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To the Mom Who Dropped Her Sick Kid Off at School (An Open Letter)

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Dear Mom with the Sick Kid at Drop-Off,

I know why you’re not making eye contact with me, or anyone else for that matter, this morning. It’s because you know that we all know that you’re casually trying to brush off the fact that your kid is sick. Too sick to be in school, in fact. Yet for some reason you still think that it’s completely fine to drop him off at school and expose all of our kids (and us, for that matter) to whatever illness he has.

Trust me, I’ve been there. I get the conundrum. You have to work today and neither you nor your hubs can take time off to take care of your sick kid. And anyway, the kid seems better than he did over the weekend. Plus, he begged to go back to school. “Please Mommy, I have computer class today and I don’t want to miss it.”

So you talked yourself into taking him, even though you knew in your heart that it was the wrong decision. He’s fine, you told yourself. He had a fever yesterday. That’s not today. He’s technically fever free. Plus, I can’t miss my big presentation at work. He wants to go to school, so he can’t be that sick, right?

But, here’s the thing: You and I both know that he’s still contagious. We also know that school is not a hospital or a pediatrician’s office. Our children’s teachers have a job to do and that job does not include taking care of your sick kid. Plus school, even preschool, requires lots of energy from kids. Sick kids need to be home resting, not trying to keep it together at school. And here’s something else: Parents shouldn’t have to send their healthy kids to a classroom full of sick kids whose parents were too selfish to keep them home.

Although I’m sorry that you or your spouse may have to miss a big meeting, pay a babysitter when you hadn’t expected to, or piss your boss off yet again with your inability to get to work because your child is home sick, this is something all of us parents must deal with; it’s part of the gig.

So if your child hasn’t been fever free for 24 hours, technically he is still sick. If his nose is dripping green, keep him home! Hacking coughs, weird rashes, and sick tummies all mean one thing: The kid is sick — too sick to be around other kids.

It may not bother you that you are forcing your sick child to perform the daily requirements of school, but it should bother you that you are knowingly exposing everyone else’s children to what your child has. Your time, health, and schedule are not more important than mine. And my child’s health isn’t less important than whatever you had planned for the day.

So if you can’t make eye contact with the other parents at school, or you have to explain to your child’s teacher that your child isn’t really sick, than your child is sick. Sorry if that ruins your day, but I just can’t support anyone who would knowingly risk any child’s good health.

Yours truly,

Every Other Parent at School

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Photo: Getty