Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mean Nurse Situation

I've never self-identified as a helicopter parent. Plus I'm often too swamped in life's daily commitments to hover around my grade schooler long enough to micromanage his school life. Then there was a "situation" with my kid's school nurse and I was hovering to the max.

My kid came home crying explaining how the school nurse was "soooo rude to him and very mean." As I drove away from his school and the story unfolded, I was using every ounce of me not to turn back and walk right into the office and up to the school nurse asking for answers. Turns out the school nurse was upset because of how my son returned a borrowed shirt to school.

He mentioned she was angry and that she said he couldn't "come into office anymore or borrow anything again." Now for the backstory: on a Friday my kid fell into mud and the nurse's office let him borrow a shirt that he was asked to "wash and return" on Monday. I was so proud of my kid who not only remembered on his own to wash this loaner shirt over the weekend, but he also remembered, again on his own, to grab it out of the dryer Monday morning to return it to school.  He walked into the nurse's office bright and early to return it and the nurse suddenly got upset as my kiddo puts it. The only thing that could have possibly bugged her was possibly a wrinkled, not so neatly folded shirt, but is that reason enough to scold a 3rd grader? Clearly my son carried these feelings all day if they were the first thing to spill out of him at the end of his school day. With this, I knew my son was expressing genuine hurt.

As my son told me the story I asked him to let me know what he wanted me to do. I imagine that makes me less helicopter-parent-ish. I coached him on what he could do. As we drove further and further away from school he mentioned I didn't have to talk to the nurse but maybe just email someone. Of course, I had gently suggested intervening if he wanted me to via email. He agreed and off went an email directly to the school principal asking for answers and explaining that my child was pretty hurt my the nurse's harsh approach. 

Immediately the principal wrote back and within 24 hours my kid was back in the nurse's office getting an explanation and apology from the nurse. He was encouraged to return to office anytime.  

Sadly, the spat did have something to do with how "unneatly folded" the loaner shirt was returned to school. What? Really, Ms. Nurse? Like I mentioned to the principal in my email: a wrinkled t-shift isn't reason enough to crush a child's spirit and yet that's what apparently occurred. 

All in all, an email appeared to connect us all, and more importantly,  my son was at ease once the matter was addressed. I also encouraged him to reach out to his guidance counselor if he ever felt emotional about an adult's approach while in school. The principal mirrored this approach and said his follow up would be with my son in the next few days about who my child could turn to (principal, counselor) should this occur again.

What do you think about how this was handled? 

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