Chesterton Tribune

Duneland Schools should reverse antifamily vacation policy

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Voice of the People

In a perfect world, I wouldnít pull my children out of school for a family vacation. But, I am forced to do this at least once a year, if not twice due to limitations imposed by my employer. Both my husband and I work as Retail Managers. We chose this profession, and the hours of work it requires, but did not think years ago that this would limit the time we spend with our children. We both have black out times during which vacation is prohibited. These times represent our busiest months for retail sales. With this in mind, I have no other option but to spend precious family time during the school year. My children are good students whose vacations do not affect their grades due to the importance we place on make up work.

My question is: Why is my priority of taking a family vacation less important than the parent who lets an over-tired child miss a day of school? How about a child who misses school to visit family from out of town? Or, what about a child who may miss school when the parent writes a note stating they are ďsick?Ē Or, go to see the Cubs on Opening Day? A note from a parent lying about the reason for the absence will make these days excused for their children. These children will now have more make-up time than my children who are spending quality family time with both parents. When did family time become an unexcused absence?

The same people who changed this policy have the option of family time with their children without such harsh consequences-they have the same vacations as their children. And, donít get me wrong about this, but these are the same people who shop during school breaks and expect retail stores to be open. My retail store is extemely busy with back to school sales during the summer. I have to work when teachers and administrators are on vacation. I am open Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day-this is your family - arenít I entitled to mine! Years ago, it was not necessary for both parents to work. Now it is completely necessary if you want your children to grow up in the same town you did, here in Chesterton. The town and the economics of the area have truly changed from when I grew up here in our community. If you donít believe me, look at the price of real estate or even the price of gas. There should be a level of tolerance for the different schedules of professional careers.

As the daughter of a retired Duneland teacher, I realize the importance of education and attendance. I graduated with honors from Chesterton High School and Purdue University. I know what opportunities education brings in life. I also know that I had the advantage of having my dad home when I was on school breaks - we took our vacations in the summer. Not all children have this option.

Duneland Schools should re-evaluate this policy. Donít punish the children whose parents choose to spend quality time as a family. Is this a bigger problem than our high school attendance and drop out rate? How about school age drug use? Duneland needs to tackle bigger problems first before they punish families.

Susan Pearson

Chesterton Class of Ď84


Posted 4/26/2006