Sometimes, you will have a student who is frequently absent, but doesn’t seem sick. The child may never tell you why he or she is missing school. In this economy, the reason might be that your student is baby-sitting younger siblings so parents can go to work. This situation happens more frequently than people realize.
When a child is absent a certain amount of days, the school follows specific procedures. If you think a child is being kept home to baby-sit, you can work with the school attendance clerk and social worker to encourage parents to send the child to school. In extreme cases, courts might get involved.
While the administrative wheels grind, help your student get a quality education while she is in your classroom. Sometimes you can give your student schoolwork to do at home, which the child might really appreciate.
Kids really want to learn. Try to instill a love of learning and “stay in school” attitude if one of your students is faced with a scenario such as this. Life is going to be difficult for that child, and maybe you can help her persevere against difficult odds.
This can be an especially difficult situation for first year teachers to recognize. Good relationships with the office staff and social worker will be especially valuable when one of your students is vulnerable.