Some students who skipped due to threat sent truancy notices

March 29, 2013 8:13:12 PM PDT
The threat of a mass shooting at Foothill High School in Pleasanton earlier this month caused a lot of parents to keep their children home. But that protective parental gesture is apparently not appreciated by the school because many of those parents are now getting truancy notices for their kids.

Parents figured they were doing the right and safe thing for their children. But the school district is telling parents that unless they had a valid excuse, like their child was sick, the absence would be unexcused.

Parent Stacey Knight says keeping her son Liam out of school after a deadly threat from an unknown student was written on a wall seemed like a good idea.

"I just couldn't send him that day," she said. "Eighty percent of me thought, oh, nothing's going to happen, but I just wasn't sure and I just, how could you live with yourself if something had."

The threat, written on a girls bathroom wall on March 11, read, "I f***ing hate everyone at this school!!!! Watch me shoot everyone on March 14th! I swear to god!!!!!

Knight says she called the school to let them know Liam was not going to be in that day.

"I know I called that morning and I let them know that Liam wuold not be in due to the threat and I never got a truancy letter," Knight said.

Apparently many other parents did. Truancy letters went out when students did not show up for classes. Sheree Neoh says she pulled her daughter out of school that day. Her daughter had told her that there were so few students on campus that day she wasn't learning anything. Neoh brought her home and days later she got a note.

"It was marked truant even though we had called in so we're just going to fix that and call them because we know the date," Neoh said.

Parents say that calling in is what usually made the difference -- parents who let the school know their children would not be in did not receive a truancy note.

Liam Knight says his friends who didn't go to school those days got a letter for their unexcused absence.

"I have two friends in my class that didn't call in the morning of the 14th and I know both of them got truancy notices," he said.

The president of the school board says truancy notices do not usually got out unless the student is absent at least three days. But, he says, it has to be a valid excuse. While safety might be an issue, the California education code only recognizes things like illness as valid excuses.