. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: December 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

When Good Intentions Go Wrong

Of course, I am sure we all would agree that offering vision screening at school is a good thing, right?

Evidently, it puts a bit more stress on families than we thought. It might even lead to deception.

You see, I have a very sweet young man in my class who struggles in all academic areas. I sent him to the vision screening just in case his eyes might be part of the problem.

As it turns out, he does have a bit of a vision problem…

he sees DOUBLE! (And he's struggling? Really?!?)

So we send home a note to his mother saying that he needs to be seen by an eye doctor.

No response.

We call home and leave message.

No response.

I talked to the student about how important it is for him to go to the doctor and asked him to push his mom to take him.

No response.

Weeks and weeks go by without a visit to the eye doctor.

And then one morning there was my students sitting at his desk with eyeglasses on his desk!

With a big smile on my face, I compliment him on his new spects and ask to see them on his face so I can "see how handsome" he looks in them.

He slips them on his big grinning face and

they're smudged

they're bent

they're crooked

they're too small for his head and

they're obviously not glasses made for him.

So I ask where he got them.

"From my mom."

So I ask where she got them.

"She just brought them home."

So I ask if he went to the eye doctor.

"uummmmm, yes?"

So I ask where.

"uuuummmm, Long Beach?" (Nowhere near where he lives.)

So I say, "Well, kiddo. I'm a bit worried. I don't think those glasses were made especially for your eyes like they should be."

And I had a nurse call his mom to check.

Sure enough, they were not his glasses. In an attempt to end our phone calls, notes, and messages, his mother gave him his little brother's glasses and told him wear them.

Initially I thought what a rotten thing that was for her to do. Her kid is seeing double and all she wants to do is get us off her back about it. Giving him someone else's prescription glasses could make things worse for him!

But then I put myself in her shoes. She has no insurance, no money, and no access (that she knew of) to any assistance. Maybe she just didn't know what to do.

Of course, our school has information on all sorts of programs to assist students in need of free medical care. We arranged for him to be seen by a doctor and get his glasses at no cost.

Am I being too easy on her? Is it just bad parenting to avoid addressing your child's medical needs or can it be justifiable under some circumstances?