Should schools consider changing criteria for ‘perfect attendance’ award?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Schools are continuing to ask parents to keep their children home if they are sick. One Huntsville woman finds that advice a little contradictory. Many schools across North Alabama offer an award for perfect attendance. Sparkman High School tweeted Tuesday morning how it honored 180 students with a special breakfast.

Concerned grandmother, Pamela Wilkinson explains why she thinks that should be changed.

Schools deal with flu season every year, but news of widespread absences started a conversation at the Wilkinson house.

"The CDC, and the school board, and the teachers, and the principals all say please keep your children at home if they're sick. But at the end of the year the kids who have had perfect attendance get an award," Pamela Wilkinson said.

She has three grandchildren who attend schools in North Alabama. She says she would never allow her grandkids to come to school sick

"My grandson was home sick all last week with Type A Flu," she said.

But she fears the award entices students to come to school sick.

WHNT News 19's Kelley Smith asked her, "Do you believe that (the award) leads to kids coming to school when they're sick?"

She responded, "Oh, absolutely."

That's why she thinks schools should not reward 'perfect' attendance.

"Our kids don't need to think they're perfect. Perfect is a hard goal for anybody," she said.

Instead, she would like to see kids recognized for 'good' attendance.

"It would be a little bit kinder to the children to say yes if you're sick, genuinely sick you can stay home, but you'll still get the good attendance award," she said.

She hopes sharing her story makes districts take a second look at the criteria for perfect attendance.

WHNT News 19 reached out to several districts in North Alabama. Changing the attendance policy is not on the radar for many of them.

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