(School) Fines vs. Freedom: Parents in Georgia would incur a $749 fine to take their kids on vacation during the school semester, reveals survey.
- 76% think vacation rules and absence fines for school students need an overhaul.
- 2 in 3 parents said they believe the benefits of spending time together as a family far outweighs any time missed out on school.
- Interactive map included.
What is the value of one day of school? Some may argue it is impossible to quantify – after all, education is a fundamental part of each child’s development. However, in 2018, a California district put a monetary value on a school day – Manhattan Beach School District asked parents to put forward a donation of $47 each time their child missed a day of school. California schools receive state money based on average daily attendance of students. Therefore, the idea was that if families could afford to take kids out of school and on vacation, they are likely able to afford to help the district make up for the money lost in decreased average attendance.
Not that parents can be blamed for taking their children out of school to go on vacation – it is well known that going on vacation during peak season (i.e. when children are out of school) is considerably more expensive than travelling off-peak. Moreover, with inflation rising considerably, vacations have become even more expensive for many cash-strapped parents, particularly after the pandemic. So, exactly what monetary fine value would parents be willing to incur to take their kids out of school and go on vacation during the semester – especially if it meant that saving on vacation costs during off-peak season would offset the aforementioned fine?
It’s a hypothetical question posed by FamilyDestinationsGuide.com, to 3,321 parents across the country, with some interesting results… The survey revealed that parents in Georgia would incur a $749 fine to take their kids on vacation during the school semester (based on a family of 4). This is compared to a national average of $883.
Broken down across states, this figure was highest in South Dakota, where parents would pay up a fine of $1,338 to take their kids on a mid-school semester vacation. Comparatively, parents in Kentucky would pay the least: $529.
Interactive map showing how much parents are prepared to pay in each state (click on ’embed’ to host on your own site)
While education is a fundamental part of children’s lives, it appears most parents also believe in balance: nearly 3 in 4 (71%) parents said they think they should be permitted to take kids out of class to go on vacation. Of course, moderation is key, but it’s unlikely that families would be going on vacation on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly (especially if there was a fine to pay for missing school)!
It stands to reason, therefore, that an overwhelming 95% of parents surveyed think there should not be financial penalties for parents who take their kids out of school to go on vacation during the semester. However, this opinion is not necessarily shared by the broader population. When the general public were asked, nearly 1 in 3 (30%) respondents said if children are taken out of school during semester time for vacation, it should still be categorized as truancy or absenteeism.
More than 3 in 4 (76%) respondents said they think vacation rules and absence fines for school students do need an overhaul, considering how expensive it is for families to travel during official vacation periods. Peak season does typically mean flights, accommodation and activities are more expensive as the demand for them is higher, therefore, some families might only be able to afford the opportunity to travel during off-peak time.
Lastly, when it comes to family time, more than 2 in 3 (69%) parents said they believe the benefits of spending time together as a family far outweighs any time missed out on school.
‘It’s no secret that traveling during peak season can be a costly vacation,’ says a spokesperson for FamilyDestinationsGuide.com. ‘However, taking your kids on vacation during the semester is categorized as truancy in many districts, which not only creates a bad record for yourselves as parents, but also the school. It’s best therefore to discuss your in-semester vacation with the school prior to booking anything in order to find a mutual agreement.’