Dear High School Attendance Line
Hello, this is the mother of ***********, a freshman at **HS.
****** will not be coming into school today.
Yesterday he complained of a stomach ache and had no appetite. I felt his forehead and the back of his neck with a brush of my lips, just as I have been doing for him for the past 14 years since he has been on this earth, backed by my overall 21 years of experience I have been a mother thanks to his big brother and sister. My husband declares I have never tested a forehead or back of the neck that was not burning with fever.
But in any case, I think he had a slight fever last night and this morning, indicated by his grogginess, his continued lack of energy and that he …kind of.. threw up this morning.
I am sure the vomiting was more due to his acid reflux than any one of the viruses floating around your high school, but still I am going to keep him home today.
He will return to school tomorrow.
That’s the message I left on my kids high school attendance line this morning.
But it was only half-true.
Want to know what I really wanted to say?
I am keeping my son home because he might be sick. But he has been sicker than this and he’s gone to school.
The real reason I kept him home today is because what happened in a high school in Florida yesterday.
And what happened at a high school in Kentucky last week.
And in schools in New York, Minnesota, Los Angeles and Maryland.
And what happens every 60 hours on average that has become the norm.
Another school shooting.
I am keeping him home because I do not think the fact that you have to get buzzed in and sign in to your school is going to prevent someone with an assault rifle from coming in and shooting up my son’s school.
I am not comforted by the woman who smiles at me as I sign my name into a notebook.
I am not comforted that, yes, you have to get buzzed into the building between the hours of 7 and 2:30 but after that, during after school activities, pretty much anyone can walk in.
I kept him home because politicians bought by 2nd Amendment Rights fanatics the like of the NRA think thoughts and prayers and NOT passing legislation to preserve MY kid’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are part of their job description.
I kept him home because my state, the state of Michigan, has some of the most lax gun controls in the country. Because the state is a popular grounds for hunting, the Michigan law on guns is very lax in regards to rifles and shotguns. A permit is not required to purchase or carry such firearms, and there is no gun license or registration required as well.
I kept him home because it really just seems like it’s only a matter of time before it happens in the town where no one could ever imagine something so horrible happening because nothing ever happens here.
I kept him home because of fear of copycat crimes.
I kept him home because there seems to be no end in sight to this madness of inaction by our government.
I kept him home because my son’s brand new high school, with its corporate open air feel and modular classroom layout, has mostly glass walls and not many places to hide from a shooter.
So, he won’t get the perfect attendance award at graduation.
Today, we made waffles and he read me a few chapters of his Global History textbook. We discussed Locke, Rousseau and the difference between mercantilism and laissez faire economic systems.
He found his homework assignments for the day and submitted them on Google Classroom (I think. I hope.)
And he was fine. Bored, missing his friends a bit, but as it turns out, he was not sick at all.
So, tomorrow, he will be back at school. Even though the kids at the high school in Parkland, Fla. will not. And some of them will never be going back.
And like most parents in America, I will be glad and thankful to see him at the end of the day.