Rachel Wright’s son 10-year-old, JJ recently won a perfect attendance award from his school. Along with the award came a prize: an outing to a soft play centre.
But Wright has decided not to let JJ accept the award. She explains why, in a post that has been shared more than 12,000 times.
“We don’t reward luck,” she writes. “In this family we will think of as many reasons as possible to praise our children. 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.”
The UK mum, who blogs at Born At The Right Time, has two other children, apart from JJ. One of them, Sam, is severely disabled.
“In this family you are not shamed for ill health, vulnerability or weakness,” she adds in her post. “In this house you are not encouraged to spread germs when you are not well. In this house we look after ourselves and the weakest amongst us.”
Wright’s post has had nearly 4000 comments. Some of them are from people whose children have missed school due to ill health.
One mum said her daughter had a chronic illness and had so many hospital appointments that she would never get an award for attendance.
“Now they give the children with full attendance badges to wear too, it allows them extra privileges,” she added. “She suffers enough with her health and from bullies without the school pointing a finger of shame at her.”
However, others defended the awards.
“I teach my kids they can’t have a day off school just because they feel a bit under the weather or have a cold,” one wrote. “Doesn’t work like that in the real world.”
LISTEN: Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo talk all things parenting on the latest episode of the This Glorious Mess podcast (post continues after audio…)
There were also people who attacked Wright for her decision not to let her son accept his prize. One accused her of “sucking a simple joy out of life in the misguided pursuit of an unachievable utopian dream of a totally ‘fair’ world”.
But Wright explained that her son agreed with the decision she’d made.
“It helps that we’re planning a trip to a soft play with friends and other children who don’t ever get 100 per cent attendance,” she added.
“I wanted to teach him to see stuff that’s unfair and try to improve it.”
Do you agree with this mother? Are attendance awards discriminate against disadvantaged students?