Losing at Germ Roulette

We didn’t even make it through the first two weeks of school, and both of the Heathens are already sick. Much to my dismay, they woke up yesterday with fever and a case of the sniffles. Oh joy. Even the fact that they looked and felt like death warmed over could not erase the glee in their eyes when Dad proclaimed them too sick to go to school.

You want to know a secret? I don’t think schools should be allowed to give “perfect attendance” awards. I know truancy is a problem, but I seriously doubt that the prospect of an attendance award will motivate truants to change their absentee ways. School awards should be about rewarding behavior that is within a child’s control, like grades, conduct or school service. Whether or not a kid gets sick is certainly not within his or her control. And, last time I checked, most schools even have sick policies that require parents to keep their kids home in cases of fever, vomiting, or other clearly contagious illnesses. This means that, even if a sick child had a burning urge to work toward said award, they still couldn’t tough it out in the classroom with their 103 degree fever.

What message is there in a perfect attendance award? “Hey, lucky duck, you scored in the germ lottery?” Better yet, what message are we sending to the kids who don’t get the award? “Sorry kiddo, but you came up short by contracting that swine flu…better luck next semester?” I can tell you from experience, when a kid in the Heathens’ class accepts a perfect attendance award at the honor assembly, all the other moms are muttering under their breath, “so that’s who keeps getting everyone sick!” They all know who the class Petri dishes are.

In the meantime, I’m happy to keep my germy little Heathens home until they are well…even if it means they’ll miss out on the most pointless award ever. I’ll just make up something even more pointless. Something that at least has a modicum of productivity behind it.

I think “Best Baseboard Duster” sounds pretty good to me.

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