Tuesday, September 08, 2009

WWSD

So, the first confirmed H1N1 death in Shelby County occurred yesterday, and the victim was an eighth grader from my child's middle school. Calvin is only in sixth grade and they didn't know each other, but I'm sure the sadness of a death this close to home is disturbing to him. We've talked to him a little about it, and he seems to be handling it well. He's focusing on the precautions he's been told to take, like frequent hand washing. For an anxiety-prone kid, he's doing great.

I, on the other hand, am pretty pissed off. I feel so heartbroken for this family and can't imagine what they must be experiencing right now. But also? I want and expect the issue to be addressed when a student from my child's school dies of an infectious and easily spread disease. Not a letter, not an email, not a pre-recorded phone call. Zilch. We've gotten the district's two preemptive form letters about the plan for staying healthy and preventing an epidemic, but nothing today about this specific case. I'm probably the least paranoid person I know, but come on! I don't think official acknowledgment of a child's death and parental concerns is too much to ask. Should I send irate emails, sit tight, what? What would you do?

I guess they were too busy warning parents that the President of the United States was working up the audacity to address the nation's school children about the value of education and hard work. Clearly, priorities are all in order here.

10 comments:

Stephanie said...

Oh, they would hear from me. I tend to make my feelings known with a teacher or other school administrators. But then, I'm kind of a nightmare.

All Adither said...

Oh my. I'd call them up too. That's huge. They should address it.

Mrs. Katherine said...

Stock up on hand sanitizer, then call! There might be some other parent out there who has no clue that this happened at their child's school.

Greta Hauberg said...

Seriously? (and they wonder why kids have no respect these days) The school should be setting an example of how to effectively communicate as well as how to deal with such a tragedy. Someone needs to kick them in the a$$!

Smiling Shelly said...

I believe a strongly worded letter is in order.

Lori Brown said...

I feel the same Kristy. Bennett is in 8th grade there and did know this boy. He was his friend on facebook. I can't believe the princ. has not sent out an email or a letter. To be honest, the communication before this incident sucked as well. Last year, we were much better informed. I think something is going on over there- not sure if it's just disorganized because of the new princ.... or what. But it seems crazy they have not acknowledged it w/ parents. Lets get together and write a letter.

Sassy Molassy said...

How does this email look?

"As the parent of a new sixth grader at WSM, I was shocked when my son came home yesterday with no communication from you or the school board about the student who died of H1N1 this weekend. While I am not in a panic about the spread of this flu, I think it only natural to be concerned and to want to be kept informed about the spread of this illness at the school. You must be aware that comments on the CA website state that at least three other cases have been confirmed in the school, and that more students and teachers are becoming ill. Again, I realize that is not a reliable source, but for you to ignore the buzz around this seems not only unwise, but inconsiderate of parents' concern for their children's safety and well-being.

There is also the emotional aspect of the child's death, which is upsetting and anxiety provoking even for those who did not know him personally. For many of these children, this is likely to be their first experience with the death of a peer. I appreciate the teachers' attempts to address this in class, but without specific training in dealing with these kinds of issues, some of them seem to have tried to make it "better" by telling the students even sadder and more upsetting stories.

I am very disappointed with the way this has been handled, but I trust that a more appropriate response will be forthcoming.

Sincerely,
[Sassy]

Melissa said...

Eloquent and effective.

I'm so sad for that family.

Rita.the.bookworm said...

That is a very good letter. I'm really sad for that family, too.

Mel Spillman artwork said...

I would be saying something for sure!
As an 8th grade MCS teacher, this story is very close to my heart. My students are deeply concerned and sad about the young man's death. I cannot imagine how the students, parents and teachers at White Station Middle must feel. Everyone at WSM deserves some sort of confirmation by addressing the situation and sharing thoughts with the school community.