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The next 21 days...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Last night we got a note from my children's school saying there were three (vaccinated) children that had come down with the chicken pox.  I (maybe not so) secretly thought "YAY! Maybe my children will catch it and we'll finally have some chance of natural immunity!"  I knew that the chances were slim as it is a huge school of 640 students and only three were infected but I had hope.

 

Fast forward to this afternoon.  I got a call from the school nurse saying I had to come and pick up all three of my sons because the County Board of Health mandated that they be out of school for the next 21 days because of the outbreak.  Okay, I was kind of expecting this but it was still a little shocking.  What really shocks me is that after talking to the school nurse, the vice principal and the principal, none of them know whether or not my children will be considered truant.  The nurse did tell me that their absences will not be excused, even though it is not my choice to have them gone.

 

The nurse was "nice" enough to quite forcefully "offer" me information on where I could have my children vaccinated so they could return to school by next Tuesday (no school Friday or Monday due to inservice).  I told her that our religious views (the reason we do not vaccinate) were unlikely to change by then, but thank you for the offer.

 

I also found out that one of the three infected students was in my middle son's class so we actually have a better chance of catching this.  I figure if we're going to be home for 21 days, we might as well be poxy.

post #2 of 12
Sorry for your situation! It's one I worry about myself with two unvaccinated kids.
How can the absences not be excused, though?! That is absolutely absurd! His "absences" have been mandated by the health department! I can't imagine that is legal.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I just got a call from the vice principal and she said that they've been making calls all over the district and nobody knows the answer to the "truancy problem."  I guess the truancy officer was actually there and heard me talking to the principal today and doesn't even know the answer.  They said they were trying to find ways for my children to continue their education "whether that be at home or at another school for the the 21 days."  Um... if my children are possible carriers of chicken pox, why on earth would they send them to infect another school?  Good thing I have the good sense to keep them home and hope for the pox.  I talked to the school nurse today and asked for a statement from the school saying that they weren't allowing my children to attend school.  She said she would email it to me.  Guess what never showed up?  So on Tuesday when I go to pick up assignments for the boys, I will stop by her office to collect said statement.  If I have to I will stand there while she prepares it.  I will not be left without documentation.  I've talked to NVIC and they said that the these absences should NOT be considered unexcused (of course!) and gave me the number for an attorney.  I don't really have the money for a consultation but I guess I'll have to figure out a way to do it if nothing gets worked out.

post #4 of 12

I would insist they let my children go to school and sign whatever waiver needed stating that I'm okay with them being exposed.

post #5 of 12

How easy is it to homeschool where you live?

 

If it is easy to homeschool, and I could not get the whole "truancy issue" sort out, I would unenroll them then enrol them in 21 days.

 

It seems ludicrous, but then so is the position you are in.

 

It may be possible to go a cyber school route through your school, hence your kids will not be truant even if they are not there.

 

K is not mandatory in almost all places - hence the 5 year old should not be considered truant.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

It is ridiculously easy to homeschool here from what I've heard so I'll keep that in mind as an option. I think all I'd have to do is pull them from school and declare my intent to homeschool as an unaccredited private school.  I really hope it doesn't come to that though.  I hope it doesn't come to any struggle and they just let my boys be absent, excused (since it is THEIR idea) and then be done with all of this.  Heck, in a perfect, perfect world my boys would catch the pox and when they returned to school they'd still have their perfect attendance intact but I know that last part will never happen LOL.  Hey, a mama can dream, right?

post #7 of 12

They consider 3 cases of pox an "outbreak"???  that is laughable.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well, you know when 3 / 640 of your students have this terrible disease it is cause for panic.

 

[/sarcasm]

 

I have emailed with an exemption lawyer.  He doesn't happen to be in my state so he can't counsel me on state laws but as a federal matter, this is of course unconstitutional as we do not vaccinate for religious reasons.  I let the vice principal know that I was consulting with a lawyer so the school knows that I am arming myself with information and not laying down and just taking this.  There is no school until Tuesday so until then I just get to sit at home and relax with my kiddos unless somebody from the school calls me.

 

Oh, I also have to say that NVIC has been a GREAT resource through all of this.  If you don't support them already... DO!  Even if you just sign up for the newsletter.  They are kind and full of support and information.  The woman I talked to helped me to smile when I was so stressed out.  They are wonderful!

post #9 of 12

This may be OT, but why does it matter if your kids are "truants" for 21 days? Would employers, colleges etc actually care - or even know - that they missed school for three weeks when they were 9, 7 and 5? Surely a fair number of parents pull their kids out that long to go on trips to Europe, or whatever?

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyBear View Post

He doesn't happen to be in my state so he can't counsel me on state laws but as a federal matter, this is of course unconstitutional as we do not vaccinate for religious reasons.

 

Between Zucht v. King (260 U.S. 174) and Prince v. Massachusetts (321 U.S. 158), this doesn't seem like a constitutional slam-dunk. The interesting question would be whether they're excluding those with medical exemptions (if any); if not, it would look to be a whole lot more clear-cut.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

This may be OT, but why does it matter if your kids are "truants" for 21 days? Would employers, colleges etc actually care - or even know - that they missed school for three weeks when they were 9, 7 and 5? Surely a fair number of parents pull their kids out that long to go on trips to Europe, or whatever?



It is an issue because truancy can lean to CPS involvement and could in the very worst case scenario lead to my children being taken from me for not being in school when then "should" be.  Luckily the school has decided that the absences will be excused, even though I got a call today about my children all being unexcused.  I'm not so sure of the school handling this the right way so I'll be on top of it until March 10 when they can return to school.  I did hear today that more and more vaccinated children keep popping up with chicken pox and all I could do was shake my head and laugh.

 

I had an interesting conversation about vaccinations with the office staff while I was at the school yesterday picking up homework.  Some of these poor women kept spouting off things like "well I haven't researched it but I've seen the commercials on TV..." (specifically about the HPV vaccine) and I wanted to shake them and make them realize how important it is to actually read and learn for themselves.  But I couldn't and just had to use kind words to convey my outrage about how I feel about things.  The good news is that most of them listened and jotted down some websites and seemed to want to know more about what goes into their children's bodies so maybe I did some good.  I hope.

post #12 of 12

The main reason the OP needs to make sure these days are excused is because too many unexcused absences can lead to a child having to repeat a grade. The state I teach in recently reduced the number of absences (both excused and unexcused) to 5 a semester. If a child has something like the CP, the parent must get an extenuating medical excuse form. It has led to so many kids coming to school sick! I wish the people who made these laws actually had to teach in a classroom.

 

Anyway, I encourage the OP to make sure that the absences are excused. In my school, there is only a three day window for the attendance clerk to change an absence from not-excused to excused. I know things are different all over, but many laws on school attendance are changing as states try and compete for federal education money. These things are starting at the top; believe me, none of the disctricts or teachers like it.

 

As a side note: before I read they were going to excuse them, I was going to say I would be shocked if they didn't. I had a student in jail for two weeks and THAT was an excused absence.

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