Passionate About Pittsburgh
and the Moms Who Live Here

I’m Not Sending My Kids to School When They Are Sick

Photo Courtesy Pexels

I’m just going to come out and say it, none of the kids in this house will ever be up for a Perfect Attendance Award at School.

If that takes me out of the running for the Mom of the Year Award, so be it. Although I figured I already lost out on that award long ago for not buying my daughter that Squishee at Target or shutting the internet off when my oldest son had his latest screaming fit playing Fortnite.

I just have this simple belief that if my kids are sick, I’m not sending them to school. It also infuriates me when parents knowingly send their kids to school with colds and stomachaches and sore throats. Why? Because my kids then come home with sinus infections, throwing up, or with strep. Really, you all need to cut that out right now! It seems like a simple enough theory. I don’t want to get your kids sick. I hope you have enough respect and common courtesy to do the same and keep your kids home when they are ill.

Realistically, I guess it may not be that easy. Childcare is an issue at times, but what is becoming even more of an issue is the pressure school districts put on families to get their kids to school, no matter what the cost.

My oldest son has not had much luck in the health department. Since kindergarten, without fail, he has gotten sick the first week of school. It’s like his immune system comes back from summer vacation and goes “OH HECK NO!” So he missed a couple days right off the bat this year with a fever/virus.

Once winter hit, another sickness. This one went on and off for nearly three weeks. He would go to school when he was up to it, then there were days he couldn’t get out of bed. We had the pediatrician on speed dial. He went in to see her. For the first part of the illness, we were told it was viral and there was nothing we could do except rest and fluids. By the time three weeks rolled around and he still wasn’t better, we took him to urgent care. Enough was enough. Kid was diagnosed with a sinus infection, given antibiotics, and he soon cleared up.

All the while, the notes from the school district started to come in. “Your child has been consistently absent from school. Failure to attend school could result in truancy, court appearances, blah, blah, blah, blah…..”

Really!?! My kid was actually sick. “Sorry, I don’t actually like my kids enough to keep them home for the heck of it….” is what I was thinking. I sent in medical excuses from the days we did go to urgent care and the pediatrician, but I’m not taking him there every day. No parent would. They would go bankrupt on the co-pays!

On top of sickness, the firstborn also has the unfortunate luck of having migraines. He sees a neurologist regularly for the condition, especially as hockey player whose hobby includes getting hit in the head a lot. We have prescription medication at home for him to stop the onset and pain of the migraines as well, but as anyone who has them will tell you, they don’t always work. So add a few days of laying in the dark to the missed days of school.

And then it came; the big letter from the school district. We now have the one that says the kid cannot miss any more days of school unless we have a medical excuse from a doctor. They can really take us to court now too because he has missed ten days. A social worker can come in and talk to him, the list of ridiculousness goes on and on.

I understand there are kids who do not show up at school. I understand there are some parents who simply do not care or whom are neglectful. I understand there are instances where you have to go after families legally and do something. But shouldn’t you look at each individual case before you send one of those letters home?

Despite any absences, my son has all of his work completed and made up. He is on high honor roll. He knows his grades come first or he does nothing else. He would have straight As if not for Pre-Calc (sore subject, don’t bring it up to him.) He’s planning college tours right now and is getting ready to take his SATs.

In other words, he’s a good kid and really good student. I just will not send any of my kids to school if they are sick. Sorry not sorry.

Photo Courtesy Pexels

If a kid is a senior in high school and they are receiving a Perfect Attendance Award because they haven’t missed since kindergarten, chances are that kid has gone to school several times sick, and that’s not cool. If your child is sick, please keep them home. You risk getting other children sick whose parents may have trouble finding childcare, and you risk getting teachers sick that don’t have the time to take off. Personally, I feel we should do away with Perfect Attendance Awards for this very reason.

School districts need to find a more positive way to encourage attendance as well. Some attendance figures are tied to money. Others are tied to punishment. Sending threatening letters to parents isn’t the best way to solve the problem either. All of the above shows the district cares more about numbers instead of the actual child. An individual approach is the best way to deal with absence situations. Schools want high attendance, but they also don’t want sick children knocking more of their student population out for long stretches of time either.

For me, if my kids are sick, I’m keeping them home, no matter what the threats. If your kids are sick, I urge you to stop the spread of germs and do the same.

 

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