Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Letter in Today's Science Times

To the Editor:

In “When a Doctor’s Note for a Student Doesn’t Help” (18 and Under, Sept. 14), Dr. Perri Klass notes that chronic absenteeism can lead to a student’s being held back. Essentially healthy students, yes; but students with disabilities cannot be held back or charged with truancy for being absent. Instead, schools and parents should negotiate a plan of accommodation that explains exactly what will happen if students are absent because of illness — how they will get their homework assignments, which ones are critical and which will be waived, and so on. As long as they can document their chronic illness, students cannot be punished for being sick.

Jennifer C. Jaff

Farmington, Conn.

The writer is executive director, Advocacy for Patients With Chronic Illness.

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