As a treat for making it through the year with 100 percent perfect attendance, JJ’s school presented the 11-year-old with a special treat: an evening at a play center with his friends. However, JJ’s mom, Rachel Wright, refused to let her son accept the award because of the message that it sends.
On her Facebook page, Born at the Right Time, Rachel explained that although she loves it when the school rewards her second boy for hard work, there are four reasons he won’t be receiving his 100 percent Attendance Award:
1. We don’t reward luck.
In this family we will think of as many reasons possible to praise our children. We will celebrate and reward them, but being lucky enough not to get sick is not one of them. He’s lucky to have not developed a fever, had an accident, or live with a chronic illness.
2. 100 percent Attendance Awards can demonize the weakest.
In this family you are not shamed for ill health, vulnerability or weakness. In this house you are not encouraged to spread germs when you are not well. In this house we look after ourselves and the weakest amongst us.
3. He had no control over his 100 percent attendance.
In this family you don’t take praise for something you didn’t do. He had no control over his attendance. I took him to school and it would have been my decision to keep him off. I should get the reward (or not) for his attendance.
4. We are taking him out of school for five days at the end of term.
In this family we value school and work but we also know the importance of making memories and having rest. So our son will finish his school year one week early and go to Italy instead class parties, watching films, and playing end of year games (with permission from school).
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For parents who don’t understand her decision, Rachel asks them to imagine a work environment where absences are publicly marked in front of your colleagues and departments with the least number of workers off are rewarded in front of the others. “Can you imagine what kind of atmosphere that would create with people who had days off because of bereavement, mental health problem or chronic conditions?” she wrote. “What on earth are we teaching our kids about value and worth? What are we teaching them about looking out for each other and looking after the sick or disabled in our community?”
Rachel also shared that her older child is “severely disabled” and that when schools honor kids for their attendance, it’s simply sending the wrong message to other children. “There must be a better way of helping those families and children who don’t go to school for non-genuine reasons,” she wrote. #baby #babyproducts