* "Love seems like the best of all reasons for homeschooling. Not the only reason, of course - there are as many different reasons as there are children to be homeschooled - but the love a parent feels for his children ensures a desire to keep those children from harm's way, to protect and defend them from any perceived dangers, whether physical, emotional, or bureaucratic. The experts might not understand it, and might in fact even disagree, but parents have the right - indeed, they have the responsibility - to intervene when their children need help, protection, or assistance in finding another way."
Learn how to make the best decision for your child.
First, believe that your child has an absolute right to be safe at school. "Parents have the right - indeed, they have the responsibility - to intervene when their children need help, protection, or assistance in finding another way." *
You are your child's primary advocate. That means, if you know or suspect that your child is at risk for physical or emotional harm, do not send your child to school.
Sometimes others, such as your child's physician or state or local health department staff, can help document the problem and validate the risk of harm. Sometimes other parents or school staff will share your observations and fears and act collectively to work for meaningful change.
Unfortunately, in many cases hazards are widely ignored for months or years and complaints and concerns have been repeatedly dismissed. Or false assurances and empty promises to improve conditions mislead you into expecting change and delaying action. However, delay can lead to preventable distress and injury that sabotages your child's education and can lead to life-long health impairments and disability.
So, sometimes you have to act alone.
I am a consultant and advocate who works to make schools safe for children's healthy development. I believe that parents, educators and other adults have the responsibility to protect children from unnecessary illness and disability. I encourage parents to take immediate action to protect and safeguard their children when they believe a school is unsafe.
Is there no school nurse to safely administer prescribed medication?
Do teachers continuously "forget" about your child's life-threatening food allergens? Is your child repeatedly left out of class activities or events?
Is there an abusive teacher or school bully that school officials fail to stop?
Are bad air quality, moldy carpets, pesticides, dust and fumes from renovation or construction activity and other chemical hazards and hazardous practices causing asthma or chronic sinusitus or headaches?
If you believe your child is in harm's way, do not send your child to school. Then, immediately write a letter to the school principal.
Dear Mr. GoodPrincipal,
When I arrived to be the volunteer in my child's science class today, there were strong unpleasant chemical odors in the classroom. I noticed two unsecured compressed gas cylinders leaning in the corner of the room. I also noticed a variety of old leaking and damaged containers in an open chemical storage cabinet. I was alarmed to see flammables, corrosives and explosives sitting next to each other. They can cause fires, explosions and give off toxic fumes and gases. Many containers are unlabeled. I immediately notified the teacher, the school office secretary and the school nurse and took my child home.
As a parent of a child with asthma, I have become educated about triggers of asthma and other environmental hazards. I known it is not safe for my child nor for other children to be in a classroom or a building where these conditions exist. As of (today's date) my daughter, Anita, will not be attending school until these hazards and other hazards in the school are removed and school staff is educated to avoid creating or ignoring such hazards. To ensure that my daughter's education does not suffer, I request that you provide alternative educational services for my child at home or at another community setting.
I look forward to your prompt response.
Yours truly, Ms. Goodmom
Send copies to school administrators, the school board and the parent-teacher association.
Send a copy to your physician, the local and state health and education agencies, and local and state government representatives.
I am a child advocate. I can help you evaluate your children's and families' needs and provide personalized advocacy support and information about a variety of educational resources and options for your child.
You may decide your child needs a temporary time-out (with educational services and supports) to give the school time to correct the problem or you may seek a more permanent solution to an unhealthy, unsafe, or unresponsive school system.