It’s common for schools to reward students for achievements in sports and academics. Some schools reward kindness. What about perfect attendance? Should students be rewarded for showing up every day? There’s no doubt that success at school depends on being present and ready to learn. But some people say rewarding perfect attendance isn’t a fair practice. It penalizes kids who miss school for reasons beyond their control. We put the question to our readers. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Sophia Montoya, 11
It’s important to reward children for perfect attendance. A small reward can go a long way. It encourages a habit of showing up. When kids grow up and have a job, their paycheck will be their reward. Aren’t the adults in our lives proof that this encouragement works? Rewarding perfect attendance in school helps instill this value in kids early on. And it adds to students’ sense of purpose. They’re not only learning and making friends, they’re also being recognized for their efforts. I believe that rewarding kids for attendance is a great way to motivate them and help them develop good habits.
Mark Shilakes, 11
East Lansing, Michigan
Kids don’t have much control over when they’re able to come to school. They can miss school because of illness or injury, or even a family vacation. Have you ever been absent from school, or late, and it was out of your control? The answer is probably yes.
Kids should not be rewarded or penalized for things over which they have no control. Just think: If you couldn’t be at school, whatever the reason, it would be frustrating to lose out on an attendance award. If there has to be a reward for something, it should be for grades or paying attention in class.
Dhruvan Dayan, 10
Foster City, California
Rewarding perfect attendance is a way to reinforce a great life skill. Kids should get into the habit of showing up every day. It will help them in the future, when they’re going to work. A reward system can also make students feel good about themselves, and encourage those who usually come in late to put in more effort to arrive on time. More time in school means more learning. Of course, when a student is absent because of illness, it shouldn’t be counted as an absence. That’s only fair. Coming to school every day and on time is an essential skill. It deserves to be rewarded.
Shreya Jassi, 9
Hicksville, New York
Kids shouldn’t be rewarded for attendance. Kids get sick, especially during cold weather. When I got sick, I wished I’d stayed home. I worried that my friends would get sick because of me.
There are other incentives to strive for perfect attendance. You won’t miss out on fun projects. If you play an instrument in school, you won’t miss practice. And there are the little things: the bad jokes your teacher makes, and having classmates to talk to, and to work and laugh with. These things are reward enough. So don’t be sad if you don’t get an award for perfect attendance.
The Next Debate: Should libraries charge late fees? Email your opinion to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 8. Your response might be featured in an upcoming issue.
*Submissions have been edited only for length and clarity. They are not intended to reflect the views of TIME for Kids. Ages are accurate as of the time of submission.