If You Send Your Kid To School Sick, Yes I’m Probably Judging You


We’ve all sent our kids to school “sick” once or twice. We know that kids can have runny noses pretty much 24/7 in the winter, and we all know that a little sniffle doesn’t always warrant a day off from school (and it certainly doesn’t warrant a day off from work)

ALL moms know that kids can fake it. Hard. Especially when they just want to sit on their tablets like zombies and talk you into drinking soda because they don’t feel good.


So, let’s calm down a minute, OK?

That’s not what I mean. Of course we can’t take off work, or rearrange our entire lives every time a kid is sick. If you can do that, then you must be a unicorn mom. But, what we can do is respect other families by not sending our kids to school when they are REALLY sick.

What are the rules for sending your kids to school when they're sick? Surely you can't keep them home for every little cold. Here are some real mom rules for knowing when you should keep your kids home from school. #sickkids #illness #healthy #momlife #parenting

So, here are some fast and furious “Mom Rules” I think we should all abide by not just because they are common sense, but because we also don’t want to be jerks when our kids are sick.

Because, in my opinion, you’re a jerk if you send your kid to school sick, and my kid gets sick.

Which probably means everyone in my entire household is getting sick, too.

If your kid was running a fever within the past 24 hours, don’t send them to school

Even if they are fever-ing while playing fortnite and eating cheese puffs and asking for playdates. Just don’t do it. A fever (in case you don’t know) is actually 100.4. My husband (who works in the medical field reminds me of this often).

However, if my kid is “off” and not wanting to eat or play with friends, and that fever is 99.9, I’m going to keep him home probably anyway. Ya know. To not be a jerk.

If your kid is vomiting or has the poops

For the love, please don’t send your kid to school if he threw up last night and casually mention it to me at school drop off like it’s no big deal. Because, believe me – I will be imagining your child licking my child’s pencils in class today and I will for sure worry about it for at least a week.

If he threw up and you think it was because he just drank too much Gatorade, great. Keep him home anyway. Kids are tricky little creatures, and mine have been known to puke a day, and then take a day off and puke again on the third day.

Wait at LEAST (and I can’t stress at least) 24 hours since the last time they puked before sending them back. And, if he has the poops, I’m sorry, but no one wants to use the same toilet as him at school. Have you seen little kids’ wiping abilities? They’re probably about as good as a monkey wiping his butt.

We have a case of Norovirus that has broken out in a school district in my state. 600 kids called out in ONE DAY from one school district. Stomach bugs spread like wildfire, and no one wants to have the puke bug in their house. I repeat – NO ONE.

If your kid has been on antibiotics for less than 24 hours

Please don’t call twelve hours good, or start them on antibiotics and send them on their way that same morning. Ask your doctor, he’ll for sure tell you the same thing. Those rules are there for a reason. To protect the rest of us. So, don’t be a jerk and send your kids to school until that medicine has had some time to do some work.

What are the rules for sending your kids to school when they're sick? Surely you can't keep them home for every little cold. Here are some real mom rules for knowing when you should keep your kids home from school. #sickkids #illness #healthy #momlife #parenting

If your kid has something CRAZY contagious

Hand, foot, and mouth is so contagious a toddler that has it can look in your direction and your kid will probably get it. OK – not really, but don’t send your kid to school sick with one of those things that spreads like wildfire. Yes, all kids have to go through these types of illnesses at some point, but we don’t want to if we can help it.

Especially the flu. Not the stomach flu, but Influenza. It’s not just a serious illness, it can literally kill children. So, keep your germs away from the rest of us.

Maybe you think the illness is no big deal

Maybe you are one of those super laid back parents that kind of shrug their shoulders when a child projectile vomits on you. Good for you. Really. But, that doesn’t mean the rest of us are so chill.

Even simple childhood illnesses like Strep can cause complications in some kids. Some children are immunocompromised. So something like Norovirus can put them in the hospital for dehydration. And, we all know that the influenza is deadly. And, not just to babies. Children die every year from the flu.

And, before you argue that you work, and can’t just stay home with your sick kids, don’t be so selfish. We don’t expect you to take a day off for the sniffles. But, figure out a way to make it happen when they are legitimately ill.

Not just for the sake of everyone else, but for your own kid too that probably needs a freaking rest.

I’m pretty laid back about the way other people parent. I try to always give the benefit of the doubt when people make different choices than I do, but sending your kids to school when they have one of the issues I mentioned above going on is just a jerk move.

And, yes, if you casually mention your kid puked all over his bed last night, and he’s right there in line waiting to head into the classroom with my kid?

I’m sorry, but I’m probably judging you.

See what our own Meredith Masony has to say about sending your kids to school sick: 

Keep Your Sick Kids Home!

I'm sure I am going to ruffle some feathers, but I don't care. Please keep your sick kids at home. Can I get an AMEN???

Posted by That's Inappropriate on Monday, September 10, 2018


  1. As someone who works in a school, everything you said is in the schools handbook in black and white. And we appreciate those that do keep there kids home. Because we as employees can get sick from them also.

  2. Conjunctivitis is another. We had 13 kids in one class that kept spreading back and forth because the school says as long as they have one does if the drops they can come back. I had my Dr send in a letter stating Conjunctivitis is contagious until the eyes stop draining. Tats at least 2-3 days.

  3. Please can all school districts end their 100% attendance awards too?! Seriously!
    My kids got sick from that ? award winning child! I know some legitimately earn that award and are not ever sick! (My oldest child was like that!). But there are plenty of sick kids doing it. ???????

    • Exactly!!!! The schools put so much emphasis on 100% attendance that they pressure the parents and kids into practically bringing kids to school sick. I was told by my daughter’s old school that I could bring her in and if she still felt sick that the school nurse would determine that!! Like who the hell do they think they are to try and undermine the parent.

  4. As a parent with a child that has a rare disease. Something as simple as a head cold can put her in the hospital. Kids are always in her personal space.

  5. I’m a teacher, I had a sick kid cough IN MY MOUTH while I was talking to her …. guess how I spent a good part of my holidays? It aggravates me that, even knowing their kid had fever, she was sent to school anyway! Several of my students were lethargic and coughing and sniffling in the days before the holidays. They try to get through their day because they have been told to suck it up and go to school. It is sad to watch and you can be sure that the germs are shared and spread. While I can understand that parents are reluctant to take time off to care for their kids when they are sick, it is cruel to be sending them to school miserable and suffering ? Often they will claim they don’t want their child to miss school BUT they will gladly book a week long family vacation during evaluation weeks and say how important it is to get away as a family!!! Blows my mind!

  6. Then when my kids throws up on campus and calls me the office personnel shouldn’t give me dirty looks telling me finals are important ya know.

  7. I blame school attendance policies for this. Requiring hospital documentation for every absence or face truancy letters with threats of legal action. Some parents can’t afford to bring their child to the doctor for every illness. Especially if there are multiple kids. We have good insurance, but still have to pay $35 each visit. If you have 3 kids and they have relapses. You can easily end up spending an extra $210 a month. Just to make sure the school is satisfied they were truly sick enough to be absent. That is why these kids keep being sent to school. Not because parents aren’t willing to care for them! They just can’t afford the documentation to justify it!!!

  8. My son had a sinus infection for 3 weeks, coughing and whatnot. Took him to the doctor, they say it’s a sinus infection – nothing we can do. He was coughing a lot due to sinuses draining in his throat, no fever. I think I kept him home one Friday and sent him back on Monday, but I can’t keep my kid home for 3 weeks because he is coughing. Everyone is coughing at school…teachers included.

  9. I agree with all of this and the comments. But. It’s not always the parents who send them just so they can go to work or don’t want to deal with a sick kid. The schools have a ridiculous attendance policy, and parents are afraid of being hauled into court for excessive absences and/or having CPS called on them for keeping their child home from school. I mean come on do they seriously think that a kid can go a whole school year with only 8 absences? Some kids bounce back better than others, but some kids will end up being sick for 10-14 days straight and sometimes even longer. I Think as long as the parent has a DR note for the child it should be excused. Some schools say it doesn’t matter if you have a Drs note or not it’s not excused. The school does not know said child or their medical history and honestly have no place to go against a child’s Dr who told the parent to keep said child home. And it’s not fair to the teachers, Staff, and students that they get sick because they have to follow the rules that the school board has put in place. Now with that being said I would keep my kid home and if they want to take me to court for having a sick child and following the Drs orders then so be it cause I would get everybody including the news involved. The school systems need to learn their place and let parents be parents and let the child’s Dr decide if the child is well enough to return to school.

  10. My little boy died 7 years ago from pneumonia. Yes, he caught it from your kid. I will never forgive you. Just because your kid being sick kept you from working out at the gym or forfeiting a day’s pay, my little boy is dead. I tell you this because I want you to realize the world does not revolve around you. There are serious consequences of your selfishness. Not to mention sending a child to school when they feel lousy. That also is cruel.

  11. Agreed 10000000000%! I preach this on my social media’s EVERY. SINGLE. DAMN. YEAR!! My 11 year old son is so prone to getting sick for some reason! He’s been checked out & he just doesn’t have the strongest immune system. I use cbd, essential oils& supplements to support it the best I can, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to send your sick contagious child to school! Not just are you compromising everyone else around them, you are being a shit parent to your child! They probably don’t feel like moving, or holding their head up all day or even trying to think! Hell sometimes when I’m sick, my EYELASHES hurt! So do us all a favor, if your child has had diarrhea, a fever, puked, excessively coughed or has something obviously contagious in the last 24 hours, KEEP THEM HOME! Find a sitter, a grandparent, aunt or neighbor to sit for you if you must work, but for the freaking love, KEEP THEM QUARANTINED AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC!

  12. I definitely agree that sick kids should stay home. I have the unfortunate problem of a kid who regularly fakes illnesses and injuries (we investigate every time because we want to give him the care he needs of it’s real). There is NEVER any validation to his claims (no fevers, no actual puke, no mucus…for injuries there’s no bruising, swelling, redness, calls from school (when we are told it happened there and he went to see the nurse), no blood, no scrapes, scars, etc).

    He will actively refuse to eat lunch, dinner, and breakfast and then head to the nurse when he has a headache and feels nauseous before lunch. He has “thrown up” at school without witnesses, no fever, and zero other symptoms which required me to pick him up- he ate lunch at home and was completely healed. If he tells me he threw up at home I make sure he shows me before he flushed or cleans it up. It has always been clear that he spit a lot in the toilet or drank a ton of water and made himself puke in the floor.

    We had to take him home twice in the first trimester this year all because he had been refusing to eat (refusals are power related – didn’t want leftover pizza, nothing was good for breakfast or we offered everything we had and he refused our suggestions, there wasn’t a single option for school lunch he liked, or he lies and says he has eaten and then has all the symptoms of being truly hungry or having zero water the entire day).

    All this to say, we have had to have a conversation with school to explain that he’s often “ill” because he chooses not to eat. They’ve agreed to work with us and if he doesn’t have a fever and no adult has seen him actually throw up or show other legitimate symptoms, he needs to eat something and go back to class. Covid as made this especially difficult. He had to stay home the whole next day since he told the nurse he threw up at school. He had to stay home the entire next day when he complained of a headache after first period. All of these “symptoms” were resolved once he chose to eat something HE wanted at home. It’s frustrating, but I understand where schools are coming from.

  13. Just remember that the next time you send your kid to school sick, you know when they were coming down with something and you didn’t know until they got sick. That happens sometimes.


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