Germany Punishes Parents Who Let Kids Skip School For Vacation

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Germany is fining parents who let their children skip school for vacation without obtaining teacher permission, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Bavarian officials caught 21 families who permitted their children to skip school ahead of a two-week spring vacation, reported The New York Times. Families can be charged with fines of $1,200.

“Before the start and after the end of vacation, we see a big increase in children excused as being sick — in some cases, the rate can be double or triple the normal amount,” a German teachers’ association head Heinz-Peter Meidinger told NYT.

The official termed the trend a “wealth phenomenon,” whereby families book cheaper flights before school gets out in order to avoid the higher costs that come with traveling during peak times. But a 1919 German law forbids school-age children from missing school except in the event of sickness or other special circumstances, in which case students must have letters from their parents or doctors’ notes. (RELATED: Nearly 30 Percent Of Public School Teachers Are ‘Chronically’ Skipping Classes, Study Says)

“It’s just as if we pulled over a car with a school-age child, we might well ask why they are not in school,” Allgäu police spokesman Florian Wallner said. The southern German region’s airport was frequented by 10 families who received notices regarding their children’s attendance.

“I don’t think it’s exaggerated,” Meidinger noted. “It’s not like [the families] were forced to cancel their flights.”

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