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Absences high at area schools

Bobby MagillGlenwood Springs correspondent

With hundreds of Latinos attending Monday’s immigration reform rally in Glenwood Springs, few classrooms in the Roaring Fork Valley were full. High school students from Basalt to Glenwood took the day off to participate in the rally, while parents who wanted to attend pulled elementary school students out of school.The largest percentage of absences was in Carbondale, where 55 percent of Carbondale Middle School students skipped school, and 48 percent of Crystal River Elementary students and 25 percent of Roaring Fork High students were absent, according to Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Fred Wall. Carbondale Middle School assistant principal Patti Present said five teachers at the school had no students to teach Monday. Absenteeism was less severe in Glenwood, but Glenwood Springs High Principal Paul Freeman said 137 of 151 Latino students were absent. “I understand that families have to make decisions based on what they conscientiously believe is the right thing,” Freeman said. “Education is so precious, I don’t think anyone should miss a day of it.”Wall said administrators asked students to notify their schools ahead of time if they planned to be absent Monday. That way, students could receive an excused absence. How many students attending the rally who didn’t get permission beforehand is not yet known, Wall said. Those students will be marked truant. Faculty had a chance to use vacation time or personal days to attend the rally, Wall said. Those who didn’t have personal or vacation days could deduct one day’s pay from their paychecks if they notified school administrators ahead of time. Those who skipped school without notifying anyone, Wall said, will be disciplined. Wall said he doesn’t believe the rally was a worthy reason for students or faculty to miss a day of school. “We wish the students would have picked a different day or after school to be absent,” he said. “But, I realize this is a reason for students to experience social studies firsthand. I understand that. Hopefully, it is a lesson in what goes on and how to make a difference.”Roaring Fork School District student absences MondayGlenwood Springs High: 22 percentGlenwood Springs Middle: 39 percentGlenwood Springs Elementary: 39 percentSopris Elementary: No data availableCrystal River Elementary: 48 percentCarbondale Middle: 55 percentRoaring Fork High: 25 percentBasalt Elementary: 43 percentBasalt Middle: 32 percentBasalt High: 10 percent


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