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to think a school should be able to look after a child for over an hour?

(632 Posts)
pingu2209 Tue 24-May-11 22:47:43

More of a "is my friend being unreasonable" or the school?

A mum friend of mine has a career job but can't afford a nanny. A nanny would cost all of her salary. She uses the before and after school club. She works 1 hour away and her husband works 1 1/2 hours away from school. She was phoned up and asked to come and collect her son as he had a temperature and a rash.

She said, "okay I will be there in about 1 1/4 hours." The school office said, "well we need you here asap, can you get someone to come in the next 10 mins?"

My friend said, "no, I don't have any family living near by and I am uncomfortable asking a friend to pick up my son who is ill and may be contagious."

The school said to her, "you need to have an emergency contact who can get here in under 10 mins."

She replied, "well that would be great in an ideal world, but we are not from here and have no family. A friend would pick up if I was running late, but as all my friends here have children, I can't ask them to pick up my son who is ill. I am just over an hour away but the longer I am on the phone to you the longer I will be. I need to make a couple of calls to cancel meetings etc. I can't just run out, I need about 15 mins just to close up my desk etc."

I understand that a school is there to educate our children, it is not childcare or a 'sick room'. However, surely they need to understand that if both parents are working and they don't have a nanny, one of them will be along as soon as possible.

Who is being unreasonable?

HidinginaHardHat Tue 24-May-11 22:48:53

The school

thisisyesterday Tue 24-May-11 22:49:48

hmmm tough one!

i think it's a good idea to have someone nearby who can get a child, but equally I realise that that isn't always going to be possible and the school will just have to suck it up.

i think your friend is being a little bit unreasonable to not as a friend to pick him up though, i am sure they wouoldn't mind

squeakytoy Tue 24-May-11 22:50:31

I thought all schools would have a sick room to cope with these sort of emergencies. It isnt unreasonable for a parent to have to take an hour to get to the school at short notice like that.

Ruprekt Tue 24-May-11 22:50:31

oooh tricky one

I think in an ideal world a closer person would be better but I would be in the same boat!

No family near by at all. School friends with kids but would not want to take an ill child.

What did they do in the 'olden days' when we didnt have mobile phones and could not contact parents?

Have no ideal solution for this moral dilemma. grin

HRHShoesytwoesy Tue 24-May-11 22:50:49

your friend.
it is not the schools job to look after her son if he is ill.

captainbarnacle Tue 24-May-11 22:51:49

Even if she could ask a friend to pick up her child, she couldn't guarrantee a pick up in 10 mins! She'd have to phone the friend, get through to them, ask them nicely, have them be immediately available and close to the school....

Ridiculous. I live 1 mile from school but during the day will often be a half hour;s drive. And I'm a SAHM.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 24-May-11 22:52:39

You would think that there are plently of working parents more than 10 minutes away. If DD is sick then DH works 90 mins away, I'm closer but can not leave work to get her, unless she is at death's door in a&e. School would have to wait.

pingu2209 Tue 24-May-11 22:53:45

yesterday - I would have been the friend who did the picking up - I wouldn't have been happy to pick up an ill child who may have god knows what wrong with him! A temperature and rash - could have been meningitis (wasn't though). There are some things I would pick up for - just a temperature. But some are a total no no - sickness, rash etc.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 24-May-11 22:53:46

No, its not the school's job to look after an ill child. But it is the school's job to look afetr that ill child until either the parent can pick the kid up or someone that the parent is happy to have the kid can pick it up.

thisisyesterday Tue 24-May-11 22:54:48

realy? that's a bit mean!

i'd pick up a poorly child from school whatever they had.

just call me Theresa

HidinginaHardHat Tue 24-May-11 22:56:14

No one can get to school within 10 minutes in reality you could be anywhere, what are you supposed to do, stay home from 8:50 to 2:50 just in case?

I remember clearly being sat outside the school office ill for an entire afternoon as a kid because my parents couldn't get out of work. Whatever happened to looking after the children?

cat64 Tue 24-May-11 22:57:35

Message withdrawn

TotalChaos Tue 24-May-11 22:57:44

school is being unreasonable expecting a ten minute pickup. People could easily live 20 minute walk away for starters!

LoopyLoopsBettyBoops Tue 24-May-11 22:57:44

The reason the school has this 10 minute policy, and the reason they wanted to use it, was exactly the reason you say - it could well have been meningitis. The child needed immediate medical care. 90 minutes waiting in the school office isn't good enough.

Your friend was being unreasonable. She should have at least tried to get someone to pick him up.

pingu2209 Tue 24-May-11 22:58:18

HRH - what do you think my friend should have done? I would have said no. She can't magic herself there. She works just over an hour away.

I am also a SAHM and I often go visit my mum who is 1hr 20mins away. If they school said one of mine were ill I would hot foot it back home but I would be over an hour even if I broke the speed limit the whole way.

In fact they school did once phone me to say they were closing early (snow) and I was out without my mobile phone (I had left it on charge) so I missed the calls and the school was furious that they couldn't get ahold of me.

GwendolineMaryLacey Tue 24-May-11 22:58:57

I remember lying on the bed in the medical room waiting for my mum to come and get me. I don't understand why doing what makes sense is such a big hassle for schools these days. We never had teaching assistants etc. Teachers taught 30 kids at once. What has changed? It wasn't that long ago!

<old gimmer>

piprabbit Tue 24-May-11 22:58:59

I'm a SAHM who lives within a few hundred metres of the school.

It would still take me more than 10mins to get from home to the school (find bags, get DS ready to leave house, drive to school (assuming DD is to ill to walk home) etc.).

And what if I'm out and about somewhere - shopping at the local supermarket, taking DS to one of his activities etc. They are all further away than 10 mins.


HidinginaHardHat Tue 24-May-11 22:59:08

The school has the capacity to call 999 if they are that worried, they are also in loco parentis (is that the phrase? in charge of the children in the parents absence so assume parental responsibility) meaning if that child needs medical care urgently they have to provide it.

SybilBeddows Tue 24-May-11 23:00:12

school is being unreasonable.

I have friends in my village who would no doubt drop anything to get to my child in an ACTUAL emergency, like if dh and I have both been rushed to hospital, but I wouldn't expect them to drop everything and rush to school just because a child is unwell.

MumblingRagDoll Tue 24-May-11 23:00:21

If the shool was THAT concerned then casualty should have been their next port of call. They were BU.

betterwhenthesunshines Tue 24-May-11 23:00:26

if the chils is so ill they need to be collected within 10 mins, then the school should be calling an ambulance shouldn't they?! Even an ambulance can take 14minutes...

VivaLeBeaver Tue 24-May-11 23:00:39

If the school thought a child needed immediate medical care I would expect them to call an ambulance/whatever they saw fit. They're in loco parentis and do have an obligation to fulfill in this respect. They can't do nothing and just wait for the parents if they suspect something serious/meningitis.

Rosebud05 Tue 24-May-11 23:00:47

It's fair enough for the school to ask parents to provide a very close contact if at all possible but obviously not realistic for them to insist.

Very stressful for your friend, though.

Punkatheart Tue 24-May-11 23:01:40

Let me show you the other side of the argument:

I ran a brownie pack and one evening it was clear that one little girl was ill. She vomited twice on the floor and then had a bad stomach. We called the mother who said she was in the bath. She was in no hurry to get there, even though it took two of us to clean up all the mess and also to look after the other children. Mother came to us ten minutes before the end of brownies and told us that her girl 'didn't look that bad.'

I know this is not the scenario of your friend but it is a tricky one. There should really be an emergency contact arranged.

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