DC Mayor Uses First Veto To Stop Chronically Absent Kids From Graduating

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

The mayor of Washington, D.C., explained why she used her first veto to reject a bill that would have allowed chronically absent students from graduating on Thursday.

Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser shot down an emergency bill passed almost unanimously by the D.C. Council in June, according to The Washington Post. The bill would have permitted students with more than 30 absences in a class to graduate or advance to the next grade.

“D.C. Public Schools has invested substantial time and resources to ensure that all students who are off track have pathways to graduation or promotion through summer school, credit recovery or competency-based courses” at alternative institutions, Bowser said in a letter to D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson.

If passed, the bill would have enabled 26 additional seniors to graduate.

“Ultimately, we believe that mastering the content through one of those alternatives will set students up for long-term success in college or career, and this legislation undercuts individualized graduation plans created for each student,” the mayor explained.

A January investigation found that over 11 percent of D.C. Public Schools’ 2017 graduates missed more than half of all school days. (RELATED: DC Schools Graduating More And More Chronically Absent Students)

“In changing its attendance enforcement mid-year, DCPS had no regard for the impact on students who followed the rules their schools had given them,” Democrat DC Council member Robert C. White said. “DCPS made a mistake, but the only people punished for the mistake were the students. That is simply unfair.”

Bowser won almost 80 percent of votes for reelection in the June Democratic primary.

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