Should Gwinnett County offer excused absences if parents feel roads are unsafe?

As of Thursday night Gwinnett County schools were set to be in session on Friday, and Gwinnett moms were typing up their own storm on Facebook discussing whether their kids/teens should be on the roads and if they chose to keep their kids/teens home should it be an excused absence.

Parents who had teenagers driving themselves to school were especially concerned. Many of the high school students leave for school while it’s still dark out making streets with icy patches even more difficult to navigate. One mom wrote that she had gone on a test drive with her son and found it be very icy.They turned around to head home. She was very concerned about him driving himself to school. Another mom seemed resolved to have her daughter check in late after the sun had melted some of the ice.

Apparently in high school, the unexcused absences have more serious consequences. The moms were writing on Facebook that if you had more than three unexcused absences I believe, then the students would have to take exams no matter what their grade. (Can a Gwinnett mom or teacher confirm if that is accurate. I looked in the handbook online and didn’t find that information.)

If you know your neighborhood still has icy patches should it be up to your discretion to say “my kids are not coming, it’s just not safe”? Should that be an excused absence? Is checking in a good compromise for parents who are worried?

34 comments Add your comment


January 31st, 2014
1:58 am

I agree. I drove all around Gwinnett and many neighborhoods were still very icy and slick. Some were even blocked off. Im not sure how buses are even able to get to the bus stops in the neighborhood. The bus came through my moms neighborhood and couldn’t even get up the hill leading to the top of the neighborhood.


January 31st, 2014
5:34 am

The exam stipulation only applies to graduating seniors. Seniors who have a 90 overall GPA can exempt final exams in all non-EOCT classes, providing all attendance and discipline criteria have been met. Seniors who make 90 or better in a single class can exempt that class’ final (non-EOCT classes only), providing all attendance & discipline criteria have been met. Attendance criteria: no more than 3 absences (excused or unexcused) in the class. 3 tardies = 1 absence. Discipline criteria: student must not have had ISS or OSS during the semester.


January 31st, 2014
6:22 am

Parents if you feel that the roads are unsafe keep your kids home. It doesn’t matter if the adsence is excused or not. What harm will an unexcused day do to your child’s record?? Nothing!!


January 31st, 2014
6:52 am

Agree w/ Maude. Excused or not, if a parent feels it is unsafe to send a child to school then then keep the child home. We just went through this in the tundra earlier this week. School was cancelled on Monday due to dangerous temperatures (wind chill -35/-40). The forecast for Tuesday was the same. Just like Gwinnett, the surrounding systems closed on Tuesday but ours did not. They made it clear in the decision announcement to open that if a parent chose to keep children home, there would be “no penalty” i.e. unexcused absence.


January 31st, 2014
6:53 am

What about making alternative plans?

Drive your kid to school.
Find someone to drive your kid to school.
See if they can spend the night with someone closer to school.
Call a taxi.

Why does everyone seem to want someone else to solve their problems?


January 31st, 2014
7:23 am

There’s also this large yellow thing that comes by your house every morning – it’s called a bus.


January 31st, 2014
7:43 am

THe absentee policies are absurd. IF a PARENT wants to keep their kid out that should be their decision with no penalty from the school. I don’t care if it is to go to Italy or see Grandma, or because snow is on the ground. PARENTS not schools should be in charge.


January 31st, 2014
8:44 am

@GwinnettTeacher; amen, my friend. That would go along way toward reducing congestion on the roads any day.


January 31st, 2014
9:02 am

Post disappeared.


January 31st, 2014
9:18 am

We went out to dinner near the MOG last night and drove the long way back, just to see. It was not bad at all. There were a few icy spots and tricky for teens who are inexperienced drivers. I would not let mine take their own car.

@ Gwinnett Teacher, I agree but if 50 more children decided to take the bus vs. driving, per bus, would that work out? Mine did not take the bus much after they had a job at 16 and bought their own cars.

Our son drove on the top of Spaghetti Junction when we had snow one year. He was in college and I mentioned that he could stay at my sister’s house, who lives close to where he used to work. He told me that he was already home and did not want to call me before he left. GOOD IDEA or I would have had a heart attack worrying about him.

I drove in 8 inches of snow last Feb. in MN. No big deal and NOT the same as 2 inches here!

Good Grief

January 31st, 2014
9:23 am

Agreed. Let each parent / family make their own decisions and have them talk with the appropriate admin in their schools.

As far as the GCPS Fcaebook page is concerned, I would not believe the majority of the posts on that site. Adults and children are making incredible fools of themselves and in many cases I can easily verify those complaints are not the truth! I saw I person post three times with in an hour about ice conditions on opposite ends of the county. Absurd

Good Grief

January 31st, 2014
9:38 am

I would like to add my 3 kids (ES,MS,HS) are in the mostly rural, heavily treed Archer cluster of Gwinnett. We have had no issues in our cluster, and speaking with many around the county non of those families have either. While I am sure their are issues, the vast majority of Gwinnett is fine.

My HS child that normally drives rode the bus on Tuesday and again today. She would rather ride the bus that her old mom driving her! I am fine with that and I firmly believe that kids are generally much safer on buses. No bus overcrowding, at capacity due to weather. IMHO, If your bus is overcrowded then there are kids that should not be on there.


January 31st, 2014
9:45 am

They need to do what they do up North when the roads are icy in the morning, have a 2-hour delay. That allows for the morning sun to burn off some of the ice, and get in a day of school.

When we lived in PA, we had numerous 2-hr delays. They were expected on days like this. To cancel to whole day is a waste.


January 31st, 2014
9:58 am


Ice burns? Funny, I thought it melted.


January 31st, 2014
10:04 am

I’m at school today.

Gwinnett Mommy

January 31st, 2014
10:16 am

I have a child in 1st grade and one in Pre-K in Gwinnett and there were icy patches, but nothing too serious for a seasoned ADULT driver. However, if my littles were teens, there is NO WAY that I would have allowed them to drive themselves to school.

There have been far too many teen car accidents (often leading to subsequent deaths), on clear days with ice-free roads. I could not take that chance. They’d either have to catch a bus, ride with mom or dad or stay home.

Hidden Agenda

January 31st, 2014
10:16 am

Again, why are you taking your direction from the government when it comes to your children’s safety, security, or education?

Just a guy

January 31st, 2014
10:54 am

You have to have a bus pass to ride the bus. If you do not normally ride the bus, you can’t just hop on for one day…


January 31st, 2014
11:29 am

I live in Chattanooga. My son is in high school. If it is an unexcused absence here, they will receive 0’s for the day and will not be allowed to make up the work. This could really affect their grade.

P.S. Our school is closed today.


January 31st, 2014
12:52 pm

Yes, because up until we had a water main break late Thursday night that effected 2 schools, Hall County was going to excuse students who could not make it to school on Friday because of road conditions. Now would some folks not be honest about it, maybe, but that would have to be between them and the Lord. There are times when common sense has to take place but wait, there is no CS any longer in the public sector!!

Bill Clinton

January 31st, 2014
2:14 pm

I’m available to pick up your high school daughter … assuming she is a senior.


January 31st, 2014
3:24 pm

just got back from one of the gwinnett high schools….in the supposed “rough icy part” of gwinnett county. It was almost like a spring day.

I think the question is…should the other counties school systems in Atlanta metro apologize to their students, parents, and the businesses who were short staffed because they chose to close on such a beautiful day.


January 31st, 2014
3:41 pm

I believe the Gwinnett School District reported that there were no problems with the students getting to school, bus riders and drivers alike. They said a couple of the high schools started 10 minutes late, but all was good.

Atlanta Mom

January 31st, 2014
5:45 pm

So, why does the child already have unexcused absences?
That said, if you get to HS and can’t write an excuse, you need to take a remedial creative writing class. For that matter, skip the class and ask your teenager to write it for you, and just copy it. :)

Atlanta Mom

January 31st, 2014
6:08 pm

Is it the end of the world if the student has to take final exams?
Better a test, than a life, or a wrecked car.


January 31st, 2014
7:49 pm

It’s part of their education. Sometimes, there are no easy answers, and every decision carries risk. Is driving to school for one day worth a fender bender or worse? Is the punishment of not going worth taking a risk? The school is giving the kids a way out with unexcused absences, but like employees who have to weigh driving to work versus a day without pay, the decision has to be made in light of the firm consequences instead of possible ones.

Welcome to life. Decisions aren’t easy, which is why it is so hard for many people to make them.


January 31st, 2014
8:37 pm

For many reasons I will not get into, I drive both my girls to school (1ES, 1MS). There was a good bit of ice on the way to elementary school, and I read many posts on FB citing ice, even in carpool lanes.
As far as the high schoolers and why the seniors might have unexcused absences, it is usually due to college visits.
Personally, I think a 2 hour delay would have the solution…


February 1st, 2014
6:43 am

@MissMary, when there is bus service coming to your neighborhood, I don’t understand why people insist on driving their kids to and from school every day. The worst are those who park and walk their kids in each and every day. Really? There are usually a lot of faculty and staff outside to guide kids in, so why not just put them on a bus unless there’s a special circumstance like a late game or other activity the night before?


February 2nd, 2014
8:56 am

Miss Mary drives her kids because they don’t live in the school district where kids go to school. That is the # 1 reason for kids not riding the bus. Snow is not the reason parents don’t put kids on buses …

William C Smith

February 2nd, 2014
9:32 am

I myself would let my child stay at home no matter what the rule. Our daughter is now 27 years old.
We can settle the school situation at a later date, but we can’t replace our children at a later date.
I know this sounds strange but why use a little common sense in the matter.


February 2nd, 2014
11:33 am

If you have the option of staying home from work and take it, I don’t see why you would consider sending your kid to school. Or even if you consider ASKING for the option to stay home from work, I would question the decision to send kids to school. Sure, you may only be taking surface streets to school where you may have to take freeways to work, but I’d bet that freeways are being treated much more quickly than surface streets. Of course I don’t have kids but I have nieces and nephews and I’d die if anything happened to them just because my brother and step sister wanted them not to have unexcused absences. Honestly, though, I do not believe a school would penalize a student for not coming to school because of weather that has impacted EVERYWHERE. It’s not like it’s a party or a vacation.

I pray that everyone is in a better state of mind and have all your cars at home and in safety.

Hillary Clinton

February 2nd, 2014
2:02 pm

Bill, get back into your cage!


February 2nd, 2014
7:09 pm

If we were expected to use our judgment to keep our kids home, and then it didn’t snow, we would look foolish like the government and school systems. Similarly, if we sent them, and then it snows, and we don’t get them, we would look foolish like the government and school systems.

Husband had to walk two-and-a-half miles to pick up our son at school and then walk the same distance home. Sucks, but probably safer than a bus, which never arrived.


February 2nd, 2014
7:18 pm

Per Georgia State Law, having students miss because of safety issues in an excused absence. It is fifth on the state BOE requirements for attendance in GA.