Why Are Schools So Paranoid About Sick Kids?

Rant 26

box of tissuesI'm kind of in trouble with my son's school. Again. I have committed the cardinal sin or sending my son to school sick. Ish. He's not really sick -- not to me, anyway. Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday he was sick. This morning he seemed much better. High energy, no fever. So I bundled him onto that school bus and off he went. And then I went to work.

But by the time I was two blocks away from my office I got a text: The boy was being sent back home. "He seemed miserable," they said. Miserable?!? Of course he's miserable. He's not at home watching cartoons in his pajamas! When did schools become so sensitive about sick kids?

I get why we don't want kids with full-blown colds sneezing all over each other at school. That's how sickness spreads. But since I've become a parent, it seems like schools won't even tolerate a lingering cough.

IN MY DAY! (Which is what I've been saying all morning as I complain bitterly on Facebook to my friends.) I had to have a fever with monkeys flying out of my ass before I could stay home from school. "My dad is a doctor and we went to school with every illness under the sun. If we were going to miss school, we had to produce vomit or need surgery," one of my friends said. "My mum was a nurse and we went to school no matter what," another friend added. My son's father was the youngest of five kids, which means he got sent to school one day with a broken collar bone, another day with appendicitis.

This isn't the first time I've sent my "recovered" son to school only to have him flung back at me like a human phlegm-spewing boomerang. This happens to me pretty much every time he's sick, which is thankfully only once or twice a year. I'm always ready to send him back a day or two sooner than his school thinks I should.

And you know what? I wanted to get back to work. I spent three days holed up in my dark, humid cave of an apartment. My body had bent into the letter C. I hadn't showered that whole time. We BOTH needed to get out. Also? There's a very good reason why I don't home school. So maybe the school thinks I'm the Worst Mother Ever -- I say a clean, sane, happy mother is a good mother. Expect to see that kid again tomorrow.

How cautious are you about keeping your kids home from school when they're sick?

 

Image via Brian Reid Furniture/Flickr

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