Debate: Should School Attendance be Mandatory?

School Attendance Should Be Voluntary

By Denise Venegas

I believe highschool attendance should be voluntary after elementary and middle school. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be classes offered to students, however it is one’s own personal choice to decide whether they should attend school or not. This could be for overwhelming reasons such as, financial issues, mental health, or simply for personal reasons. Financial needs are pertinent in education due to the fact that the highschools don’t provide financial aid and the school district only offers transportation to students in certain areas of town. It isn’t likely for somebody that has a bad attendance record to excel academic wise. However, that is up to the person making the choice of missing out on a free education.

You are offered free public education for the K-12 years, yet, if you decide that you no longer wish to pursue your education in highschool, it is your own choice. Yes, this might increase the highschool dropout rate, however, as harsh as it sounds, that’s their own fault if they neglect a free education. School is important when it comes to learning common knowledge and basic skills, yet, you do not need to physically attend to learn all of this. In recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has allowed students to stay at home while still receiving the education they require. Yet, online education can also become hectic. In this case, one has the choice to opt out of class when needed.

School can sometimes be very stressful, and it is scientifically proven that over 50% of students struggle with anxiety and stress due to school. Mental health is significant in education because school should be a place where students can learn freely and not feel pressured into accomplishing something by force. If school remains involuntary, students will continue to struggle mentally and this could lead to something bigger in the future. For this reason, someone might miss as much school as they need in order to take a mental break and relieve the distress they feel at school without being punished for it.

Personally, I would attend all the days I could in school due to the fact that I’m able to learn and study for free. At the same time, I feel that it is a necessity for me to do well academically since my parents were not given the same opportunities as myself. Despite this, anybody else has their own choice to make when it comes to their education. If they are aware that most jobs require at least a highschool diploma, then why wouldn’t they go to school? 

What I do know is that school is for people who want to learn, not to simply attend by force and to the detriment of education for everyone else. If you look around your campus, do you really think every single student there attends school to benefit them? There are always fights at school, drug use, gang affiliation, etc because those students are not there to learn, rather, they are there by force. For this reason, I believe one has the choice to control what it is they want to do with their life. As long as you are willing to learn on your own accord, your attendance won’t matter as much as the effort you put into actually benefiting yourself from a free education.

I’m not saying that nobody has to go to school, yet if they wish to reject their academics, then so be it. Honestly, I have missed  more days than I can count on both hands of school, yet, I continue to do well academically and have managed to rank in the top 25 of my graduating class. This proves that if you put in the effort, attendance won’t matter. However, if you completely give up on your education aside from not attending, that is a personal choice which should remain voluntary.


School Attendance Shouldn’t Be Voluntary 

By Jacqueline Martinez 

School attendance is something that is required ever since we’ve been in elementary school. It’s always been that way and there really is no need to change it up. We should always welcome new things into our lives, but this is just not one of them. 

Here in California, according to the California Department of Education, it’s required by law to attend school between the ages of six and 18. Going to school is a very important thing in every kid’s life as it sets up a foundation of life that’ll take root in the future. School attendance in high school is still as important as it has already been as it gives students the opportunity to learn not just the basic general education, but new things about themselves. Keeping the mandatory attendance status allows students to branch out and create connections, mentally and emotionally. High school is a crucial part of everybody’s lives, whether we like it or not. These hated four years of high school helps us nurture and prepare ourselves for the “real world.” Every class we take gives us an insight to a higher level of knowledge that we may or may not enjoy. Nevertheless, they all serve to benefit us one way or another. 

If school attendance were to be voluntary, it’d encourage students who want voluntary attendance to not commit to a higher education. Attendance not being mandatory gives everyone a mindset that pursuing an education isn’t as important as it is. If anything, it’d only inconvenience those in impoverished conditions. Not getting the proper education that everyone needs enforces people to pursue harder, more grueling work than most. Not only that, receiving an education helps you adapt more in our society that’s always changing onto the new technology and lifestyle. Making school attendance voluntary rips away the chance for students to get the preparation they need for the future. Lots of students have to help their fair share around home and if not going to school wasn’t a big issue anymore, they could be forced to go do things that seem more important at the time, like work. 

High school is a tough environment to work around. It’s stuffed with anxiety, stress, and overall feels like hell. Going to school for some may take a lot of effort. Everybody is going through different things outside or inside of school. Taking days off to rest isn’t the worst but having the option to not be encouraged to worry about going to school can press on that feeling of indolence.  Not having to go to school for a majority of the day can decrease your motivation as one has nothing to keep them occupied. Going to school keeps everyone organized and prepared for the future. 

 As minors, we can not make such serious decisions like getting rid of mandatory school attendance. Our brains aren’t fully developed ‘til we’re 25, so how can we as 14-18 year olds make the choice of putting our education to the side when we want? School is always viewed negatively with everyone but it is detrimental to our development. Without mandatory attendance, our growth will not be the same.