This is a true story.
A few years ago, our house got hit by lightning in the middle of the night. The lightning set fire to the electrical system, and there was a serious fire. The hallway was filled with black, toxic smoke. We were lucky to escape with our lives. Many of our possessions got burned, including the children’s school bags and uniforms, which were in the hall ready for school the next day. As soon as the children had got over the initial trauma, they returned to school (we were still living in a hotel at this point). They did not have any uniform to wear, nor any school books. I can still vividly remember seeing my son’s school diary after the fire, when I went to meet the loss adjuster to list the things that we had lost. It was burned, almost to cinders, on the ground outside the front door where the fire fighters had left it.
If, when our children returned to school, they had been punished for ‘breaking the rules’, because they were not in uniform, and did not have their school books, then their school would officially have had a ‘no excuses’ culture and policy. There would literally have been ‘no excuses’ for breaking the rules. There would be no ‘reasonable excuse’ for which the rules could be bent. Happily, in this instance, their school supplied them with new books and presented us with a large bag full of second hand uniform. It still took them several weeks to fully get over the trauma, and it was several months before we could return to our home. To this day, my son is terrified of lightning. And I don’t blame him.
Because he has a perfectly reasonable excuse.