When I was in 4th grade my mom took me to a Beach Boys concert on a school night. By the time we got home it was probably midnight, and my mom and I quietly sat in the kitchen while my dad and sister slept, eating slices of sourdough toast with butter. I felt so special and I never forgot it.
So I totally understand why Seattle dad of three, Scott MacIntire, wrote a letter to the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent when he learned that kids would get unexcused absences if they spent the day at the Seahawks parade instead of at school.
“So instead of encouraging all school children to celebrate community and civic pride, it seems like the Seattle Public School District has decided that only rich kids from private schools can go to this. Or parents like me who understand the importance of family bonding and civic pride and are willing to take their kids out and go.”
According to the principal of Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, there were meetings with district leaders Tuesday morning, and schools will have the ability to excuse absences based on a state law that provides for some flexibility for unusual circumstances.
The school is asking parents to simply provide the attendance office with a note, email or phone notification excusing your student’s early departure.
But even when schools weren’t excusing the absences, plenty of parents planned on pulling their kids of out school for the parade.
“Everybody knows why our kids are going to be out of school tomorrow and it’s not that big a deal to interrupt what’s happening,” said Kent mom, Kristina Larson. “My kids, being 10 and 13, this will be something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. I remember watching the 1985 Chicago Bears win theirs, with my dad, and it was the best football experience I had, which is why I watch football. It’s exciting! It’s like a feeling, it’s just so cool.”
Kristina is planning to surprise her three kids by taking them to the parade.
“I was just gonna say, ‘Hey, I’ll take you guys to school in the morning.’ And just not actually go and just end up heading downtown. So, they don’t even know yet, but I’m sure they’ll be pretty excited!”
Like Kristina, Buckley dad of three Clint Hulsing decided to take his three daughters based on nostalgia.
“This is something we’ve been waiting for ever since I can remember. One of my first memories, I was three years old, 1979, when the Sonics won the championship. I remember the excitement. It’s one of my first memories.”
All of these parents want their kids to create their own nostalgia.
“I hashtagged #buildingmemories. That’s what it does. Everyone always goes back to what we learned in our childhood and what we learned in our families. That’s what this is. Missing the day of school is nothing, it’s a day of school.”
After writing his letter, Scott realized that canceling school could be a problem for kids who rely on school lunch or who come from troubled homes and school is their safest place. So he’s happy with the district’s compromise to excuse the absences. Even if his kids don’t yet understand why he wrote the letter.
“What’s funny is, my son, he’s in the 7th grade, I’m like, ‘You’re not going to school tomorrow.’ He’s like, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘The parade.’ ‘Oh, really?’ ‘I said, ‘Yeah. You are going to that parade, buddy! You’ll understand in about 30 years!’ He didn’t care that much. I just think it’s a memory and I think 30-40 years from now, when he can tell his kids, ‘Oh, I remember going to that when I was a kid.’ That’s why I’m doing this.”