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BLOG: Stop Bringing Sick Kids to School!

If you are sending a sick child to school, think first. Not only are you spreading the illness, you're ticking off the other parents and teachers.

This is a bit of a rant, so please bear with me. My kids, 4 and 6, have been sick with colds, strep throat, ear infections, and stomach bugs on and off since Thanksgiving. It actually got so bad for my 4-year-old, he is getting daily breathing treatments to keep his asthma at bay, and three weeks ago we finished his fourth round of strep throat. Now I'm not trying to walk on a high horse or take the intellectually superior road—well, I kind of am.

It has gotten to the point where I have to have my 4-year-old son's tonsils out because he is continually exposed to infections and gets them repeatedly.

My kids are special needs kids, and do not have the cognitive ability to tell me that their throat hurts or they have an earache. I can tell by their behavior that something is about to come down the pike like a cold, flu or stomach bug. It is clear: they are tired, crabby, lethargic, or just have a bad look to them. And it is hard with my 4-year-old to tell because he just goes and plays hard if he has  a 103-degree fever or is well. His rosy cheeks are my indicator. I have taken him to the doctor because he just wasn't acting right, and he has had horrible double ear infections, and I feel like the poorest mother of the year award is about to be delivered to my doorstep.

Now I digress.

I see kids on the bus, and at school drop off on a daily basis that are clearly too sick to be there. What I don't actually say to the parents out loud is "Hey Idiot, the kid is too sick to be here, and I don't want my child to get this plague again. Do you mind driving back to your house until green and brown snot is not rolling down his face?"

When school calls me to pick up a child because they have gotten sick at school I keep him home for a day or two - OR UNTIL HE IS BETTER! I don't take him back to school the next morning and say "Well, he got home and played all day and acted fine," while I see the glassy eyes, and SNOT (my least favorite substance on the planet) rolling down his lip and the glistening snot on his sleeve, and then he wants to hold my child's hand!!! STOP THE MADNESS.

I'm not waging a war between stay-at-home moms and working moms, it really has nothing to do with it. School is not the place to care for sick kids. It just isn't. If you don't know your kid is sick and he gets called home that is one thing, but if you are insistent on bringing a child to school that is sick, and loudly saying "They call me to pick him up a couple times a week because he has a fever.....", don't be surprised one day if I am no longer my charming self to you at drop off.

Here is a lesson in some common sense:

  • If you child has a fever, keep him home until he is at a normal temperature for 24 hours WITHOUT Tylenol or some other fever reducer. 
  • Green, Brown or any colored snot - besides being completely disgusting - IS AN INFECTION - Keep them home!
  • Not eating, drool, or spitting may indicate a horrible sore throat - KEEP THEM HOME.
  • Diarrhea - KEEP THEM HOME.

My kids have missed nearly 6 weeks of school - 19 days for one and 16 school days for the other. It is our job as parents to care for the kids. If we ALL (yes even you) kept our kids home for 2-4 days when they are sick, the sickness may stop spreading over and over and over again. You know who would really appreciate it, I'm sure is the teachers! You think they want to wipe that disgusting slime off any ones face? I don't even like to wipe my own kids noses.

So please, before I have to unleash the bitch within that wants to come out and slap some common sense into some parents, stay home and cuddle your kids on the sofa. You may have to cut a vacation short a couple of day because of personal time at work - but guess what?! WE DIDN'T GET A VACATION THIS CHRISTMAS BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE INFECTED US WITH THE BUBONIC PLAGUE. So I'm not sympathetic to that excuse in the least bit. My job is to care for and make my kids as happy and healthy as possible. Please do not make it your job to send sick kids to school.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Julie Flores February 25, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Just a thought, maybe the mom works full time and she doesn't have the option to stay home day after day with sick kids. When you work on an hourly basis and have just enough to make ends meet life looks a little different. Not a good scenario for anyone but reality for a lot of people.
Rebecca Goddard February 25, 2013 at 08:53 PM
A reality we are all in the same boat, and unfortunately germs, illness and sickness don't care. Sending a child to school with an infection is going to do nothing but make more people teachers and children sick. I addressed the working mom vs. non working mom. Our vacation was cancelled because of sickness this year I hated doing it, but it wasn't fair to everyone we were with to be with sick kids and to spread the germs. I have watched people bring sick kids to my house and to school - and have time and money to go on vacation but not take off to care for their kids.
Julie Flores February 25, 2013 at 11:34 PM
In the long run, it might build up your kids immune systems. Younger kids get sick more often because they are more apt to stick their hands in their mouth. My kids are older and get sick much less often than they used to.
Julie Flores February 25, 2013 at 11:36 PM
How do you feel about parents who do not vaccinate their kids?
MFriedrich February 26, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Same goes for adults and the workplace I'm afraid. We often bring home the bugs and then kids get it just as easily. Also both children and adults can carry illnesses for several days with zero symptoms, which just adds to everyone's fun.
MFriedrich February 26, 2013 at 01:13 AM
The absolute best - parents bringing sick kids on a plane. But hey, what are you going to do? Its not like the airlines gives out refunds for sick passengers.
jb February 26, 2013 at 02:03 AM
I disagree. The absolute best was on a flight to Hawaii last December. We were surrounded by adults sneezing and coughing for 5 1/2 hours. Not a very good start to a vacation we had been planning for over a year. My daughter started getting sick a few days later and yes, had to fly home sick.
Rebecca Goddard February 26, 2013 at 03:39 AM
I have one vaccinated child and one not vaccinated. After autism, I'm not all that trusting of the medical community, especially after a large settlement has been given to vaccine injured children with autism. I think it's the parents right to vaccinate at their schedule not a dictated one from the CDC who at the congressional hearings on Autism in November admitted they did not have a thorough study on vaccine injuries vs. Children with Autism.
C M February 27, 2013 at 04:12 PM
While it's true that people are contagious before symptoms show up, it's irresponsible to send kids to school once you know they are sick and will definitely be spreading their illness. You may feel that it's a hardship to keep them home if you are a working parent and have to make special arrangements or take your own sick time, but you don't know the back story of all the other kids your child will come into contact with at school while they are spreading their germs. In any given school there are bound to be several families with serious health issues at home where a simple cold or flu could be a serious threat. Families with cancer patients are unfortunately all too common and of course there are also going to be pregnant moms. Think how you'd feel if you or your wife were pregnant or a family member fighting cancer for their life and you saw an obviously sick kid lining up for class with your kid. Keep your sick kids home!

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