This letter does not in any way intend to diminish Alysha Noss’ wonderful accomplishment of perfect attendance. I am assuming that Alysha is one of those lucky people who has been blessed with excellent health and I, too, congratulate her on choosing to go to school every day. She recognizes her own responsibilities and the value of a good education. I, too, say “great job Alysha Noss.”
However, I believe the award for perfect attendance sends the wrong message for two reasons.
Firstly, over the years I have had mothers tell me that they pumped their child full of fever-reducing medications and sent them to school when they were sick so they could earn that coveted perfect attendance award. It was no surprise to me when a few days later half the class was out sick. In my opinion it is not right to knowingly send a child sick with a contagious illness to school. (It’s also against school policy).
Secondly, my daughter had cancer. She missed quite a bit of school during the months leading up to her leukemia diagnosis, the two and half years of her treatment, and the several years following while her immune system recovered. Is it her fault that she could not earn the perfect attendance award over those years? I don’t think so.
What we need to do is to recognize students who choose to attend school on every day that their health enables them to attend.