When her son, JJ, came home from school with an award for perfect attendance, you'd think Rachel Wright would be clamoring with delight. But this mom was so displeased with her son's "honor," she even refused to let him accept it.
In a new debate that has been raging online, Wright took to Facebook to explain why she believes that "100 perfect attendance" isn't something to be celebrated.
“In this family, we will think of as many reasons possible to praise our children," Wright said. "We will celebrate and reward them, but being lucky enough not to get sick is not one of them. He's lucky to have not developed a fever, had an accident, or live with a chronic illness,” Rachel said.
In addition to JJ, Wright also has a child with a chronic illness. Perfect attendance, she notes, isn't possible for everyone.
Adding to her argument, Wright contends that the fact that her son makes it to school everyday is a product of her doing, not his.
"In this family, you don't take praise for something you didn't do. He had no control over his attendance. I took him to school and it would have been my decision to keep him off. I should get the reward (or not) for his attendance," she shared.
Some teachers fully support Wright's point of view.
“Until attendance is removed as a measure of a school's success, as a teacher, I will be expected to promote attendance incentives, alienating some of our most vulnerable students,” commented one teacher.
Other teachers, who are also parents, are torn over the issue.
“I’m a teacher and mother to a school-avoidant autistic child,” said one commenter. "I see it from both sides. It's a huge part of the criteria, and schools are under immense strain to tick boxes, but as a parent, it’s heart breaking when my son thinks it's his fault when his class doesn't win the attendance award.”
In her post that has now gone viral, Rachel further articulated her point:
"I know it's a response by school to a government target," she shared. "I even understand the reasoning behind the target. I think there has to be a better way. And I'm concerned that what seems like an innocent reward perpetuates values that I don't want my kids to have. I want them to respect the need to go to school—to respect authority and recognize when it is right it is challenged in a respectful way."
So, where do you stand on the issue?
h/t Now to Love