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  #21  
Old 11.10.2011, 02:51
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

Wow. How many "joker" days do the kids normally get? What's their normal schedule like? We'll need long breaks to come back to the US and visit my family once we move there.
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Old 11.10.2011, 05:37
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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Wow. How many "joker" days do the kids normally get? What's their normal schedule like? We'll need long breaks to come back to the US and visit my family once we move there.
Not sure about the joker days, however, for Zurich there are several holiday breaks and a short summer break.

Fall break Oct10-21
Christmas/New Years Dec26-Jan6
Sports/Skiing break Feb13-24
Spring break Apr23-May4
Summer Jul16-Aug17
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  #23  
Old 11.10.2011, 05:41
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

just 2 weeks at a time, except in the heat of summer.. yuck!!
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  #24  
Old 11.10.2011, 06:11
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

I dont know about other cantons but in Bern the situation is pretty clear:
Every child is entitled of five free half days per schoolyear. These days can be taken according to the needs of the family as long they tell the school in advance.
Parents can ask by letter for permission to get more free days but up to two weeks per year, normally granted if parents cant take a minimum of four weeks holiday within the school holidays or for visits in the country of origin of the parents. The latter can be elongated up to eight weeks.
If a child doesnt show up in school without any logical written excuse, has the head master or the school commission has to report the parents. The court will decide and parents will be fined according to their salary, max up to CHF 1000.
I guess the other cantons have similar regulations.
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Old 11.10.2011, 10:53
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

We are in St. Gallen and we get 2 half day joker days a year, which I haven't figured out how it helps, as if they have full day on the day I would want off, then I guess I am SOL? Although right now we are in the middle of our 3 week fall break...

That case in the US, with possibility of jail time, is for extreme cases - kids who are regularly truant, these aren't a week here or there. (or a day for that matter). In fact, I have to say, I don't really see the need to take kids out for weeks at a time, unless it really is just to take advantage if cheap flights, which I guess just isn't a valid reason in the eyes of those in charge.
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Old 11.10.2011, 19:35
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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just 2 weeks at a time, except in the heat of summer.. yuck!!
How long do you get for Christmas, Easter and Autumn (fall break) in the US??

Again, from the sublime to the ridiculous. In the UK when I taught, parents took kids out of school for the most spurious of reasonsp hairdressing appointment, shopping for clothes, etc- and also for weeks at a time for cheap holidays, even just before major exams. Often those kids were the very ones who needed extra support and individual tuition. It was heart breaking at times. Most kids have 6 weeks in the Summer - and if flights or trips are booked very early, the cost is not so bad. If your child needs extra help with language, adjustments, etc, I can understand if teachers would feel aggrieved that this is then disrespected by taking kids away from school, thus making difficulties worse.
I so often gave up my breaks, lunch-times, and after school to help kids prepare for exams- who would be then taken away just before.

Parents often ask me to spend several hours preparing a homework programme for kids to take away on hols with them, so they wouldn't fall behind, and I always refused (but would do so for illness, accidents, etc, visiting kids at home to help them keep up).

Last edited by Odile; 11.10.2011 at 19:53.
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  #27  
Old 11.10.2011, 19:59
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

Personally I think 4000CHF is pretty darn extreme for one day of holiday the day before the regular holidays start - which we all know is a day for swanning round doing nothing anyway!

The number of joker days is different depending on the age of the kids too where I live - they get more joker days when they are younger. So for us, at kindergarten they had 5 days per year (although I never worked out if that was 10 half days - so if they only had school in the morning was it only half a day?!) we didn't use ours anyway. Now in primary school he has 10 days which is supposed to last his entire primary education - so there is no yearly allowance it's 10 days over the next .... can't remember how many... years. So basically useless.

The time it always gets me is at Christmas - like this year when the kids are at school until Christmas Eve, so there is really no chance to spend Christmas with their grandparents (unless they visit here.) I find that a bit sad to be honest. I mean, we don't want to do it every year, but every once in a while I'd like to spend Christmas in my home town with my parents and it's just never going to happen.
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  #28  
Old 11.10.2011, 20:11
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

Problem is, if we all accept that the last day before is just for fun, then it will keep creeping back. We never ever made it to Switzerland to spend Christmas here with my parents for same reason. Our parents always came to us.
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  #29  
Old 11.10.2011, 20:35
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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The time it always gets me is at Christmas - like this year when the kids are at school until Christmas Eve, so there is really no chance to spend Christmas with their grandparents (unless they visit here.) I find that a bit sad to be honest. I mean, we don't want to do it every year, but every once in a while I'd like to spend Christmas in my home town with my parents and it's just never going to happen.
Never, like never? Cheer up, it gets better for the next two years (which is all the school calendar is willing to inform me about). I can see how it's a real problem if you're from New Zealand or LA, which is where imaginary grandma's funerals, begging on bended knee, or using up half your ten-day allowance in one go, comes in - but otherwise it's just a small-if-frustrating nuisance when you occasionally have to travel on Christmas Eve. I'm sure you'll find a way to get there at some point.
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  #30  
Old 11.10.2011, 21:18
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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How long do you get for Christmas, Easter and Autumn (fall break) in the US??
2 weeks for Christmas, 1 week for Spring and no real fall break. It's all about the difference in location though. We usually go to CH in the summer, partially to get away from the heat here. When we live in CH, we'll be coming back to the US (probably down south where it gets way too hot for me). I'd rather go in the Spring/Fall due to the weather. We'll figure it out. I'm not one to pull my son out of school, so we'll probably just have to deal with the heat! Actually, the reason we're not moving sooner is to let my son finish his time with his current teacher in Preschool. We don't want to interrupt the Montessori cycle. We'll move when he would normally change classes. I'll just hope for joker days and spend less time on each trip than expected.
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Old 11.10.2011, 21:19
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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2 weeks for Christmas, 1 week for Spring and no real fall break.
So, same as here!

Tom

P.S. Oops, forgot the fall week around November 1st, and the week for Carnevale!
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  #32  
Old 11.10.2011, 21:23
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

Oops. Double checked. 1.5 weeks for Christmas.
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  #33  
Old 11.10.2011, 21:27
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

So parents come for Christmas, and you go over during Summer hols - easy peasy. And use Spring and Autumn hols for local/European travel and discovery - BOOK EARLY for cheapest deals.

Kids here in Neuchatel have 2 weeks for autumn (last week and this week).
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  #34  
Old 12.10.2011, 12:32
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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My husband and I got fined 2000 chf for taking my son out of kindergarten two weeks early. I applied for the absence based on medical reasons and was denied but I took him out anyway. When we got back we each had a fine of 1000 chf. What really gets me is,

1. a girl in the same kindergarten was allowed one week to go to Thailand with her grandma (for vacation purposes)
2. a family took there kids out without permission and was fined only one fine (not husband and wife)
3. A boys mother applied for an extended summer vacation and was denied. She sent a Dr. note from the country she was vacationing at and returned 3 weeks later with no fine.
4. I was told by the locals to just talk to the kindergarten teacher and try to work something out with her but I thought it would do the right thing.

What gets me is the inconsistency and lack of accountability. The shulpflege (who approves or disapproves applications for leave in my area that I live) can decide however they like and thats that. No one can challenge them without having to pay a possible fine. The town down the road might have a total lax policy and lets everyone go who applies. Its frustrating !!
Slightly OT:

There's no appeals process here. This is Switzerland.

In 11 years, I've had 2 serious snags.

1. A serious medical problem. See my other postings.

2. A tax problem. I received a Tax Refund in error and some years later was charged 500+ CHF interest on the unpaid amount. I thought that was wrong to pay interest on someone else's mistake.

In both cases, it was like fighting a brick wall.

I have learnt:

A. Document everything.

B. Play the game. Advise the Gemeinde a long time in advance of planned specials e.g. taking the kids out 1 day early to catch a flight. I wrote "Our boy has never had a day sick, always early for school, blabla.."

C. Deal with people in person. Go and see the School President. Go and see the Tax Controller at the Gemeinde. Don't let them hide behind e-mails and letters.

(I got a "sorry" for my Tax case and I learnt - if someone gives you money, best go and check you actually deserve it )
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  #35  
Old 12.10.2011, 12:43
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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My husband and I got fined 2000 chf for taking my son out of kindergarten two weeks early. I applied for the absence based on medical reasons and was denied but I took him out anyway. When we got back we each had a fine of 1000 chf. What really gets me is,

1. a girl in the same kindergarten was allowed one week to go to Thailand with her grandma (for vacation purposes)
2. a family took there kids out without permission and was fined only one fine (not husband and wife)
3. A boys mother applied for an extended summer vacation and was denied. She sent a Dr. note from the country she was vacationing at and returned 3 weeks later with no fine.
4. I was told by the locals to just talk to the kindergarten teacher and try to work something out with her but I thought it would do the right thing.

What gets me is the inconsistency and lack of accountability. The shulpflege (who approves or disapproves applications for leave in my area that I live) can decide however they like and thats that. No one can challenge them without having to pay a possible fine. The town down the road might have a total lax policy and lets everyone go who applies. Its frustrating !!
Did you consider an administrative appeal?
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  #36  
Old 23.10.2011, 22:09
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In Kanton Zurich the Volkschulgesetz outlines the law regarding school attendance. It is basically against the law not to attend, with only 2 joker days to be taken whenever you like, per year, with two weeks notice in writing.

There are several reasons listed as exceptions where a school can allow you to take extra time out; this includes family events or religious occasions ( I assume Christmas with rels on other side of world would be a good enough reason to get an extra few days). I found reading the actual law was very reassuring given the horror stories. unfortunately I don't have a link for it but I'm sure you can google it.

Lisa
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Old 23.10.2011, 23:18
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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I have heard stories - not sure if they are urban myths or not - that you could get stopped at the airport on those days right before vacation if you were with school aged kids and asked about if the kid should be in school or not, etc. When we traveled, I took with us our letter giving us permission. Of course, at an airport are presumably kids of all nationalities and different school schedules, so I don't know if this really ever happened, but I wouldn't want to find out! I also didn't want to "lie" about it...
But that makes no sense and is pretty discriminatory towards kids flying abroad against any kids that might be sneaking to a holiday home or hotel or granny's house somewhere in Switzerland or indeed leaving the country via road or rail. Are the police supposed to set up checkpoints at borders, too?

Surely it is an urban myth.
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Old 24.10.2011, 08:37
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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But that makes no sense and is pretty discriminatory towards kids flying abroad against any kids that might be sneaking to a holiday home or hotel or granny's house somewhere in Switzerland or indeed leaving the country via road or rail. Are the police supposed to set up checkpoints at borders, too?

Surely it is an urban myth.
Well, but isn't that how the parents of the child in the article got busted...at the airport? They do check passports on the way out of the country (or even within). I don't know that it's a myth.
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Old 24.10.2011, 08:42
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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Well, but isn't that how the parents of the child in the article got busted...at the airport? They do check passports on the way out of the country (or even within). I don't know that it's a myth.
OK, understand, but it's clear that if you want a higher chance of getting away with a sneaky holiday in school time you either have to holiday in Switzerland or drive over an unmanned border checkpoint because they only check you at the airport.

That's just the bit I found a bit unfair.

If you were staying at a holiday flat somewhere in Switzerland all you would need to do is phone into the school to say your child is sick and no-one would be any the wiser. Flying out, you run a high risk of being busted.
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Old 24.10.2011, 09:53
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Re: Truancy can be expensive...

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In Kanton Zurich the Volkschulgesetz outlines the law regarding school attendance. It is basically against the law not to attend, with only 2 joker days to be taken whenever you like, per year, with two weeks notice in writing.

There are several reasons listed as exceptions where a school can allow you to take extra time out; this includes family events or religious occasions ( I assume Christmas with rels on other side of world would be a good enough reason to get an extra few days). I found reading the actual law was very reassuring given the horror stories. unfortunately I don't have a link for it but I'm sure you can google it.

Lisa
This is how I understand things; in practice what we have observed:

- 2 Jokertage
Youngest is in KG, in Kanton of Zurich, and we are allowed 2 Jokertage.

- Additional days
Eldest is in another non-Swiss school system. Holidays are different in the two systems of course, but there's often a week of overlap. Except in Autumn, no overlap at all. So my partner wrote a letter to the local Swiss school authorities (as advised by KG teacher), explaining this and stating that we were requesting an extra day (or two) from KG so that the kids could go back to where we used to live and see grandparents. Unfortunately, my partner wrote what she thought was a good emotional flowery letter (!). No good - we received a letter back from the authorities stating they'd considered the request but were turning us down. They then explained why, referring to the laws that say when exceptionally a day can be missed and pointing out that our request did not fall under any of the allowed cases. The letter was extremely formal, black and white - just what I was expecting (if I had to write a request letter again, it would be factual, with bullet points etc to appeal to the bureaucrat!).

So the rules are 'tough', but to me quite clear and not too unreasonable (you get Jokertage after all!). What would really annoy me is the same district applying the rules inconsistently (as I've read in a few stories above).
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