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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Student school absences on the rise

Photo Credit: The Declaration Staff
In a New York Times article, “Nationally, an estimated 26 percent of public school students were considered chronically absent last school year, up from 15 percent before the pandemic.”

When you were in high school and you went to your classes everyday did you ever notice when your classmates were absent or not in class? Or maybe you’re in high school now and everyday maybe 1 or 2 of your classmates are out. Well, schools in New Jersey and all over the country are currently suffering from absences and lack of student attendance.

 Chronic Absenteeism

Chronic absenteeism or in simple words, when someone misses so many school days that the school district starts to question their seasoning’s, or 10% of the School year. There are 180 school days in a year and if you take that and divide it by 10 you get 18. That’s 18 missed school days a year to be classified as having chronic absenteeism, and it is said that people with this most of the time struggle in school because of them falling back from all the missed days. 

Alaine Bolton, veteran Piano teacher at Colonia High School explained,” There is at least one person absent every day in my classes on average.”

From Bolton’s response you could see that everyday there are at least 1 person absent but that doesn’t mean that some days there’s two, three, or maybe even four. Everyday there’s kids that are absent and that’s just in one class if we’re talking about a school with over 100 classes that could make over 400 students absent a day. If you search up how many students go to Colonia High School it says about 1.3 thousand students attend this high school. 400 of those students almost come out to 30 percent of the students that attend Colonia could be absent everyday. Now of course it’s still accurate because you can’t calculate how many students are absent everyday but if you break it down more simply that’s the result you would most likely get. 

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According to Derek Thompson at The Ringer, “One-third of D.C. ninth graders were absent for the equivalent of six full weeks of school in one school year.”

New Jersey absence policy

In pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:36-14, 15, and 16, New Jersey only allows students to be absent for the following reasons:

  1. Religious holidays
  2. Take your child to work day
  3. Up to 3 college visits
  4. If there’s a bussing issue
  5. Participation in district membership election activities
  6. Veterans Day

Schools in New Jersey do not permit students to get an excused absence when they have an illness, get a drivers license, or be hospitalized, or have to attend a funeral. So that means you can go to work with your parents but when it comes to their funeral you are not allowed to attend.

Veteran English teacher Danielle Allen explained that she has about 2 students absent everyday. By Allen saying this you could really see that absences are a common occurrence in these classes and it is rare to have a class where all of the students are present. 

Both Bolton and Allen feel that the second highest reason students miss school is related to stress. Bolton explained, “Expectations and demands are very high for everyone, and breaks are few and far between.  Many students are juggling school, school work, jobs, and home life and sometimes it can all be overwhelming.” Allen stated that mental illnesses is another reason for absences stating,” I wind up with a decent amount because of mental illness.”

So as you can see student absences are starting to become a real issue in schools nowadays which is leading to many students falling behind and failing. 


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