An idea is being floated in the legislature that would add to the list of reasons a student could not show up for school and have it be an excused absence. And I don’t think it’s a great move.

Dino Flammia brought you the story last week.

In New Jersey students are already given excused absences for religious holidays, even minority ones, college touring, taking your driving road test, and even Take Your Child To Work Day.

School classroom in Japanese high school

Republican Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney is sponsoring a bill that would add to that list attending an organized civic event. It was passed by committee last year. This year it is expected to receive bipartisan support.

Should it though? Is this really necessary?

Rooney says yes.

“While it is important to keep up with studies and homework, students should also be encouraged to be active, engaged citizens in the world from a young age,” Rooney said in a press release.

Schools in New Jersey would be required to provide at least one excused absence for a student skipping school to attend a civic event but could allow more than if the school chose to.

Peaceful protest in downtown Kansas City

So what exactly would this cover? Here’s how the legislation defines it:

The bill defines ‘civic event’ as an event sponsored by a government entity, a community-based organization, or a nonprofit organization that incorporates elements of service learning whereby students learn and develop through organized service. A civic event would also address an issue of public concern such as community health and safety or environmental, economic, or community well- being.

So community-based organizations and non-profit organizations. Will this include political rallies? Will this include Black Lives Matter protests? Protesting offshore wind farms?

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash
Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

I’m not a fan. There are only 180 school days in the year. We have too much already crammed onto teacher’s plates to cover, like “character education” which comes under the category of that’s-what-parents-are-for, to be having even more reasons for a child to miss class time.

The bill would cover students from 6th through 12th grades.

Feels to me like another case of politicians getting their names out there but not by solving the real problems in our state like school funding and property taxes.

Tell us what you think. Take our poll below.

NJ school districts with the highest median teacher salaries

These were the highest median teacher salaries during the 2022-23 school year budget, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Department of Education. We begin with districts whose median salaries are at least $95,000 and work our way up to the highest median salary.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

Weird things NJ taxes - and some they don't

In general, New Jersey assesses a 6.625% Sales Tax on sales of most tangible personal property, specified digital products, and certain services unless specifically exempt under New Jersey law.
However, the way the sales tax is applied in New Jersey sometimes just doesn't make sense.
New Jersey puts out an itemized list for retailers that spells out what is, and what is not, taxed. 
Perhaps because this is New Jersey, there are some bizarre and seemingly contradictory listings. 

Gallery Credit: Eric Scott

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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