When you think back to your school days, do you remember the promise of a prize for perfect attendance? It's something a lot of schools offer, to encourage their students (and, it seems, their students' parents) not to miss out on even a single day.
While we get the thinking behind reward programs like this, at least one school in the UK is taking it too far. Blackmoor Park Junior School in Liverpool refused to let 7-year-old Olivia Harkins participate in a movie trip for kids with perfect attendance because she missed one day of class to go to an appointment at the hospital.
Harkins has diabetes, her parents explained to Liverpool Echo, and had to check in with her consultant at the hospital recently. Because her appointment was during school hours and Harkins had to miss part of the day, she was disqualified from going to the movies with her class. While it seems that the school would make an exception for someone who had no choice but to be absent because of a medical condition, the school's headteacher Colin Richardson actually defended their decision, according to Liverpool Echo.
A photo of the school's attendance policy shared with Liverpool Echo explicitly states that, "the child has not attended any medical appointments during that period of time," as one of the ways in which they can achieve perfect attendance.
"In partnership with parents, we are making a real effort to make sure that children do not miss lessons unless it is absolutely necessary," Richardson said in a statement shared to Liverpool Echo. "This has had a really positive effect, and attendance for this term so far has risen from 95 percent last year to 97 percent this year."
However, Harkins mother insisted that this case was absolutely necessary, as they couldn't have gotten an appointment for any time that wasn't during the school day. She said her daughter is devastated to have missed her trip because of her hospital appointment and is calling the school's decision to exclude her "discrimination."
While Richardson said in the statement that students like Harkins who had to miss out this time will have more chances during the rest of the year, it seems to us that the school could stand to be a little less strict on their attendance policy.
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