Readers: An Aussie mom presents us with a new school development — or at least one I hadn’t heard about. I feel bad for the immune deficient kids, but being out in the world means they will be faced with germs everywhere. What if they take a city bus to school? No one sick is allowed on the bus? And what about staffers: Are teachers allowed — or forced — to leave if they have a tickle in their throat? What a can of germs this opens up! – L.
Dear Free-Range Kids:
I once was told to collect her “because the teacher thought she looked a bit pale”. If I ever try to question the school staff’s judgement, I get spoken to in a tone that very clearly shows that they think I am an irresponsible parent.
There are two reasons for sending kids home, it seems. One is the idea that they cannot cope with even the slightest level of discomfort.
The other reason is that they seem to be getting to protect all kids from all germs. They published following entry in the school newsletter at the start of winter:
Coughs and Colds in Canberra
With the onset of colder weather we are noticing
an increase in the number of students coming to school
with coughs and colds.
We ask that if your child is unwell that you keep them home
to recover as we have students who are immune deficient.
Please remind your child about the importance of washing
their hands and general hygiene.
The biggest irony is that my daughter has been reporting that there hasn’t been any soap or paper towels in their toilets for the past 2 years.
One of the worst effects of this over the top policy is that my child occasionally plays the system like a pro. She knows that she just had to put on a sad face and make up some vague symptoms and she gets to go home instead of attending boring classes. And the school doesn’t allow me any defence.
I have called the department of education yesterday and the community liaison officer agreed with me that this is not workable. Next I will talk to the principal. I want to go back to a common sense approach, like we had in my school days. A child should only be sent home if they have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea or show signs of a serious infectious illness. If she didn’t see reason, I will lodge an official complaint with the department. My child has a right to be at school to learn and unless she poses a real risk to other kids. A bit of a cough or sniffle or looking a bit pale does NOT constitute a genuine risk. — A Mom Down Under