take their work with us.



answers from Las Vegas on

You should contact the school district and ask them. My daughter has missed 1 day so far.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I had to look at our school handbook/attendance policy.
Ours is that anything over 10 days (total) requires a doctors excuse through the end of the school year.


answers from Houston on

5 days tops but my kids rarely get sick and when they do it's fleeting. 8 days seems harsh. Some kids are more prone to illness, I lucked out.


answers from Jacksonville on

She should check her school handbook. This is why I don't think it is usually a good idea to let kids have "fun" days. At our kid's school, if they miss more than the acceptable number and do not have a written excuse (medical) for each one, they can be retained.

If she is sick, and has been sick that much, then she should have had notes for all of them and they should have been "excused". I may not understand it all exactly right, but I think that "excused" is the key. If they are unexcused, the only consequence is that the teachers are not required to allow them to make up any missed work, UNLESS they go over the number allowed. If they are excused, the kids are allowed to make up missed work within a set amount of time (usually related to the number of days missed) and if they are excused, then I'm not sure about the limit application.

Oh.. normal for my kids?
Maybe 2 or 3, when they are actually sick. My son missed an entire week in the 6th grade due to pneumonia. That was rough, catching the work up after. My daughter had perfect attendance last year. The year before, she only missed perfect attendance b/c she fell on a holiday and broke a front tooth in half (a permanent tooth) and we had to take her to the dentist the next day (school day) to get dental work done. She almost cried because up until then (in January) she had perfect attendance. I think she ended up missing one other day that school year.



answers from Tulsa on

Over 10 days without an excuse is the standard.

With a doctor's note it can be more. The key is to communicate with the school and doctor to make sure it is documented. Also, the child should turn in missed work asap.



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter was diagnosed with chronic sinusitis in December. This year she has missed 18 days but since we always have a doctors note they are excused. She still had an excellent report card so it would be ridiculous if anyone suggested she repeat the 3rd grade.


answers from Dallas on

It varies. My oldest gets pneumonia pretty easily, and the years that he's had that, he has gotten other illnesses, too. Those years he missed a lot of school. One year he missed 8 days and we got a letter from the school warning us that if he missed 10 days we would have to have a meeting with the district to discuss his absences. I called the principal to find out if it was something we needed to be concerned about, and she said it wasn't. He always has excellent grades, his absences were all excused, and he had made up all of his work. He ended up not missing any more school that year anyway.

I would guess that a typical year for my boys is maybe 4 absences.

This year neither of my boys have missed any school (knock on wood).

*I teach high school, and the policy there is that after 5 absences in any class, excused or not (school related doesn't count) the student loses credit for the semester unless he/she makes up the time.


answers from Phoenix on

None. My 6th grader missed 2 days in 4th grade for a UTI. Other than that, she hasn't missed any other days since Kindergarden. And my 3rd grader hasn't missed any either. My son has had a doc appt trying to get his meds regulated for ADHD so he's missed 2 hours once a month from school. Normally all doc/dentist appts are after school but the psych is hard to see so I take first available. I'm blessed with healthy kids and all of us are rarely sick. They don't get any shots at all for anything and the take a multivitamin/mineral and omega 3 every morning. I think it sets a bad example to the kids to take them out of school for anything other than being sick.



answers from Boston on

My kids don't miss much school and I have never received anything from them warning me I was getting close with them so I really have no idea.
They take 2-3 personal days and maybe 2-3 sick days. My kids don't get sick much so I have never bothered with a dr note. The personal days are usually to extend a camping trip


answers from Chicago on

Hi Lisa,

Each district has different rules regarding the # of absences.I don't think our districts has a specific number of unexcused. My sil kids cannot have more than 7 unexcused. I think the person on FB is referring to UNEXCUSED absences like going on vacation. I don't pull my children out for vacation days. We wait for their winter, spring or summer breaks to go on vacations. They are usually only absent at the max. 5 days per year due to such illnesses as strep thoat, bad cold, etc... Last year it was 1 day for my daughter and 4 days for my son.


answers from Seattle on

Our school has 10 UN-excused absences. If a child is sick then the absence is excused. After 10 the parent has to go before the "board" and talk with them about the reasons the child has been absent.
Unless she is pulling her child out for no reason her absences should be excused and there should be no issue.
My son missed 8 days last year and 6 of them were because he had pneumonia. He has missed 2 this year.


answers from Tulsa on

My school district in high school had a policy that a class would be failed if you hit 7 unexcused absences. For elementary, it was 10 absences since you didn't have separate classes. If there was a special circumstance, you worked with the principal and teachers. When my sister was a sophomore, she was in a serious car accident and missed over a month of school, but the principal and teachers were aware, so it got worked out. She didn't have to repeat or do summer school.


answers from San Francisco on

It would be nice if your niece's mom (your sister?) actually CALLED the teacher/school /district or at least viewed their policies online versus getting her information from random people on FB!
Seriously, I mean COME ON, what is up with that!!!



answers from Washington DC on

It depends on the state because each has it's own ed code. But in general, yes, kids MAY have to repeat a grade or attend summer school if they miss more than about 8-10 days, but that doesn't mean they WILL have to.

It's really only if they kid is falling BEHIND and there is enough missed school to identify that as a problem. Then they might make you repeat or attend summer school rather than go on to the next grade.

If she's sick, she's sick. There isn't much she can do about it now. Make sure mom calls the school, and she can ask what happens with that, but ultimately, she'll just have to deal with it as it comes. But again, if your niece is doing well in school and isn't also habitually tardy or leaving early, I'd bet it'll be fine.



answers from Chicago on

My daughters missed on average 20 days of school a year. They were always sick. High fevers, croup, strep, you name it they got it and yes we gave them vitamins and they ate a healthy diet. Both of them were straight A students and I always went in and got the work they were missing and we did it at home. I only had one teacher question me about their absents. I asked her if she would like to pay all the doctor bills and that put an end to that. Have her mother go in and talk to the teacher and make sure your niece is staying caught up in her school work. I really don't think there is anything to worry about if she's staying caught up.



answers from Augusta on

my kids aren't absent often and it would be less if the school didn't have a 24hrs after fever breaks rule.
They heal really quickly and would only be out a day at a time, BUT the school a policy that says your kid has to be fever free for 24hrs before they can come back to school. So if I pick them up from school at noon sick with a fever then they can't go back until 2 school days from the day I pick them up.
Anyway, It's usually only if the absenses are causing the child to fail or struggle that they have to repeat.

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