The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Shiner's Are In Town

Could somebody get me a steak for my kid's eye?

No, no, I didn't pop her.

She, according to all accounts, tripped over a chair in her classroom and hit her eye on the desk.

Now, I'm not going to linger on how close she came to the proverbial "putting out" of her eye. Though, I will say that about a quarter of an inch would have done it. Instead, I will linger on the failure, yet again, of the adults charged with caring for her in my stead.

When I picked up [Kid 3] after I got out of work, the YMCA counselor met me at the door. She wanted to make it abundantly clear that what I was about to see hadn't happened under HER watch.

Oh, great. These things are never good.

So, we walk in together and I see my kid and her left eye is all swollen up and has a cut on the eyelid and it's red and purple. I look at my watch and realize that it's 6PM and no school personnel will still be there. But tomorrow morning, SOMEbody has some 'splaining to do.

The YMCA staff had put ice on the eye and some neosporin on the cut. [Kid 3] had reported to them that she'd tripped. But I'd gotten no phone call from the school. No note from her teacher. No nothing, until I'd shown up, some four hours after she'd been hurt.

I asked [Kid 3] if she'd told her teacher that she'd fallen. Hey, I'm trying to give the woman the benefit of the doubt. She's got 25 kids to keep up with, maybe she didn't see it happen and my kid didn't tell her. Can't blame her for that.

But, no. [Kid 3] reported that she had told the teacher and that teacher told her to "put her head down on her desk".

Now, my kid took a blow to the head and her teacher tells her to lay down. I'm pretty sure basic first aid (which I'd like to think teachers would HAVE to have) would make it clear that you don't let someone nap who has just had a head injury. (Isn't that common knowledge for possible concussions?) Her eye wasn't checked at all.

So, those of you who know me, probably have a clue about how upset I was.

I'd decided I would "drop in" on the teacher and the school staff the next day. I really didn't think I could express myself adequately on the telephone. You know what I mean? My plan was to stop by just after lunch, chat with the appropriate individuals about what I felt were reasonable expectations regarding the care and safety of my child and appropriate notifications to me, but it didn't work out quite that way.

You see, school starts (for the younger kids) at 9:05AM around here. I got a call at work the next morning at 9:12AM. It was the teacher. She had "no idea". She was "so sorry". She "should have checked her". Uh huh. As soon as [Kid 3] got to class, her teacher asked what happened to her eye (likely doing the preliminary investigative work for a social services call), and was told that it had happened when she fell in class the day before.

Now, the swelling wouldn't have been evident immediately, but there was a cut. A good sized cut. How did she miss that? "Um...I didn't look at her eye. It looked like she hit her shoulder." Yep. She actually saw the fall and still didn't do anything. ::sigh::

I understand that every parent wants their child to get the most attention, and I suppose I'm no different there. But, honestly, I just want my child to get enough basic attention, not to be injured. And, if an accident happens and she DOES get injured, I want someone's sorry ass to call me and let me know and I want her to get the appropriate medical attention. No matter how many other kids are in the room when it happens.

And I don't think that's too much to ask. Even from a public school teacher.

Because I wasn't giving her much slack, she asked if I'd like the principal to call me. I told her I thought that might be a good idea. And so, when my phone rang two minutes later, it didn't come as much of a surprise that the principal was grovelling, too.

"Oh, we're so sorry we didn't pay any attention to your kid when she got hurt, but her teacher is just the cat's ass." "Oh, yes, I did see her eye and it does look pretty bad and I can't really say why it was missed and we want you to know that it won't EVER happen again."

Damn straight. Because those people know that this is a mistake that better not happen again. I have no doubt I'll get phone calls in the future, and she'll get medical attention when she needs it. Those are REASONABLE expectations and I shouldn't HAVE to think of it as special treatment. Know why? Because it's not. I'd like to think that EVERY kid in this school system is treated that way.

As it was, I didn't have to make a trip over. I was able to take care of the matter, fully, over the phone.

And, btw,[Kid 3] is sporting something that looks quite a bit like yellowish green eye shadow on her left eye. But my kids have always been a little funky.


Blogger MJ Norton said...

Ah, the joys of being a parent.

As you said, it should be common knowledge, and especially for anyone in charge of multiple, active charges, that any head injury is not to be treated with "take a nap." Unless you really don't like the kid or your job, that is.

This happened back during school hours? I'm stunned that the teacher didn't do what I would have thought any teacher would have: send the kid to the nurse's office. The teacher must have been either terribly distracted by other matters or... I don't know what.

No permanent damage done, but there's no avoiding the thought of how much a roll of the dice that was. Again, the joys of being a parent.

So many flip comments to make, so little time... Among them:

a) Sorry, I just cubed a steak and put it in a pot of chili.

b) If she'd just done this a little over a week earlier she could have gone out for Halloween as a prize fighter or someone from a trailer park.

...and my favorite:

c)I thought Neosporin was for dog bites..?

11/09/2006 8:18 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Wow, Mike. You still have nurse's offices in your public schools? I'm very envious. They were cut out of our school's budget (across the board as far as I know) many years ago. One more job to dump on the teacher's who aren't (and shouldn't have to be) qualified to provide those services. Let's hope our local elections will help get education funds back somewhere in the top 10.

The incident was more an aggravation than anything else, as you note, no permanent damage was done. Just more crap (that was completely avoidable) that has to be dealt with. The joys of parenthood, indeed.

Loved the comments. Especially the last one...;)

11/10/2006 7:47 AM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

I'm stunned. They actually took basic medical care out of your school system?! Yeesh. That's insane. Are the school boards down there bereft of parents? That's what happens when one starts listening to people who say "it's too expensive" or "it won't work in this day and age." Matters slide to hell as we all become line items with tiny budgets attached.

All of which is to say that yes, all of our schools up here (to the best of my knowledge) have at least a nominal nurse's office. I cannot make any claims as to how honorary the "nurse" title is in each instance, but there should be one person in each school building with at least some basic medical training and a little Mom Sense whose central job is to do basic evaluations for medical complaints and decide who needs to just have a little lie-down, who needs to be watched for a little while, and who needs to have his or her parent called and be taken home early. To judge that that's too large a cost and try to hand that off to teachers is ludicrous.

11/10/2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

My experience, with three kids now, is that injuries or illnesses are normally reported by teachers to the office (generally by way of sending the affected child to the office with a note, unless more help may be necessary), and the school secretary contacts the parents. No medical personnel are on site and no medical treatment is rendered by untrained school personnel. My experience has been that I've been called for things as minor as a stomach ache. (There just isn't 'room' in the school office for sick kids to start piling up.)

Ludicrous? Oh yeah. I remember getting my smallpox vaccination from a school nurse. The thought of kids getting booster shots at schools around here now...beyond pipedream.

The school budget is so sub-standard that all areas are hurting. The pay scale of teachers is one of the lowest in the country. Which is one reason why we have so many unqualified people teaching here. Ironic how many public school teachers here have their own children in private schools. I wish I could afford to do that.

11/10/2006 11:17 AM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

What? You dare balk at the miracle of the Free Market System? (::cue angelic choir::) Don't you know that this will be What Saves Us All?

Every man for himself!


11/10/2006 4:53 PM  
Blogger Tony Collett said...

While I remember getting some booster (apparently came in on the tail end of them leaving a scar on the upper arm) at school, Kathy and I went to the same school system, and none of our schools had a nurse.
Not only that, but it seems the education in general is sub-standard, just enough to barely squeak by. I think if you ask our little group of bloggers, it's likely we'd say that our political consciousness and thought processes were not developed within the academic institution, but with our own interests to learn that school played no role in.

11/11/2006 5:21 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Wow!We had one in both the primary and high schools when I was growing up, here in PA and the same's been the case with my kids. Even when we were still living back in Croydon and dealing with the badly under-funded Bristol school system they had a nurse's office.

I find myself feeling the most sympathy for the teachers down there.

11/11/2006 11:49 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

My school daze came replete with visits to the nurse's office for various minor and semi-major illnesses and injuries. No vaccinations from mine, but I do recollect scoliosis exams, hearing tests, temperatures taken (Orally thank God!), and in one instance, coming to on the cot after getting knocked out by being shoved into the gym teacher's door frame by a noted local miscreant.

A school without a school nurse? WTF are they smoking down there?

11/13/2006 12:54 PM  
Anonymous L.C. said...

Ha! This post reminded me of the shiner my daughter got when she was about 10 and my son was 5. He threw a golf ball at the ceiling and it bounced off and hit her square in the eye. Much to my horror, when people asked her about her black eye, she would say "my little brother did it."

Hope you have a great weekend : )

11/17/2006 8:47 AM  

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