Saturday, January 12, 2008


There's this girl. I can't even say "there's a girl in one of my classes," because, well, you'll see.

M came to school on the first day of school like everyone else, and she came the day after that. Then she disappeared.

Until one day in late October. She started to walk into the room, cheerily saying, "Hi, Miss!" I said, "And who are you?" She responded, "I'm M, I'm in your class!" All happy like.

I responded in a rather irritated/shocked manner. I said, "Excuse me? What do you mean being gone for over a month and then just waltzing into my room? Where have you been?"

Her reply: "Um, I got sick."

"Then where's your doctor's note? You must have been really ill--what happened?"

"I don't have a note, I was just in bed."

I just shook my head and sent her in the room.

She was there for two, maybe three days, she was on task, did the work very well.

Then she disappeared again.

The first week of December, she comes back. With a note.

This is what it says:

To whom it may concern

My daughter was absent for 3 months because she caught a cold from her window being open, you see she gets sick easily because she forgets to close her window. But now shes going to start going to school everyday. Please give her the work shes missed. Thank you

Errors and all--but worse, it's M's handwriting, not an adult's. Also complete and utter bullshit. Lies and excuses and other bad things. The whole thing is literally unbelievable to me. Is the girl extremely manipulative? Is she tricking her mom or dad into letting her stay home? Are the parents abusing her in some way? Are they keeping her home for some reason? I really don't know. The guidance counselor and I talked about her a couple times, both of us shocked and dismayed by the girl's absence and ridiculous "note." She mentioned something about a court case, so they've started the process of calling the parents on educational neglect. But jesus! How is this possible? How are they getting away with this, whether it's the girl or the parents? I don't understand. She's smart, she catches on right away, she seems nice enough--she should be an excellent student.

After class that day in December, I asked her how often we were going to see her. "Every day!" she promised. "I hope so," I replied," because you need to be here every day in order to learn and do well." "I know, Miss."

She was there for one more day, and we haven't seen her again.

It's nearly halfway through the school year, and this girl has been in school SIX DAYS. SIX DAYS!

Who's leaving who behind here?


Mintyfresh said...

that's very sad, and scary. it makes me even sadder and more fearful that i bet there's abuse, not a manipulative kid.

17 (really 15) more years said...

We're going through the same thing-not as excessive as your situation, but similar. Forget about educational neglect- if ACS hasn't made a home visit by now, it's very unlikely that they will.

Is she in your homeroom (if you have one)? Make sure your records are perfection. And give her a "Z" grade on her report card.

X said...

I have one of these too, although she only disappeared for a month. And I have no faith in ACS anymore (not that I ever had a ton).

kherbert said...

We have an on campus social worker that will make home visits if a student is missing for a few days and we don't get an answer to our phone calls checking on the student.

Once the student misses 7 days, the social worker makes a visit. We do have kids that have chronic illnesses that are being treated through ER's only because the parents don't have insurance.

This is less of a problem now because we have a partnership with Memorial Herman and a clinic at one of the HS. If a student needs medical care, they come to school and wait in the nurse's office. She lets transportation know she has a student. A bus comes and picks the students up and takes them to the clinic. They get free medical care and free meds.

We do have students that disappear. Then reappear at other schools demanding their records. You have to attend for 15 days a grading period or you can't earn a grade. So we have no grades for them. This usually happens in the spring between the 1st set of TAKS tests and the make up test.