For all of the uptight hand-wringing over how oversharing on the internet is ruining parenting, one mom’s story on Reddit proves just how helpful it can be to have a wider online community to help justify your decision-making as a parent.
jmurphy42 explains her situation in depth in a post on Reddit’s Parenting forum, but basically, her five-year-old daughter is asthmatic and had a cough, so she needed to use an inhaler and spacer at school. The writer and her husband sent their kid to school with her inhaler and clear instructions, but noticed that the inhaler was coming back with indicators showing that only a few of the required doses had been given. She and her husband talked to their daughter’s preschool teachers (one of whom has asthma herself) on a Monday morning and explained the dosage and how to give it to her.
Again, the inhaler came back with too many doses on the indicator. And again the next day, and again the next, after several additional explanations from parents to teachers. Finally, on Thursday, the writer and her husband discover that the assistant teacher had been letting their daughter administer the inhaler to herself, while the teacher was across the room. She writes:
“I immediately let her know that this was not OK. She’s never been taught to do it herself, her pulmonologist has said that he never teaches kids how to self-administer inhalers until they’re past kindergarten, and we’d already made it very clear on multiple occasions that the teachers needed to give her the inhaler. And with a week’s worth of misdosing, how could it possibly have not occurred to her that allowing the kid to self-administer was the issue?”
So, on Friday morning, jmurphy42 and her husband told the principal about their repeated instructions and what had transpired:
“We obviously had to… it’s not safe for our kid (or anyone else’s) to be administering her own medication. They took it very seriously, acted quickly, and the teacher who admitted to doing it is gone. The lead teacher is still in the room, and although both our daughter and the other teacher said she was also having my daughter self-dose, she’s denying it and the principal believes her.”
The situation is mostly resolved, except for how guilty the mother feels about essentially having the assistant teacher fired. Most Redditors, of course, supported her decision and helped to alleviate her guilty feelings by sharing their own personal stories. See, the internet is good!!
I definitely understand the mom’s guilt, but she did the right thing in talking to the principal, both for her daughter’s safety and for that of any other children in the class. The teacher was instructed politely and repeatedly by the parents and she simply not did follow through on clear instructions as to how to take care of this child’s health. This is a serious situation and yes, she should have been fired. It’s nothing as bad as the terrible teacher who made a little boy clean a urinal with his bare hands, but no matter how good this teacher she is or how sorry she felt, her actions are clear grounds for dismissal, in my opinion.
It seems to me that a school nurse is a better choice to help a child administer meds, but maybe this school doesn’t have it in their budget for a nurse. Yes, that creates additional responsibility on the teachers and I’m sure that’s stressful for them, when also trying to teach and supervise a room full of five-year-olds. But, when you’ve been given a job to do, and have then been specifically instructed on how to do that job (several days in a row!) by concerned parents, you have to figure out how to do it. Period. Especially when a child’s health is at stake.