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This world is really crazy sometimes. As I was reading this story in The Guardian about UK Man Fined for Taking Family to Disney World, it really made me laugh and realize just how unreasonable people can be sometimes…
From the time I was born, my family has gone to Disney World at least once a year. I don’t have to explain to you the reasons why we did, as I’m sure you love Disney as much as me. But of course vacations to Disney World are not cheap, so what did my parents do? Of course they always looked to go in periods when the prices were more reasonable. That meant that we would make our yearly trek in September. We loved September because the weather was still hot, and of course since the kids just went back to school it was much less crowded and much more affordable. (It’s still one of the Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World).
Did my or my sister’s teachers have a problem with it? Not at all, not even once did they make a big deal about it. I told them ahead of time I’d be going away for a week, they’d give me the homework assignments for the time I’d be away, and that was it. No big deal.
UK Supreme Court Ruling
Instead UK man Jon Platt ended up all the way in the UK Supreme Court this week for a one week vacation he and his family took in 2015. The courts ruled that the father broke the law by taking his daughter out of school during the school year, and was fined 120 pounds for it. Platt argued that “millions of parents in Britain no longer have the power about their own children,” but it was to no avail.
It didn’t matter that the girl had a 92.3% attendance for the year, the court decided that it’s up to the schools to decide and enforce the rules about what good attendance is.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand how important a young person’s education is, and of course it’s the law that they have to go to school. I certainly wouldn’t advocate parents having the right to just keep their kids at home whenever they want. But some reasonableness is obviously required. If parents can’t decide what to do with their own kids for one week of the year, what’s next? What if there’s a family emergency, then is it ok? Who signs off on that?
Like I said, it’s something we did EVERY YEAR, and I never stayed back, or had problems with my grades. Now if the child has problems keeping up with their classmates, then maybe the parent should decide against it. But if there are no problems, then it shouldn’t be this big of a deal.
I could make the argument that vacations are actually an important part of a child’s learning experience. I mean, I learned 2x as much in 1 Day in Epcot than I did in a whole week at school. All the science, technology, the different cultures… I’ll bet that millions of children have gained their inspiration for what they would do later in life after a simple trip to Walt Disney World.
What’s the impact for Disney?
This is the interesting part. As you know Disney vacations are really expensive even for a couple, let alone a family of 4-5 people. Therefore it’s always best to go off-season when the prices are lower. If these families in the UK are not able to go during the school year, then you can expect to see a little decrease in the attendance at WDW. Disney tries to offer incentives for Brits to travel to WDW (like the UK Free Dining package they run every year), but unfortunately these families now won’t be able to take advantages of them.
Will Disney now try and offer some other incentive to Brits that they can use?
And will this start to have an effect on families in the United States? Will teachers and schools here start cracking down harder on kids missing school? That’s to be seen. I hope not because it will mean that a bunch of parents won’t be able to treat their kids to something so magical as a Disney vacation, something we were fortunate enough to experience but might not have otherwise, at least not as often.
I want to know what you think about UK Supreme Court Decision and any personal experience you’ve had bringing your children to Disney during that time. Do you think parents should have the right to take their children out of school for a reasonable amount of time? Let us know in the comments section below!
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News Source: The Guardian