Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Why teachers take so many sick days

As the school nurse at a Baltimore County elementary school, I read Dan Rodricks recent column on sick days with some agreement and much outrage ("This looks a lot like playing hooky," Nov. 13).

Mr. Rodricks seems have forgotten that many educators are women and that at least some of the 35 percent of teachers who took 10 or more sick days during the 2009-2010 school year may have been on maternity leave.

There are also many instances of faculty having to have surgery that cannot be delayed, taking sick days to care for elderly relatives or children, and being sick themselves.

Moreover, consider how many teachers may also be single parents who do not have a support system to share the burden of child-rearing. Mr. Rodricks should be able to understand how this can occur.

I can personally attest to having seen teachers coming to school sick and having to send them home because they were contagious. School staff work in the midst of the biggest pool of communicable germs around, and we are exposed to them day after day, year after year.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've called parents at work to ask that they come pick up a child who was sent to school sick — and then have to fax a note to the parent's boss before they are allowed to leave work.

In the meanwhile, the sick child has been on a crowded bus and in the classroom and has spread their illness to several dozen others.

What would help with the problem of the "overuse" of sick time? Allowing all workers at every pay level to have personal and family sick days so that sick children don't have to come to school.

It's unfair to put all the blame on educators. Spread it out to include the employers and companies that make many of us choose our paycheck over the health of our families.

Jill S. McGuirk

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Good reasons for teacher 'hooky'

    As the husband of a teacher and brother-in-law of two other teachers, I have to say Dan Rodricks' recent column ("This looks a lot like playing hooky," Nov. 13) about teacher absences is missing a big chunk of the story. The fact is the only time off teachers have available to them during the...

  • Pot is no harmless drug

    In response to the recent letter from Stan White of Dillon, Colo. ("Fight heroin by legalizing pot," March 3), I would point out that the disease of addiction is not drug-specific. I do agree with him that people who buy weed "on the streets" have a better than average opportunity to find...

  • The lessons of Ferguson

    The Justice Department on Wednesday released a devastating critique of police and city officials in Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by an officer last year. Though the department did not find cause to bring a civil rights indictment against the officer who killed...

  • Who do the Democrats think they're fooling?
    Who do the Democrats think they're fooling?

    I am disappointed but not surprised by the furor over whether to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security ("Congress OKs deal to avoid shutdown at Homeland Security," Feb. 27).

  • The stigma of suicide for those nearing the end of life

    If the proposed physician assisted suicide legislation were referred to instead as "physician assisted end of life," perhaps the stigma attached would be more palatable ("Dying former official a focus of Maryland assisted suicide bill," Feb. 14).

  • Protecting the bay is a shared responsibility
    Protecting the bay is a shared responsibility

    I don't claim to know the details of Maryland's so-called "rain tax," but I do believe that improving the Chesapeake Bay is a responsibility all of us share ("Senators hear bid to repeal law requiring stormwater fees," March 3).

  • Don't allow Netanyahu to talk us into war
    Don't allow Netanyahu to talk us into war

    As an American, I'm outraged any foreign leader would come here and tell us what to do. By turning Washington into a "campaign stump," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was offensive ("Netanyahu's speech," March 4). This is the United States of America, and we don't like being pushed...

  • Repeal ACA — and get single payer
    Repeal ACA — and get single payer

    Conservatives better hope Obamacare is not repealed ("Supreme Court takes up major fight with Obamacare subsidies," March 4) because if it is, we will be taking a giant step toward the (preferable, inevitable and much simpler and business friendly) Single Payer System!

Comments
Loading