Friday, July 31, 2009


What I have in mind now might cost me some acquaintances and a lot of goodwill among some readers. I actually spent time debating with myself whether to take up this topic or not. But those who know me well enough are aware that I couldn’t let go once something starts eating at me. I just have to take that off my chest or I’ll explode!

I hope that we have broadminded readers who will understand that I am not deliberately targeting anybody. I may appear critical of some parents and I may be met by a lot of opposing ideas after this. But that’s a risk that I’m prepared to take. Bato-bato sa langit na lang …

It’s really very simple, nothing big and earth shattering. It’s about the flu and the issue of whether or not we should send our kids to school when they start exhibiting symptoms of the illness.

At first look, the answer seems pretty simple: child with fever = home.

But you would be surprised to know that there were actually some parents who still sent their kids to school despite elevated temperatures! I have seen this happen first hand. I have also heard of stories, uncorroborated of course, of parents who pressed ice cubes into their children’s foreheads so they could pass the temperature check at the school entrance. Others were said to have given their children paracetamol prior to going to make sure that their temperature would be down by the time they got to school.

I personally know of others who had to struggle with the idea of a slightly sick child having to stay home, thereby missing seatworks, quizzes and exams.

From what I have gathered, all these boil down to one concern: inconvenience. It is inconvenient for some to go after teachers to arrange for make-up quizzes and exams for the absent child. It is too much effort for some to borrow notebooks so their kids could copy the notes that they missed while they were sick.

I am perplexed. These stories, if true, are entirely against what I believe to be every mother’s primordial instinct when her child becomes sick! And that is to keep the child at home, well rested and fed and properly medicated to boot!

I had hoped that these stories were nothing but mere fabrications dreamed up by tongues that had nothing better to do. But the sad fact is that there are actually parents out there who do not consider a slight illness or an elevated temperature as enough justification for a missed day in school. They had to wait for 40-degree fevers perhaps?

And why is that? It seems that there is concern that their kids’ absence will affect their academic performance. I am thinking right now of what my daughter’s school principal, Sister Marissa Palomar, repeatedly says to the parents: let you children be children. Let them enjoy being such. Do not concern yourself too much over their academic performance. Their grades in elementary and high school will not show when they will apply for jobs in the future.

I completely agree. And if I may add … when they are sick, let them stay home even if they insist on going! Who are the parents anyway? I say, forget the missed quizzes and whatnot! Your children will not fail with two or even more missed seatworks.

And in addition to that, I enjoin parents to think of the other children who will be interacting with your sick ones. Spare them from contracting the same illness.

And this brings us to the crux of the matter … I can’t help but think that if the parents of sick children had only exercised the right discretion, maybe, just maybe, the reach of the flu would not have been as widespread as it is now. After all, if the sick ones had stayed home, who would infect the healthy children in school?

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