To lie or not to lie, that is the question

It’s easy to say it’s wrong to lie. But I’m conflicted on this one. Let me explain.

Last year, my hubby and I took our youngest daughter snow tubing, and a good time was had by all. We want to go again this year. My hubby has every other Monday off. It’s cheaper on Mondays, but more important, it’s less crowded. So we want to take her on a Monday. However, a family field trip is not considered a valid excuse to miss a day of school.

So, my choices are:

  1. Write her a note outlining exactly why she missed school and have it go on her record as an unexcused absence.
  2. Write no note and have it go on her record as an unexcused absence.
  3. Lie and say she was sick that day and have it go on her record as an excused absence.

Now, for what it’s worth, she’s in second grade, and always makes honor roll. She never takes a sick day unless she’s truly sick. I, personally, think that as long as a kid’s doing well in school, it should be the parent’s responsibility to decide what constitutes a valid absence, but I don’t make the rules.

What do you think I should do?

I think 2nd grade is way too early for anyone to be worried about excused or unexcused absences. If you, as her parent, endorse this day of missed class, then it’s excused.

One of the things I loved the most as a child was when a parent or older sibling would come get me out of school for no particular reason what-so-ever and take me to a ball game or fishing or even sledding… :slight_smile:

No excuses - just bring the girl sledding.

norinew, it’s great that you’re worried about your daughter’s record, but let me ask you this: When is the last time you thought to yourself, “my life is okay, but it would have been so much cooler if I hadn’t had that black mark on my elementary school record”?

Never happened? Didn’t think so. Take the kid snow-tubing! And if the school asks why, tell them, and let them log it however they want.

What time does school get out? Couldn’t you pick her up directly from school and get a few hours of sledding in before it gets too dark?

What is the consequence of an unexcused absence? As an adult, I am pretty sure I have never had any second grade absences, unexcused or otherwise, come back to haunt me.

If you decide to take a family trip to go snow tubing, write a note saying you were on a family trip and leave it at that. If there is some sort of consequence, like your daughter won’t get a sticker and a certificate for attendance at the end of the year, review the scenario with her and let her decide.

I would write the note as opposed to not writing any note so that there is a record with the school that you were aware of her absence.

Write a note saying, “The family is going to be out of town on mm/dd/yy.” If there is any big assignment on that day, have her do it beforehand, or make it up afterwards. If the teachers know it’s coming, I would think they would be willing to work around it.

I agree. It’s only one day and it’s only 2nd grade. Whatever they do in school that day probably won’t mean that much, but she might treasure the memories of having a fun day off with her family when she’s older. Do what you gotta do to make it happen. :slight_smile:

There is another issue here.

Do you tell the child to lie? If she doesn’t, will the teachers or administration be pissy about it?

The obvious response is for the child to just say, ‘We were out of town’, and keep repeating it if she is questioned further. However, a second-grader may not be able to pull that off.

Oh, but you definitely should go.

In many school systems, work missed during an excused absence can be made up. Any work missed during an unexcused absence will be marked as a zero. I would find out if this is the case at your daughter’s school before making the decision.

Also, would she think it’s odd if she brought in a note saying that she was sick when she knew she was healthy and went snow-tubing? Would she keep up with the lie? I’m a second grade TA and I have a feeling that none of my kids would be able to keep it a secret. Sure, they’d only tell their best friend, but it’s the sort of random gossip that gets spread around in second grade.

First off, there’s no debate at all about whether we’re going. We’re going.

As far as whether she’s in on the lie, I don’t think it’s all that difficult. If I were to send a note saying she was sick, I’d explain to her why I was doing that. I don’t think there’d be any need for her to “keep up” with the lie. Her teacher knows and trusts us, and I doubt there’d be anyone questioning her.

As to the question of going later in the day, the resort is over an hour away, and she gets home from school around 3:30. We could do the 5-7PM session, but then we’d get home late and my hubby has to get up very early the next morning for work. Also, there’s more to it than snow tubing. There’s a whole indoor complex there, with mini-golf and an arcade and a restaurant. Last time we went, we did the 11AM-1PM snow tubing session, then had lunch at the cafe, then played mini golf. So it’s more like an all-day thing.

Last time something like this happened, my MIL’s aunt in Oregon had died, and I just wrote a note saying “Please excuse mudgirl for being absent. We had a death in the family”. No outright lies, just a little. . .weaselly. :wink:

We’ll see how it shakes out, but thanks for the input!

I vote for “we are going out of town.” No lying about illness. I can’t see any reason why any of it should come back to bite your daughter in the butt. Go have fun.

Kids want to trust their parents. Kids are weird. You never know what’s going to make a big impression on a kid, or what might make a kid feel guilty.

I vote for the “We’ll be out of town” note. Your daughter won’t be put on the spot by perpetuating a lie, and she won’t see her mom lying.

I’d not even bother with the “out of town.” My kids’ teachers keep on getting notes to the effect that “so-and-so was absent on such-and-such date due to family reasons.” Basically, I see the note as telling the school “yes, I know the kid wasn’t at school on this day. Y’all got a problem with that?”

Different country and perhaps a different culture, but I was writing these notes for Special Teen through *ninth *grade (and would probably be writing them still if she weren’t at a boarding school this year,) so I can’t imagine that this could have any negative impact on the child in second grade.

ETA: Don’t tell an actual lie the child will know about or worse have to go along with. Just don’t offer too many details. If the teachers really want to know, they’ll ask. have her tell the truth. 99% of teachers will just ask her if she enjoyed the day off with the family :slight_smile:

what is an ‘excused absence’? and why is it so important that a parent would consider lying to get it so that they can spend time with their own kid? :confused:


Location: not America

I can easily see a kid learning the lesson “It’s okay to lie to make things easier for yourself or to get something you want without having to face the consequences” from the kind of lie the OP proposes.

What are you going to say to her, years down the road, when she says she’s “sick” just because she doesn’t want to go to school, or do something else you want her to do?

ETA: And another thing: It may be you telling the lie to the school, but that may well put the kid in a position where she will have to actively lie, too, to avoid “betraying” you or making you look like a liar. It would really bother me to ask a kid to lie for me.

Back in MY day, an excused absence was when the folks knew about it ahead of time.

An unexcused absence was when they were informed of it on a later day.

Personally, In would tell them that kid wouldn’t be there on that day and it was none of their business why.

If the kid sees the note, it’s a bad lesson. If you want to lie, do so in a way that’s excusable, like ‘I forgot…’ or ‘I assumed…’ or ‘I hope it’s not a reflection on her’ Then tell the truth and let the powers that be decide how to record it.

The honesty question will come up later in the form of “Should you admit your parents made your model solarsystem while you slept, just so you wouldn’t face the embarassment of admitting failure”?

Assuming I decided to do that, I would myself take the kids to school, then take them out of school early. No absence, no need to lie, no need to miss school. Bonus, you miss rush hour. More importantly, no need for my kid to not tell everyone in the world about snowboarding.

Barring that, I would tell the kids’ teachers at the least where we were going. If you lie, your kids’ teachers will know. They may or may not care. But they will know. They know a lot more about their charges than people think. They know what the kids do for their birthday parties and they know who was invited and who was not and who got their feelings hurt because of that and all sorts of things. Heck, I know that stuff and I only work in the school library once a week.

But honestly, my spouse gets up at 5:30 am for work, which strikes me as early enough for anybody, and he can manage if we get to the house at 9 or 10. So it would be unlikely to come up. I would pick her up at school at 3 (rather than wait for her to get home), get there at 4ish, have a bite to eat, snowboard until 7, have another bite to eat (I am mother to two young wolves) and do the minigolf under the lights, which is much more fun anyway.