Friday, May 17, 2013

When Children are Sick

The New York Times has two columns here on the issue of bringing children to work.  One column author describes the times she brought her children, and the other column’s author says she never even asked;  in fact, she didn’t want anyone to know she had children as she was afraid it would make her look less professional.

Both of these column highlight how essentially unfriendly our country is to children.  I was lucky enough to teach in a school system that, because of our union contract, allowed me to stay home when my children were ill.  This unusual permission should be common practice.

I think we tend to forget that people raising children are helping everyone.  Today’s children are tomorrow’s citizens who will support our social security, staff our hospitals and schools, keep our country productive. 

Unless parents are lucky enough to have willing family members close by who are able to step in and help, what are they to do?  Send sick kids to school?  The schools will send them right back home (as they should).  Leave sick children home alone?  A teenager would be okay, but you can’t leave a seven-year-old alone all day.

At least with school vacations and in-service days, it’s possible to plan ahead.  But when a child wakes up with a fever what, exactly, are parents supposed to do? 

I think the discussion should revolve around this question.  To be afraid even to admit you have children is too ridiculous for comment.

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