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Summary: Under current law, schools can provide an excused absence to students for a select number of reasons. That list does not include taking a child to a healthcare appointment. HB 455 expands the list of approved absence allowing students who have children to take their child to a healthcare appointment as long as the student returns to school the same day.
Analysis: Data indicates that students who have children are highly likely to drop out rather than complete their education and earn a high school diploma. Students with children face incredibly long odds of attaining a level of education necessary to provide adequately for their children. Students with children who overcome the odds and complete their high school education will be better equipped to be good parents and providers. To the extent that staying in school is made more difficult by not allowing a student to take their sick child for a healthcare appointment, the current policy discourages those students from completing high school. The children whose parents don't complete their education suffer the greatest harm from this policy. There is also a societal cost to the current policy as the cycle of poverty is worsened by under-education, making it more likely that children of parents who drop out of school will be less likely than children of educated parents to succeed in life and be contributing members of society. We encourage the House members to vote in favor of HB 455.