Jeffco Students Threaten Count Day Absentee Protest, What Happens If They Follow Through?

Students in Colorado’s Jefferson County School District have threatened deliberate absences on the official Count Day in protest over possible changes to Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum. October 1 is Count Day, the day when school districts are supposed to take a total count of students in class that day in order to be granted per-pupil-funding. Jefferson County School District will be granted $6,842 per student in attendance on Count Day and some students have threatened to use the importance of the day as leverage for their demands against proposed changes to the advanced placement curriculum.

Jeffco students threatening a Count Day absentee protest are protesting a proposal by a school board member that could lead to significant changes in the school’s AP U.S. History curriculum. KUSA reported, “Students call it a step that may lead to the censorship of history.” The newest protest threat follows ongoing teacher protests and student walk-outs. On social media, the threatened changes to AP U.S. History curriculum are being protested using the hashtag: .

Count Day is so important to districts that, in Detroit, school districts are bribing students to show up for Count Day, according to the Detroit News. “Prizes for the weirdest hat, dining with mom and dad in school and pizza parties — all are waiting for students who show up for school Wednesday,” the Detroit News report explained. “These are just some of the lures and rewards school districts across Michigan plan to use to encourage students to attend school on Count Day.”

Chatfield High School’s principal made a plea to students on Facebook about Count Day.

“I am writing with a sincere and heartfelt appeal to ask that each of our students attend school on October 1st, and indeed, that they attend every day of school unless they are ill or have an unanticipated emergency,” Dr. Wendy Rubin wrote, according to The Denver Channel.

If just ten Jeffco students are absent when the official count is made on Count Day, in theory, the students could lose their district $68,420. According to KUSA’s Nelson Garcia, Jefferson County School District still has options to get students counted, even if the planned and official Count Day count is off due to the student protest. Garcia says that Colorado school districts actually have a window that goes from September 24 until October 8. The district could schedule a new count day instead.

In addition, Count Day rules in Colorado also offer other ways for students to get counted. If students are absent on Count Day, the district could submit evidence of attendance some time five days before Count Day as long as they can show the student resumed schooling before the end of October. It even states that if they happened to be absent during all five days prior to Count Day, the district could even provide proof that the student attended school any time before the window, as long as the student returned to class before the end of October. So, the district does have other options to maintain funding for Jefferson County students engaging in the Count Day protest but Rubin said that it would require a great deal of extra work for the school district’s staff.

[Photo via Twitter]

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