Junior high school skipping in most non-urban towns is rare, but not unusual1observation/judgment not verified by statical data.
Disclaimer: Much or even most of the following is second-hand, so I cannot testify in court to parts unobserved by me.
The teachers’ union was on strike and the school administration declared that student attendance was optional. It was a strong union town, so most parents did not send their kids.
Brothers Darryl and Darryl whose names I’ll take from the Newhart TV show2 “Hi, I’m Larry. This is my brother, Darryl and my other brother, Darryl.” were twins in grade level, but nearly a year apart in age.3Yes, this sounds a little like the girls in “Of Slugs V” but… The boys were walkers and usually came to school on a path from the neighborhood through the trees mentioned in my post about Skifoot.
Neither Darryl the Older nor Darryl the Younger were destined to be Rhodes Scholars, but neither were they in danger of repeating a grade. Their standardized tests showed ability a few points above their class subject grades, but neither liked school which influenced their scholastic levels.
Well, back to the skipping incident.
The boys arrived at last bell and went to the gym for a shoot around supervised by a substitute teacher. The jocks and want-to-be jocks dominated ball possession, so Darryl and Darryl were permitted to watch one of the movies being shown in classrooms supervised by other substitutes.
With only about 100 of the school’s 600 students present, lunch was served early. Darryl the Older shared a plan with his brother, but neither had ever missed lunch, so they’d make their move during transition back to one of the classrooms.
I was on the picket line on public property with a full view of the woods. Older and Younger stepped out the back door and looked both ways. I wasn’t sure until later if they saw me or not. They sprinted to the path they usually took coming to school. But instead of going out of sight on the trail, they turned and moved tree to tree like our Revolutionary War militia men avoiding the British4They did see me but thought I was too far away to recognize them..
Where the woods ended a little over 200 yards from the school building, they broke into a full sprint and disappeared behind a convenience store. A minute or so later, their heads appeared at the corner of the building. Their posture was, ‘look casual’ as they came around the corner and entered the store.
All of that was Friday, the strike was settled over the weekend, and schools were in full operation on Monday. Just after school, the Darryls approached the vice principal at the bus line. Older asked if their parents had been called about their being suspended. After they volunteered a detailed confession, VP didn’t tell them school had been optional on Friday. He said something like, “I’ll excuse it this time, “but never again.”
I have no idea if they skipped again.