"Tears and anger both flowed for me at school today"
Times have changed and people are heading off to the office more than ever. With the cost of living becoming increasingly inflated decade after decade, it’s less and less likely to have a stay-at-home parent in a family. When a child becomes ill, keeping them at home can be a challenge if a parent just can’t take the time off of work.
Maria Jordan MacKeigan’s daughter Jordan Grace has Downs syndrome — she has a low immune system and is susceptible to infection. If Jordan interacts with someone with even a mild cold, it could turn into something far more serious for her. That’s why Maria wants parents to figure out how to keep their sick kids out of school in an effort to protect her own daughter.
Maria posted a picture of her daughter in a hospital bed on Instagram, and said that she couldn’t understand why parents choose to put her daughter and other children at risk by taking their sick child to school “because they have so many things to do.”
She wrote, “Not only are others at risk but your own child needs you to cuddle them, to love them, to care for them back to health. When Jordan Grace is sick, I think of her first, and how miserable she would be at school. How she needs her mama by her side caring for her.”
Maria emphasized that the seemingly selfish behavior on the part of the parents wasn’t just rude, it’s irresponsible and even dangerous. She continued, “I don’t want my child to go get others sick” and urged parents to think of “those [kids] who may end up in the hospital because their little bodies can’t fight the sickness off on their own.”
Angry comments rolled in from parents who said that they really have no option in this case. If both parents are working during the day, they may not be able to take time off or work at home to care for their sick child. Perhaps paying for a babysitter isn’t an option for them either. If the sickness is mild, they don’t see a reason to take a chance at losing their jobs.
Working Mother conducted a survey of 625 working mothers and concluded that one-third of the respondents sent their sick child to school or daycare knowing they were sick because they couldn’t take off of work. Further, 70% of them felt guilty about the possibility of their child infecting others, but didn’t believe there was another option.
Maria twice clarified her post, saying, “If you read my post carefully and without judgement, I specify this frustration was towards a parent who doesn’t work, but ‘has things to do’ and used the school system as the babysitting club!”
Laws for Parents
A study conducted by researchers from Harvard and McGill Universities found that 163 countries had guaranteed paid sick leave for parents in case their children became ill. The U.S.A. is not among them.
McGill University Institute for Health and Social Policy’s founding director Dr. Jody Heymann stated, “Not only does the U.S. lag behind almost every developed nation when it comes to flexible leave policies and other family supports, it ranks well below many low- and middle-income countries too. No one should have to choose between their child and their livelihood.”
Wendi Jacob of Lil’s Critters Child Care in Oregon told the story of a sick child at her daycare that needed to go home so she called the parents. The father was reluctant to leave his brand new job, and the mother was told that she would be docked pay for leaving. The mother forced herself to vomit in front of her coworkers so that she would be told to go home for the day.
Maria ended her speech by saying, “If we cared more about the world around us and not just ourselves this world would be a much better place!” That’s true, and having legislation in place to help employed parents in this situation would be game-changing.
What do you think about parents dropping off sick kids at school? Are you in favor of more leniency with time off for parents? Let us know in the comments and SHARE this story!