Listen, we all know why school is important, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to, from time to time, come up with reasons to not go to class. Hey, it happens to the best of us!

Of course, this is awful and you shouldn’t do it: do not make up an excuse just so you can skip a day! But what if you have a legitimate excuse? Well, first of all, your school is going to define what ‘legitimate excuse’ actually means, but for most schools in most states, here are the most legitimate, and arguably the only legitimate, excuses to miss school:

Legitimate Excuses Not to Go to School: Traffic Jam

I live a few minutes outside of L.A. but my kids attend school in the city. In lieu of riding a school bus, my wife and I decided to take our kids to school everyday because it gives us a little more bonding time with our children, and it’s more economical that way (both their schools are on the way to my office, which is coincidentally, right next to my wife’s office!).

But if you’ve ever lived in the city of Angels, you know our traffic can be absolute hell: what should be a 20-minute commute can sometimes turn into a 2-hour mess that involves a lot of swearing at other drivers, hot heads, and late students to school. Of course, a lot of the times, our kids’ teachers understand when their late; after all, they’re our neighbors and we arrive at the same time anyway!

But missing a whole day of school? That’s happened a couple of times because of major accidents on the freeway, and we were stuck on the I-5 for the better part of four whole hours. That’s right, by the time we got to the city, it was lunch time. My wife and I decided to call our kids’ schools, told them about the accident on the I-5, and had them excused to miss school. We still had to provide ‘evidence’, though, so I sent them various news articles about the accident, how bad traffic was, and, of course, videos of us in said traffic jam.

Legitimate Excuses Not to Go to School: Bad Weather

Bad weather

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“Bad weather” is usually a tired excuse used by bad students to justify a bit of rain to sleep in. But what about actual bad weather?

Depending on the district, schools can choose to cancel classes and bus routes (of course, the latter doesn’t apply to us), but that’s usually during a state of calamities like wildfires or storm surges. However, there have been times where, our kids had to stay in because of a storm surge even if their school didn’t cancel class because we live far enough from L.A. to have our own severe weather conditions.

In these cases, however, we provided the school with enough ample evidence (e.g. videos of our street being flooded with knee-high water) to excuse our kids from school. This happened a couple of times, and while all of them were acceptable excuses to miss school, the school board made it very clear that they reviewed each incident on a case-to-case basis.

My advice: if you live far enough from your school that severe weather conditions might affect you and your school district differently, take as many photos and videos as you can. However, as a general rule, if they haven’t suspended your bus routes, or if you’re in the same district as your school, get on up out of bed and get ready for school, a little drizzle of rain won’t kill you!

Legitimate Excuses Not to Go to School: Family Vacation

Last year, my family and I decided to take a winter tour of Europe that started right after Christmas and went all the way to the first week of February (relax, we stayed with friends and we bought all our tickets on the cheap!), which meant the kids were going to effectively miss about a month of classes.

This put is in hot water with the school board, and we had to negotiate a whole bunch of workarounds and compromises so that they’d allow our kids to go on an extended break; after all, while our kids never had sick days or weather cancellations or lates from traffic jams that year, our month-long Europe trip bordered dangerously close to the limits of how many days of school they can miss.

But, again, we had to go to a lot of PTA meetings, and our kids had to do a LOT of extra credit work, and even homework: at one point they were doing homework at an outdoor cafe in Budapest (but hey, there are worse places to do your homework, am I right?). So if you want to use family vacation as an excuse to miss school, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

Legitimate Excuses Not to Go to School: (Actual) Medical Illness

Illness

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A lot of kids think that sick days are the best; after all, you get to stay home all day under the covers while mommy and daddy takes care of you, and in a way, that is pretty cool…unless, of course, you’re actually sick.

One time, my youngest son came down with a really bad flu which had us worried: a really high fever (over 101F, which is quite worrying), chills, body aches, nausea, loss of appetite, and a whole bunch of other symptoms that precipitated a trip to the family doctor. Luckily, our doctor determined that it was just a bad flu, and gave us the medication he needs. He also gave us a doctor’s note that gave our child a few days off school for recovery. In total, my son missed around 3 days of school.

Of course, with a legitimate doctor’s note, the school decided that it was a legitimate excuse for him to not go to school, not just because it was in his best interest to get better, but also to prevent other student’s from getting the bug. But, again, we had to get a legitimate doctor’s note for an actual medical illness (thankfully, it didn’t escalate into an emergency).

By now, I’m sure you’re seeing a trend here: every single excuse not to go to school that our kids had were vetted and approved by their parents after stringent thought and, in some cases, a lot of negotiation with their teachers and even the school board. So if you think your flimsy “my dog ate my homework” excuse will work in this day and age, think again kiddo!

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