Friday, August 31, 2018

"80 percent of success is showing up." - Woody Allen

A school district in Muskogee, OK, has announced that it will be enforcing a state law that calls for fining students $250 for missing school repeatedly with no valid reason.  Students could also be imprisoned for 15 days.  Parents are not happy.  No kidding.


I have had the opportunity to observe student behavior for 37 years.  As teachers, counselors, and principals, we worked with students to discover the reason for school avoidance.  Sometimes, there was little parental control, or even substance or child abuse. Some students had low self-esteem, caused by many previous failures.  Some students did not want to come to school because of bullying.  Some needed psychological help for mental illness. The districts I knew worked with the parents first, and only in severe cases of absenteeism, and only after all other avenues were explored, students were referred to the local magistrate, and parents were fined.  Student imprisonment was never an option.

I do not condone student absenteeism.  Chronic absenteeism leads to dropping out of school, which leads to economic struggles and poverty.  But I simply cannot see fining the student, which is the same as fining the parent, and then throwing the student in jail, causing more absenteeism. This policy is not viable, and not a good idea, in my opinion. 

Schools must work toward making the school climate welcoming, safe, and supportive.  School must be a place where students want to be and choose to be.  Teachers must extend themselves to students to assuage fears and anxiety.  Administrators, teachers, parents, and the student must all work together for the good of the student.  

I am appalled that any state would actually have a law regarding the imprisonment of students.  I could not work as a teacher in Oklahoma.

If you are interested, here is the link to the article: 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

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