Shelby County School: Students Sending Off Deployed Parents Not Excused Absence

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COLUMBIANA, Ala. - The Pierce family was forced to say some hasty goodbyes and spend a last bit of quality time together on Thursday, October 3.  The family had just received news that one of their own would be deployed to Baghdad the very next day.

"[My husband] got the email on Wednesday that he was leaving at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, "explained Angela Pierce.

Within two days, Angela Pierce’s husband was deployed.

"He's in Iraq. The red zone, which is like the war zone," added Pierce.

Her husband, a former U.S. Marine, today works for a military contractor doing security work at a camp just outside of Baghdad.  Pierce says her husband will be gone for at least four months.

She requested an excused absence for her son to miss a day of school to be with his dad before he left.  But, on Monday, Angela Pierce discovered that her request for an excused absence was denied.

"I was in shock," said Pierce.

According to Pierce, this is not the first time she has requested an excused absence for the very same circumstance.

"I had gone through the process of filling out the forms and turning it in.  It was approved last year, so to me it felt like it was no question that point," Pierce said.

Angela Pierce went to her son’s principal at Elvin Hill with her concern over the unexcused absence. The principal told her the school is trying to be more consistent with the attendance policy. Cindy Warner, the Shelby County Schools System Public Relations Supervisor, says it's a district-wide effort and the principal did make an important exception for Pierce's son.

"She did not excuse the absence, but she did give an opportunity to make up all of the work the he would have missed that day," explained Warner.

Pierce said even though her son did make up the work, she is still very worried. Her family may wind up in the same situation in the future, forcing her son to have to send off his dad again sometime this school year.

"He's got to miss three times this year probably, and after the fifth, they start taking you to court," she said.

Because the Pierce’s situation is not considered to be a true emergency by the school, it is not excusable, according to Warner.

Angela Pierce says she hopes the school system will consider changing its policy.


  • kevin brown

    That’s just not right!!!!!!!!!! It could the last time he see`s his dad considering were he is being deployed too!!!

  • kathy murphree

    They should not by any means count that as an absence our soldiers are fighting for us and our families school board was out of line on this one they need to change or make exceptions in that case!

  • Judy Alford

    This is absolutely unbelievable. I do understand that the school would be concerned with a student’s excessive unexcused absences , but not to give this child an excused absence in this instance is ridiculous. I do hope that they reconsider their decision.

  • Jennifer morgan

    This is stupid here is a man who is in the MILITARY procteting us and serving your country and you want to treat HIM this way,but I bet you if this was your wife or husband yout would have want the same for your child..This school and its system SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!! You are SORRY,Mrs Pierce,my prayers are with you and your family. If I was you I would take all my children out ofbthat school system and home school them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gwen

    This is just wrong !!! Our government has really overreached on a lot of things! We the people need to fight back and take our Country back !! ASAP

  • Wesley C McCarty

    He is no longer in the military and therefore not being “deployed”, he is a civilian going to an overseas work assignment. However, he is going overseas to a hostile environment with little notice. The principle is a prime example of what is wrong with most everyone in a position of any type of authority today; the absolute inability to use any common sense.

  • Glenda Turner

    This is crazy. If they think it is ok to let the child make up the work he missed, it should be excusable. I agree the little boy should have been able to spend time with his dad with out being unexcused.

  • J. Hill

    According to the mother, her son may miss additional days later this school year for the same reason. Obviously, Dad’s job requires frequent travel to Middle East on short notice. Allowing a student to miss a day of school once in a rare while is an exception, what you have here is a pattern. Are the children of police officers expected to be allowed excused absences before their fathers go on duty each time since they could be killed before they return as well?

  • megan

    Thats the school system for you. There is no reason at all why they could not had let that child have a excused absences. But if it had been on of there teachers or principals family being deployed and there child wanted to see there father before he left it would have been an excused absences.

  • Mz Michelle

    Seriously? That is an emergency. Now if that child hadn’t seen his father off and something were to happen to him (God forbid), how would they feel then? Come on people. You KNOW whats going on in the world and time is not something you can get back EVER.

  • Terri

    They are coming down hard on attendance policies because they have to make absolutely sure everyone will be there when it comes time for all the testing….period.

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