Do not send sick kids to school! I repeat, do not do it! I recently read an article in which a parent was asking that schools police children’s health and punish those parents who send their sick children to school. If you wake up and your kid has a 104 degree temperature or is actively vomiting and diarrheaing all over the house, it’s a pretty good bet that you should keep that kid home. But should the school have the right to take punitive action against the parents?
I get that parents have jobs and they can’t always get time off. Not every parent is a stay-at-home or even has the opportunity to work from home. My family is very fortunate in this way. I work from home and, if need be, my husband can work from home some days so I follow all the rules. I fully realize that most parents can’t do that and they work to pay for food, shelter and utilities. Sometimes, you just have to send your kid in and pray he doesn’t infect anyone else because, quite frankly, the electric company doesn’t care if your kid is sick and the grocery store doesn’t take I.O.U.s.
If my girls are running fevers or vomiting, I always keep them home. I take them to the pediatrician because we are lucky enough to have insurance. It’s not always easy, but it’s what has to be done.
Recently, I was really sick with the flu myself. What I thought was a man cold, because I was being a whiny little girl and complaining about everything, turned out to be the real deal, pull on your big girl panties and prepare to hate your life for the next 7-10 days FLU! The one year we don’t get our flu shots and pow… Right in the kisser.
The worst part of this whole situation was that my girls were also sick so I couldn’t just rest and recoup, I had to tend to them first and then rest. It was brutal. To make it extra special, the night I felt my absolute worst from the killer headache that accompanies this death flu, 5 minutes after finally drifting off to sleep, my 8-year-old ran into my room screaming my name as she projectile vomited all over my carpeted bedroom. The last thing I wanted to do in the middle of my dying was clean up vomit but that’s what I did.
For the next four days of my crippling flu journey, the little one feverish and clingy spent every waking and sleeping moment draped over my body, attached to me like some adorable little parasite; killing me softly as I stayed silent; comforting her when all I wanted was solitude and sleep. I didn’t want to be touched or looked at but I had to suck it up.
To make things worse, when she’s sick she’s kind of mean. She was short and irritable. So was I but I’m the mom. So not only did I get to feel absolutely dreadful, I got to be her punching bag (because who can yell at a sick kid) avoid sleep because of worry and go quietly insane.
So at the end of last week, just as the antibiotics started to kick in from the compounding situation of walking pneumonia, the Big Guy got sick. Fevers, coughing and achy soreness for everyone.
By Saturday morning, the oldest had 104-degree temperature. None of us wanted to move and all of us wanted to die. Still, I had not one second to be sick in peace. No moment to curl up under the blankets and wallow to the hum of the humidifier. Not even one lone moment to nurse my scratchy throat in peace.
Essentially, we had almost 3 weeks of children home. 10 of those days, I was extremely sick myself. I kept my girls home because that is what school policy dictates, that’s what their sick little bodies demanded and it had to be done. None of us liked it. We were all just trying to survive it.
Then I got a carefully worded letter in the mail, “warning” me about my daughters’ absences. The ones they had missed due to the flu they caught at school. The same absences, which I had taken them to the pediatrician for and called daily to let the school know. I felt threatened and appalled because if the other parents had kept their kids home when they were running the fevers, maybe my entire family could have avoided 3 weeks worth of missed school, ballet, gymnastics, violin and tumbling. Maybe I could have saved all that money I had to waste on OTC drugs, doctors visits, prescriptions, Kleenex, and takeout because no one felt up to cooking.
Instead, I got the reprimand for doing the right thing and the parents who knowingly send their kids in sick with fevers, stomach flus and lice are left to go on about their merry ways. I call bullshit.
I’m Bitter. I did all the right things and I am the one being policed. How is this fair? We need a better system.
Parents, I know that its not easy and sometimes it might not even be possible but if your child is sick and you knowingly send them in to school, you know better and you should be the one being given the threatening letters, not me.