Missing in action


Fiachra Logan

Sophomore John Hohe has accumulated more than 20 absences. He still participates in gymnastics even with balancing his make up work.

A new type of threat to students’ education has been on the rise as of late. According to Brookings research, chronic absences have been plaguing the US in recent years, and can be toxic to how successful students are in class.

According to the Students Can’t Wait organization, a group dedicated to the welfare of students, chronic absenteeism can be defined as “a measure of how many students miss a defined number of school days (often around 15 or more days) for any reason.” Not to be confused with truancy, which is only a count of a student’s unexcused absences.

John Hohe, sophomore, claims to have missed a total of three weeks or twenty-one days this year.

“[My grades have] definitely gone down. It’s taken a toll on me. I’ll usually email my teachers and check up on sites like Canvas or Google Classroom,” said Hohe, when describing how he tries to keep up with his homework. 

Though he attempts to stay up to date with assignments from home, Hohe says that he’d guess he can only keep up with about a third of his work. This small percentage makes it difficult for a student to keep a consistent grade, and even harder to maintain a good one.

Nikki (Nicole) Hutten, sophomore, decided to work through her flu when she got sick to avoid missing school. 

“I’ve been falling asleep in most of my classes, which has really hurt the learning process. I’ve been doing my homework in the morning before school because I don’t feel well enough to stay awake and work,” Hutten said. “I just think I’m going to need to study more before any upcoming tests, considering my lack of focus and drive.”

The national flu epidemic did affect the school, with noticeable sickness making its way through the grade levels. While some students chose to stay home, others like Hutten, wanted to not fall behind on projects and tests.  

The choice to work or rest can be tough. Each side has its own pros and cons, while it typically pays to work, so long as the condition isn’t too severe. Each day absent shows on a record which can follow students to college. When applying, if students hold a high number of absences, it can play a role in accepetance.

Children tend to miss school for a variety of reasons, sick days, doctor appointments, injury, and vacations. Chronic absenteeism, however, is more concerning. Generally chronic absenteeism can be caused by lack of transportation, chronic illness, poor environment, unconcerned parents, or even abuse in the home, according to Brookings. 

The US Department of Education recorded in the 2013-14 school year, that nearly 6 million students fit into that description. That’s about 14 percent of the nation’s student body.

Students can work with guidance counselors and social workers to create plans to make up missed work in order to alleviate some of the stress of missing school.