Dad's excuse for Bruce Springsteen concert goes viral and raises the question of which school absences are not okay

By now you may have seen this note from a father in upstate New York. Earlier this week he took his daughter to see Bruce Springsteen at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY. His concerts are known for running late, so she was late to school the next day. At least dad was honest.


This caught my attention for a few reasons. Growing up in upstate New York I have been to several concerts at the Times Union Center including a Billy Joel concert my junior year of high school. I got home at 1 AM and the last bell at my school rang at 7:50. I think I made it to school on time. After all it was junior year and college applications were looming large ahead of me.

My view is this note was cute to a point. I didn’t like the God simile. Maybe I am more sensitive about this because Lent just started but I didn’t think it was appropriate. Besides, this dad got it wrong. If you’re a classic rock fan, you know that Eric Clapton is God.

To me though, the larger question at hand is which school absences are not okay? Of course I am not talking about being sick or a funeral in the family. Instead I am thinking of family vacations, off-peak trips to Disney during the school year and yes, even Bruce Springsteen concerts.

Last year I took my son out of school for a week so we could fly home for a Mother’s Day family reunion. I felt that family time was important especially since my children now see the older relatives maybe twice a year and well, they are getting older so who knows how long we will be able to do this. I emailed the principal and explained the situation. He excused it but made it very clear I should try not to do this again. I can’t imagine what would have happened if our trip were during a testing window. I suppose I would have needed approval from the superintendent.

We don’t have extended school year trips planned this year but this happens all the time. Family time is important but so is learning. So much is packed into each school day even in elementary school that making up the work is time consuming not to mention the lost classroom instruction. Of course you could make the argument that school is so intensive now that kids need a break. Others say too many are already built into the school year and that’s when you should plan your trips, no matter how expensive Orlando is that time of year.

My son is at a new school this year and I have already received numerous letters and emails from this principal cautioning against unexcused absences like this. Apparently this school has had so many whoever oversees this has noticed which means aid could be negatively impacted.

Most of the comments think this dad did the right thing. Sure, one concert is fine but how many late mornings would it take for us to say that maybe it’s not a good idea?

What do you think? Which school absences are okay and which are not okay?  Share with a comment.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: classic rock, parenting

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