The children of parents who are deployed overseas get precious few days to spend with their loved ones when they return stateside, and now a lawmaker from Texas hopes to make it easier for youngsters to do so. Jonathan Stickland, a state representative from Hurst, Texas, recently proposed a bill that would allow military children more unexcused absences, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Known as House Bill 202, the law would allow youngsters with parents in the military 10 excused absences in the days before their parent deploys or if they are home on leave. The legislation is set to go into effect in September if it's passed, and it has already received praise from school administrators.
"This proposal seems to be a compassionate and thoughtful gesture toward the families of our service members," Michael Sorum, deputy superintendent of learning, leadership and student support for the Fort Worth school district, told the newspaper. "Separation from a parent is always stressful for a child. Separation because of military service brings its own set of unique situations which can generate even more stress than usual."
While the law would apply only to the Lone Star State, it does underscore the importance of addressing stress placed on military families by deployment. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, when a parent is deployed to a combat zone, schoolchildren can experience everything from a dip in academic performance to mood changes and physical ailments.