'Desperate' Parent Dragged for Taking Son Out of Class for Cheaper Vacation

A parent who wants to take their son on a family vacation in September at the start of the school semester because it's "too expensive" at other times of the year has been criticized by users on Mumsnet, a U.K.-based online forum.

A survey of 1,126 U.S. adults conducted in August 2021 by the American Automobile Association showed that just over half (55 percent) of American adults were planning a vacation of at least one overnight stay before the end of 2022.

In a post shared on Mumsnet's Am I Being Unreasonable (AIBU) forum under the username Sleepregressionqueen, the parent said they needed to "unfortunately" take their family vacation in September "as otherwise it's just [too] expensive."

In a later post, the parent said "ideally I wouldn't take him either, but we haven't been on holiday since 2019! We're all desperate for one."

The user said there is "not much settling in really" to do, noting their child will be entering year 1 (the equivalent of kindergarten in the U.S.) and "has the same teacher and same people in his class."

A family on a beach vacation.
A family of four with hands raised, walking along a beach at sunset. A parent wants to take their child on a vacation in September at the beginning of the school semester because it's "too expensive" at other times of the year. iStock/Getty Images Plus

The original poster said they can go either at the start, September 13 or 27. "I said 27th to give him a bit of time, but OH [other half] says it's probably best we go at the start as they probably won't be learning many new things then. WWYD [What would you do]?"

Following a steep decline in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the demand for travel in the U.S. was reported to be strong in 2021, according to the 2021 edition of the annual U.S. Family Travel Survey conducted by the Family Travel Association (FTA) and the New York University (NYU) School of Professional Studies (SPS) Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality.

The survey, conducted among 2,365 people between June 14 and July 26 in 2021, showed that 88 percent of parents were "likely or very likely" to travel with their kids in the next 12 months.

A report on the survey's findings by Dr. Lynn Minnaert, a clinical associate professor at the NYU SPS Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, explained: "This means that travel demand from U.S. families in 2021 is at the same level as it was in 2017."

Several Mumsnet users warned against taking the child on vacation in September, with many saying it would be "disruptive."

User rubyslippers said: "I think it's really disruptive. yes it's expensive to go in school holidays but that's what most parents have to contend with once their holiday time is bound by this, the kids are learning stuff and settling back in to school during September and having a long break and then another one isn't ideal..."

User rainbowandglitter said "I wouldn't take him out of school," while user IsThePopeCatholic said: "I wouldn't go at all."

MadeiraMDear said: "If you are determined to go in September, I'd go for the 27th, so he at least had some time to settle in and you can see what the children are learning. Y1 is a big jump from reception learning-wise. Honestly, though, I wouldn't take him out of school in September if it were me."

Others were more understanding and sided with the parent.

Y7drama said: "I wouldn't worry too much either way as it's so similar to last year. Just get him to read a little every day and write a couple of postcards!"

User bluesky45, who said they're a primary school teacher, explained: "I would take him...I don't think it matters which date you take him out. For both of those dates, the settling in bits will be done and the 'learning' will have started so I'd just go for the cheapest or best weather option. He's in year 1, not year 11!"

HaveringWavering noted: "I'm sure that it won't make a massive difference to his learning in the grand scheme of things. But it's pretty disrespectful to the teachers and sets a bad example to the children (both yours and others) to model just randomly missing school to have fun instead..."

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