Why the Local Public School and the State of Iowa Dept of Education are Infuriating Me!
Posted Mar 25 2011 12:04pm
This has been a rough winter for my children. They have caught every germ known to man. We haven’t had a winter like this since they were in daycare.
I thought last winter was bad because my daughter fought strep throat for 2 months. She missed out on many activities including school and family fun like Thanksgiving dinner at my nephew’ s home. It just didn’t seem like she would get over it.
This year my son has been sick every month since school started. The doctor wanted to know if he had allergies because he was getting sick so much. She even put him on allergy meds but they didn’t help because he didn’t have allergies. My daughter has been sick almost as much but instead of every month she gets sick for extended days instead of monthly.
When my children are sick I do not send them to school. I should say when they have a temperature I do not send them to school. If they have a cold they still may go if they have no temp. But I refuse to let them go with a temp and that is any temp. My personal belief is that they do not need to go to school and infect other kids and they do not need to go to school and run themselves down more because they are fighting a temp.
I do not keep them home if they are temp free unless they are really sick like throwing up or having diarrea or wheezing or something pretty bad that would prevent them from functioning at school.My kids do not stay home because they want to or because they don’t like school or because we are going on vacation or because we want to play hookie. That is not how our family runs.
Did I mention that 2 years ago my daughter got an award for 100% attendance? Hmm…..is that an indication that we don’t let them stay home unless they are sick?
The other thing is that if my kids are not well enough to go to school then we always make a visit to the doctor to make sure what is going on with them. This year we have had strep throat in our house quite a few times. We have had ear infections which haven’t occurred since day care. We have had pink eye which we haven’t had since day care and we have had influenza. Like I said it has been a rough year for my children. And just to tell you….my son hasn’t been in daycare for 4 years and my daughter hasn’t been in daycare for 4 years.
Why am I telling you all of this?
This year we received a letter from the principle of our public grade school after the kids had another week with strep throat in the throws of winter. It was right before conference time after the second quarter. The letter was obviously a form letter. It stated that the state of Iowa had a goal for all public schools and that goal required students to attend a certain percentage of school each year and our children were not meeting this goal. At this time the kids had missed about 10-13 days of school because of illness.
Each of these times that days were missed we had made trips to the doctor and the kids had gone on antibiotics. Most doctors will tell you that children are contagious until 24-48 hrs after taking their antibiotics.The letter from the school stated that teachers and other students were affected by my children’s abscences. Basically the hidden words of this letter was that we were keeping the kids home for no reason and it was detrimental to the school’s goal that the state had set and their absences were affecting the teachers and other students.
Needless to say, I was, well, let us just say….P.O.’d as I would have said in a previous life! Why was I mad? Let see. My kids were really sick and not faking it. We had visited the doctor each time. They had temps each time they were sick. The school never asked me for a doctor’s excuse. The school never called me to see if everything was okay. I called into the school every day and babbled about what was wrong with my children. I never received a personal note or email from the principal about my children. My children’s teachers were not even talked to about how my kids were doing in their classes. We went and got all of their homework each time the kids were sick so they wouldn’t be behind in anything. My kids are not behind in anything. My kids have no issues with grades.
I hardly think the teachers and students were affected by my kid’s abscences. The school never gave us notification about the new regulations or goals in the beginning of the year. The principal, who sends emails out a couple times a week and some times each day never emailed me personally to see if the school could do anything to help. He emails me about fundraising for the middle school playground. He emails me about sign up for sports and sports practices. He emails me about dinners and community fundraisers. Let’s just say…the principal and the school know how to use email. I was mad.
I had pretty much forgotten about this form letter a few weeks later after being calmed by my husband and time and prayer. I have wanted to homeschool since my daughter started kindergarten four years ago but my husband has not been completely on board because of my health. This gave me fuel for my argument but I let it go. But is was quite obvious that even our small town public school system had no personal connection with my children.
So after being calm for a few months and still praying that my hubby would want to homeschool since my daughter was entering that middle school age….we received another letter.
Now this letter was not sent in the mail as the first one. It was sent for my son in what is called the Friday folder with no envelope and for anyone stuffing envelopes to see. My daughter got hers handed to her by the school secreatary at the end of the school day. What in the world? And when was this letter sent…..exactly 2 days after my children returned to school and after one full week out sick from school. They both were sick, taken to the doctor with temps and both tested for strep throat and influenza. Both tests came back positive. The doctor told us not to plan anything through out the weekend because she would treat them for the strep but not the flu because she didn’t want the medications to cancel each other out. She said they were contagious and not to go back to school until Monday. So my son missed 5 days and my daughter missed 4 because she tried to go back once and got a temp again before we went to the doctor.
Did the school know any of this information? I called in and I told them that they both tested positve for strep and influenza? Did the principal call me or email me? Did they know the doctor’s orders? No….they didn’t know because there was no communication from them until the nasty gram given to my children the next week at school.
My kids went back to school on Monday…they were there for three days…were still stuffed up and fighting coughs..but had no temps so we sent them. On Wednesday we received the second letter before spring break started on Thursday. My kids just got back to school for three days and the letter was given to them.
This second letter is even more interesting than the first. So interesting that I am going to post it here:—————————————————————————————————————————————————
To the parent of ——
The —-school district believes that attendance is an essential life-long habit. It also is a way to help students learn as much as possible. The State of Iowa is requiring all buildings to meet attendance goals that are set by the state. A student who misses 15 days of school will be required to be part of a group that will meet to develop a plan for the rest of the school year.
—has missed — days of school so far this year. The —-District Attendance Policy states that a meeting will occur to create a plan to diminish the number of absences.
The school will contact you to arrange the meeting, if they haven’t done so already.
I was a little upset. Well maybe a lot more than a little. Why am I even more upset this time? Not only that a generic form letter was sent but also the way it was sent to my husband and I….. the words used to describe my children as if we are not teaching them good habits…… hinting that my children are not learning when they are absolutely doing great in school-ask their teachers…..that a meeting is required for a plan of action- planning for no illness?……what else?
Am I even more convinced that we should homeschool? Absolutely. I am so disappointed in my school district. One of the reasons we moved to this community was because we wouldn’t be in the big city school district and that is why a lot of families move here. The district is growing but it isn’t big enough that the principal, teachers, and staff don’t know children by name and usually know the parents too. I understand government regulations. I use to work for the government before my illness…but there are always personal ways that you can handle what you have to tell people.
The principal could have given us a heads up. The principal could have said “you know this is policy but if you have doctor’s excuses etc then we can put it in your child’s file instead of just having this form letter copy in their file.” If these two letters follow my children I will be even more upset. We are still the parents. We are still the responsible parties of our children. The state and the public school are not the parents of my children. If I want to take my kids out for any reason and they are not falling behind then it is my perogative as a parent. If my daughter and son were failing then it would be a different matter.
If the state and school system want to turn people away and lead them to homeschooling which will affect the school’s budget then they should keep sending these types of letters with no other communication to families that have specific reasons like being contagious. Families that don’t have religious convictions will turn away from the public school system just like those of us with religious convictions.
Oh and wait, one more thing. Did the Department of Education or the School District or the Principal think that maybe there could be other solutions like let say……hygeine and sanitary solutions? My kids are obviously getting sick at school. They were not sick all summer. Maybe there needs to be a lock down and a cleaning frenzy of all items in the school. Maybe that would help not just my children from getting sick but other kids too especially if this is the worst winter in 14 years as my doctor says.
Blessed are you families that have chosen to homeschool. I am praying we will be right there with you this upcoming school year if I can contain my anger enough not to pull my children out during this school year!