East St. Louis Parent Leader Shares Experiences in Chalkbeat Story about Chronic Absenteeism
“Lettie Hicks, whose younger daughter is currently a second grade student in East St. Louis school district 189, received a warning letter after her daughter missed five days of school last year.
Hicks was confused when she received the letter. Her school district remained remote last year and she was struggling to balance working from home and helping her daughter do school work online.
At first, Hicks didn’t know how to work a Chromebook and grappled with getting her daughter’s log-in information to work. The district never followed up with her about the letter.
As a parent facilitator with nonprofit organization Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), Hicks found out that other parents were also receiving truancy letters. Truancy is when a student misses school without a valid excuse; chronic absenteeism is when a student misses 18-20 days with or without an excuse.
‘The question that I had, and I still have, was how many days is a child allowed to be absent before extreme measures are taken place?’ said Hicks. ‘Nobody answered that question.’
Hicks felt like there was a lot of information about how parents could be penalized if their child did not attend classes, but no information around expectations for attendance from the district.”
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