Imagine being an 8-year-old girl in the second grade and you're told you smell by not only your classmates, but by your teachers. Can you imagine how sad that must make a child feel? How alone? A little girl in Washington County, Tennessee, is being told just that and she has been sent home from school for body odor 24 times so far. Her mother has taken the child to the doctor and there is no medical reason for the smell, but according to those at the school, the odor is so bad that students and teachers have said it makes them unable to concentrate.
I don't like bad smells. But I don't like shaming a child like this. There is nothing this little girl can do; and this is emotionally affecting her the most.
The 8-year-old's mom said, "She's been to the doctor and it's not a medical problem. They send her home at least once a month. You go to school to learn, not to be sent home." I couldn't agree with her more. Imagine how helpless this mom must feel.
Director of schools in Washington County, Ron Dykes, told WJHL.com that there is a chance the child will be suspended:
... to be quite frank the odor is so overpowering and extremely offensive to other children and adults so some sort of home bound program is used or the child will be removed temporarily from the school until the family complies.
I can't help but hurt for the little girl. There are always that cast of characters in every classroom. I remember when I was a kid that there was the "dirty" kid, the "messy" kid, the "wild" one, the one who picks her nose. But no one ever got sent home for any of those things. We were kids. Children. Children get stinky sometimes. This little girl is 8. Whatever the reason for her "odor" she doesn't deserved to feel alienated. This is the kind of embarrassment that kids never forget. It shapes them. How much damage is being done to this child from all of this? Shouldn't that concern override an odor issue?
If this type of school issue happened with my child, I'd feel helpless, particularly if I tried to figure out the issue and couldn't. What ever happened to tolerating each other even if it's "bothersome"? She's not hurting anyone, but this is all certainly hurting her.
What do you think of this story? Should the child be sent home and possibly suspended?
Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr