School attendance

yabberMay 5, 2010

Well it's just getting better and better. FDH got a letter last month about SD13 not attending school enough with unexplained absences. So he rang the teacher and explained it's not in his control when SD is with BM but it's always been a worry. Also explained what he tried to do about it previously. Teacher promised FDH to follow up with BM.

So far this school has been really good, they don't avoid FDH like primary school principal used to do and they keep him in the loop. And so they should! Anyway, today there's another letter from the school again. SD13's attendance has now fallen under 75%.

SD13 does suffer from migraines, and from experience we know that when the pressure is on she suffers them more often. And ulcers in her mouth too actually.

Anyway, with the recent developments (the traditional time of year for BM to cranck it up and SD13 now staying with BM more again) we know that it's a pressure cooker again overthere. And so SD13 suffers. So I imagine that she does get the actual migraine which puts her in bed for a day, but not for almost 2 weeks! This is the problem, first the stress gives her a migraine, then she has to stay home, which actually gives her more stress because she doesn't get the break from the chaos, and then when she's worn out BM tells her to take it easy, rents a couple of DVD's and gets SD13 to stay home a bit longer - a vicious circle.

I'll be surprised if they show up tomorrow, we've been at this point before many times and we know (sort of) what to expect. If they come they'll fall asleep on the couch after dinner while their favorite soap is on, they are just so worn out.

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Why are these unexcused if SD is sick? Has different medicaiton been tried re migraines? FDH needs to ask more questions.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 7:03AM
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I agree, if she is suffering from migraines, there should be medical records & the absences should be excused. Does she go to the doctor? If she is missing that much school for it, she should be seen by a doctor. Not seeing the doctor & allowing her to miss so much school is, in my opinion, a form of neglect. Something doesn't sound right.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 11:32AM
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Medication for migraines is a nasty business... There are a few lucky individuals who can just pop a pill when they feel a migraine coming on, but from what I've heard, most people have to take preventative meds every day and these meds can have nasty side effects. It may help -- but it's not a simple solution.

I agree with Ima that something doesn't sound right... Could you and Hubby have a heart to heart with SD13? Maybe talk to her about her health and the toll on her health that stress can take? I know 13 is pretty young for it, but migraines are miserable. The migraines might be enough to get her to agree to make some changes.

Do you know how many days of school she missed following nights at BM's? And how many days she missed after nights withyou? Maybe chart them out for her so she can see? (Along with a talk about how kids who miss too many days of school can be held back.)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:30PM
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I have same questions as KKNY...why are the absences unexcused if SD is suffering migraines? DS7's school has a 95% attendance expectation but since he still goes to many doctors appointments, including today, that is unrealistic. Heaven forbid that DS just gets a regular cold on top of his cancer monitoring. I supply doctors notes for each appointment if I can (sometimes they are tests so I can't get a real doctors note) and the school has accepted the situation. DS's teacher usually marks him as tardy/absent-excused before he even shows up because she knows he has these frequent appointments. I've been very upfront with the teachers and the school so there are no problems like this.

Has SD had a recent, written diagnosis on her migraines from a doctor that can be provided to the school? That would go a long way to making the school back off a bit. Attendance is a big deal as I'm sure you know, not in small part because public schools receive funding based on attendance. Plus schools can get very legal about it if they feel they need to. And of course, it's best for the kids to be there as much as they can.

I'm with ImA, sounds like something else hasn't been revealed on this.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 2:59PM
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Yes, I dont understand. In my district, if a child is sick for a lot of days, school helps arrange with tutor, or now internet based instruction, if the child has access.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 3:55PM
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Well ladies, this is exactly my point. Something is not right here!

When SD13 has a migraine she's usually sick for a day, staying in bed and throwing up a few times. The day after is to recover and then she's usually good to go.

SD13 has been to a doctor before and she didn't get any medication for it.

This time SD has missed almost 1 and 1/2 weeks of school again, last week and most days this week. All those days she stayed with BM.
SD hasn't been sick when she's been with us, but if she was we'd give her a note. It's BM who doesn't give an explanation to the school. So the school has now sent out a letter to both parents because they don't keep track of where SD is staying on which days. This is the only reason we know.

I'm not saying that SD even had a migraine this time, and I sure don't think it lasted for 8 school days + a weekend. I'm just saying that we know she suffers from them and so it might have started off with that, I'm having a guess because we haven't been informed by BM or SD that something is up.

Both SD's miss lots of school when they are not sick, we hear about it afterwards usually.

F.e. last month SD13 had to stay home because the carpet guy was coming and BM needed help (???) so that is when FDH spoke to teacher the first time. He did not dob BM in by mentioning the 'carpet reason', but he did say that there has been issues with attendance before as well, and asked teacher what they can do in a situation like this (rather then going in all guns blazing).

SD13 and SD12 also missed the last day of school before Easter holidays because BM says you don't do anything on last day anyway so she kept them home.

When SD's come to our place this time FDH will have a 1 on 1 with her to see if anything is wrong. They've always been able to talk so at least that's something. However the pressure to keep secrets does make it hard for SD to open up.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 7:43PM
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these absences are excused since she is sick, why call them unexcused? she possibly needs more medication or different medication and see a different doctor. At a high school level one can still lose credit if it is excused but that could be negotiated with administration if medical documentation is provided. if parents share custody (and you said they do right?) why not taking her to a doctor? if mom does not take her, then dad should. then see what doctor says.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:41PM
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FD I never said SD13 had a migraine during the last unexplained 8 day absence. We don't know yet why she didn't go to school, she was with BM. And the school informed us yesterday, not BM, we were not aware.

So FDH will have a talk to SD13 to see what's going on.

All I said is that SD13 does suffer from migraines so maybe she had one, but I'm assuming this, we haven't heard yet.
SD13 misses more days at school when not sick then when she is sick. BM keeps her home too much. But this last absence we're not sure yet what the go is.

And after FDH has talk and we know the reason for this latest long absence we'll decide if this is something to see doctor about.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 10:13PM
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In my school district, even sickness that would normally be considered 'excused' will not be if it is a prolonged length of time and there is no documentation via a dr. that child is really sick. Without looking it up, it's something like 4 days, after that dr must document need/reason for continued 'excused'.

At my school, they would not question a case like Lamom's son as his illness has been well documented and they would be working with the parent/child to keep lessons current...but with kids who just heavy absences without proven illness and documentation by dr , what might usually be an excused will not be excused (with chance to appeal though).

My DD29 in jr high suffered migraines but they would vary in duration, a day, several days usually but she was down and out over one week during one migraine. She was under dr care during that period (dr ran several test to see if maybe something else was going on). That was the one and only that bad and as the years passed now as an adult she maybe gets one once a year where it turn full blown migraine status. Stress plays a huge part in hers and what keys them off. Back in jr high the dr believed it was the stress of changes going on in her body triggered that episode, all I know for sure is she was taken to specialist (2) besides her regular dr and all seemed to come to the same conclusion.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 8:39AM
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FDH had a chat with SD13 last night. Turns out she didn't have a migraine, according to SD13 it was stress that kept her home. Apparently she gave FDH a serious look and said: "You know why I'm stressed", but didn't care to explain. FDH did ask what she meant but she didn't want to go into it, we think she's referring to changing the 50/50 living arrangements. FDh didn't want to push her for an answer so I don't know any more at this stage :-(

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 8:10PM
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FDH should immediately get her to pediatrician and FDH should tell DR that SD13 has said her stress her so serious she is missing school. The FDH should call pediatrician and ask does SD need referal for therapist. There are a number of possibilities. FDH needs to get the solution process in motion. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 8:18PM
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I'll suggest that to FDH KKNY, thanks

Unfortunately the whole 'seeing a therapist' is not lookig hopefull. We tried to organise this before and BM always put a stop to it (at the time FDH had EOW and BM flatly refused to let him pick SD's up for an appointment during the week). Also she had sole custody so without her permission it wasn't happening. Anyway, now he's got shared legal and when they went back to court in '08 FDH brought up the suggestion of therapist. Of course under that pressure BM couldn't deny him any longer and said she was all for it, pfff.. So it was court ordered that FDH was allowed to take SD's. BM would have hated that, with all her precious secrets at risk.

The skids went in early '09 and were very enthusiastic about it. Couldn't wait till next time, hoped the appointments could be longer etc etc we were so happy.

SD13 also shared a lot with FDH at the time and told him that she thought it would be really good if BM would go as well, so she could get help. SD13 thought that BM might be depressed. They had spoken about Post Natal Depression at school and SD13 thought that BM might have that. (Hard to believe now that she wasn't in denial then like she is now :-(
When SD13 told BM that she would like to go with her, BM saw an opportunity and didn't miss it. She started interfering with our appointments, saying that SD13 didn't want to go with us anymore but only with her. And of course SD13 thought it was great and confirmed it. The therapist also knew that BM wasn't going to take them, but she said there's not much we can do about it. Forcing them to go is pointless. And so BM got her way and got to take the kids to the therapist. I'm not sure anymore but I think they went once or not at all. That was the end of it. She scheduled and re-scheduled and then re-scheduled some more and eventually cancelled. Both SD's do not want to go back to therapy now. They say that we must think something is wrong with them, but their mom thinks they are just fine and it's us who's got the problem.. Trying to explain to them that we don't think something is wrong with them, and that a therapist is there to help deal with stress for example, is just not getting through to them. BM has successfully poisoned them against that as well.

However, that doesn't mean that we can't try again, FDH hasn't talked to them about it for some time now, it's worth a try.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:39PM
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Where I live a certain amount of unexcused absenses, and the school will get CPS involved. I think FDH should call the school guidance counselor and double check that any rules are being obeyed. Some parents dont want CPS involved. In this case, it might be best.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 6:27AM
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in my area so many absences without doctor's note will lead to truancy charges and parents will end up in court and could lose their children.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 7:24AM
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Getting CPS involved might be a good idea. Worth exploring, I think.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 1:21PM
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Yabber, and DH is still ok with SD going to live with BM? If she's that stressed out 50/50 and staying home from school that much while she's at Moms. What's going to happen when she's there all the time? She's always going to be stressed and missing school.

I would consider this very serious. Document.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 4:39PM
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My question may seem really weird but why did your DH go 8 days plus a weekend before he spoke with his DD? He knows the situation and yet he wasn't in contact with his children in the meantime to find out how they were doing?? It took a letter from school to get him to call???

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 9:06PM
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FDH will have a talk to the school counselor first and discuss what they can do, I don't know if CPS is an option. We have rang them before and they investigated but didn't think there was a problem. But we'll see after he spoke to the school counselor.

As for lonepipers question, BM never used to allow the kids to ring FDH on the phone. And when FDH tried to ring them she got the home phone disconnected. Seriously.
When they went back to court in '08 she got it re-connected. SHe also gave kids mobile phone at young age to take to our place so she can ring them on it (even though we never not allow her to talk to them and she'll ring and keep them talking for 2 hours..). At her place they used to have to hand the mobiles back and she switched them off.

Now that the kids are a bit older it's harder to not allow them to ring FDH, but she's discouraged it for so many years that the kids just don't seem to want to make the effort anymore. They also know intuitively that there's consequences if they do initiate a call (puts BM in bad mood). So they don't ring FDH, unless BM enourages because BM needs to know something.

As for FDH ringing them, he rings them every Tuesday and he did so this time as well. But SD13 didn't tell him that she was not at school.
The therapist we saw advised FDH to try and keep a routine for ringing the kids, this way it's easier on the kids because it's predictable and BM will get used to it over time so there's no fall-out after the phonecall. So this is what FDH is doing. He rings them on Tuesday and sees them on the Thursday when he picks SD12 up for her guitar lesson. Also then he wasn't aware that SD13 was not going to school. It's not him who's not caring enough or not bothered, it's BM who's making them keep secrets.
Very hard to prove something like that. But if you were here with us for a period of time and you would see it for yourself I bet you'd still find it hard to believe. I do.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 12:01AM
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Did SD already move back to moms? because otherwise it makes little sense, dad has the kids 50/50 and 65/35 yet does not talk for 10 days and does not see them that much? Only calls on Tuesday? And was the custody actually changed? Because if he calls authorities to complain about mom, could they ask where is dad if they share custody and why doesn't he take interest in kids school attendance and why doesn't he call to check on them?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 2:52AM
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Of course custody was changed. When SD told us about her wish to change FDH got the papers the next day. BM had already rung child support and centrelink to change the payments. Don't you worry, when money's involved she can't be quick enough.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 1:05AM
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I see, I still think that's awfully long time not to call his child. I also think he still has some legal custody?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 2:36AM
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I don't understand sorry. FDD drops kids of on Sunday then rings them 2 days later on Tuesday and sees them on Thursday when he picks up SD for music lesson.
It's only 2 days in between?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 10:50PM
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oh i see, two days is fine, it just seemed strange she missed 8 days but dad didn't know, but apparently she didn't tell him...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 4:53PM
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