Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Truancy for Jesus

We received a paper letter in the actual mail from our boys’ high school a while back. You just know that’s never good…

Turns out it was a truancy notice. Hmm… truancy sounds like something that happens in other families, not ours…

Apparently, the school was under the impression that our sophomore, Son Number Three, was being chronically late to class. They also listed a day that he was late to school, but it was the day of his DMV permit test. That was on purpose, because you know damned well you don’t schedule the last appointment of the day at the DMV, you schedule the first one.

I found out after further reading that the school was very concerned about his chronic truancy, and that we, his parents, could even be subject to prosecution and jail time if his truancy continued.

Now, wait just a minute, here. I’m not the one skipping class! (Anymore.)

This letter was out of the blue for us, and when I saw who it was “from” I got a little suspicious. It was signed by one of the school’s vice principals that I know and really like. They are a very cool, normal, reasonable human.

It was at that point that I realized the letter was just an automated part of a school district bureaucracy trying to manage a one-size-fits-all approach to everything. And I get it, to some extent. Things need to be fair in the eyes of the law, etc., etc., but I had to laugh. Son Number Three is many things, but a scofflaw is not one of them.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I questioned him about being chronically late to class. And when he denied it, I believed him. I know what you’re thinking – classic parent with their head in the sand, but again, if you know Son Number Three, you know. It’s entirely possible – even probable – that when they call roll he’s being so loud goofing off with his friends that he doesn’t hear his name, but I’m positive he’s there.

What really made his mom and I laugh about the automated truancy notice was his grades. This week’s column was in no way intended to be a “humble brag” or anything of the sort, but the fact is Son Number Three is killing it in school. Always has.

Needless to say, when we read the letter, we just kinda laughed and tossed it in the trash. Maybe the automated truancy detection system could add in a limiting factor for GPA, if for no other reason than to save on paper and mailing costs.

Anyway, assuming they haven’t made that software change yet, I expect to get another letter soon. I just clicked submit on the online absence reporting form for today through Friday. Number Three is on his way to Mexico today as part of our church’s advance team that gets the camp set up for the high school Mexicali mission trip over spring break.

There are educations, and then there are educations. A whole bunch of kids are about to get to be a huge blessing on someone else’s life, and simultaneously receive a Ph.D. in how lucky they are to be living in the USA. If the school district will not forgive Son Number Three’s chronic truancy, I’m confident Jesus will.

And speaking of missing school, our high school senior, Son Number Two, is about to be truant for two full days WITH his physics teacher AND the very same vice principal who was forced to send the letter to us by the school district bureaucracy. They’re going to Europe over spring break and missing the Friday before and the Tuesday after to see more sights.

I’m not sure what the school district is going to do with that situation, but I think I have a solid case for dismissal if I’m brought up on charges.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2024 Marc Schmatjen


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