Since the moment the Red Sox clinched the World Series, the debate began raging among students, teachers, coaches and administrators. Should students be penalized for taking a day off for the victory parade or should it be considered an excused absence? Teachers and administrators argued the absence would be unexcused and no extra time would be given to make up work. Coaches warned that students who skipped school would be benched.
The student handbook states that an absence is excused for the following reasons: “medical/dental appointment, funeral, court appearance or legal appointment, driver’s license, college visitation, religious holiday or at the discretion of the Principal/Associate Principal.” Another example of an excused absence is a school-sponsored field trip. Wikipedia defines a field trip as “a journey by a group of people to a place away from their normal environment.” If you plan to be absent for any sort of reason and get permission from a parent/guardian and notify the school, the Principal/Associate Principal can make a judgement call and excuse the absence. In my opinion, planning to be absent for the celebratory parade of a professional sport team isn’t that different from being absent for any other personal matter.
When a local sports team wins the top title in its league, it shows that hard work, dedication, and commitment lead to amazing results. The classroom is not the only place that these important lessons are learned. Although we have been lucky over the last decade to see an impressive number of wins by our sports teams, we don’t know that this historical phenomena will continue. What if this parade is the last one for decades? In a world with such violence and hate, to be able to come together as a whole community and share pure happiness and joy together is priceless. Navigating public transportation, following directions, sharing joy and camaraderie with thousands of strangers is worth more than something you might miss in the classroom for one day of school.
You don’t have to be a fan to realize the significance that sports play in our society. The number of lives that sports change is truly remarkable. You don’t have to be a fan to celebrate the success of a winning team, but you do need to see that parades represent a historical time that we are lucky enough to be present for. No matter the circumstance, sports bring us together. Now that doesn’t mean administrators have to close schools like the city of Philadelphia did in 2018 to celebrate the Eagles Super Bowl win. But they should make the right judgement call and allow students who have permission from their parents to partake in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Featured picture from ESPN.go.com