Students using cell phones to call home sick

  1. Hi
    Does anyone an opinion on students by-passing the school nurse; calling the parent directly from school to be picked up because the student doesn't feel good? This is a growing issue and was wondering if anyone has any advise? Cell phones are here to stay, and though it is against policy, and the student is not medically excused, there doesn't seem to be concern by the parent or student.
    I almost feel like I am missing an opportunity to implement a new procedure that incorporates the use of cell phones by students.
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    About hobiehobie

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 23; Likes: 5

    33 Comments

  3. by   coughdrop.2.go
    I'm a high school nurse and I see or hear about this a lot. I will get calls from the Attendance staff asking me if I've seen a certain student because their parents are coming to pick them up from being sick and no one in the office called home. We try to reach the parents to let them know that the Nurse has not seen the student and although we cannot stop them from picking up their child, sometimes the parents will change their minds or wait until I can see the student before picking them up. It's pretty irritating at times especially since phones are not allowed to be used during school time, except for lunch. The students have to go through the attendance office anyway before they can leave campus and the staff is good about asking why the student is leaving, if they will come back to school, etc. and parents have to sign them out. However, I've been training my staff on when to properly send students home if I am not there since I manage 3 schools. One of the schools would send students home for a nosebleed or if the student said they didn't feel well and wanted to go home parents would be called. Students and parents don't like it, but my job is to keep them in class. I even got the district to buy some saltine crackers and baked goldfishes for students who are nauseous or didn't eat breakfast to decrease the number of students sent home.
  4. by   Flare
    Students are not allowed to use their phones in school here. Doing so is a disciplinary write up, a second offense is a detention and so on.. so when I do get the calls from either the office saying that a perent is here to pick up a student that i haven;t seen, then it raises a red flag or when i get the occasional call from an irate parent that tells me that their prescious little darling called them and why didn't I call them - it all becomes pretty clear quickly. The more irate and rude the parent is with me, the more likely i am to turn the student in for unauthorized cell phone use. Ditto with the student.

    On the other hand - there have been the times that the parent hasn;t answered my calls from the office to pick the student up and in frustration i've asked the student to try with their cell phone (in front of me, with my permission - so no rules being broken) - it's amazing how those phones get picked up magically!!
  5. by   hsnurse1
    I, too, am a HS nurse and I deal with this frequently. I let the office know anytime I send a student home via email and that is placed in their file so if attendance comes into question they know which days are unexcused/excused. I am also amazed at how I can call a parent and get no answer and the student can call from their cell phone immediately after and they will pick up:-)
  6. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    I'm a HS and MS nurse and seen this. Cell phone are no-no in both schools, using them gets you an automatic detention. Just the other day, I had the main office call down to me to ask me to send up a student because dad was here to pick the student because they were sick. That student hadn't stepped foot in my office at all; a look at the student revealed nothing was wrong. The parent didn't care. The principle, however, did. The student left, but left knowing she would be receiving a 0 for all the work she would be missing for the reminder of day because this was an unexcused absence.

    I always call up to the office when I am dismissing a child home sick, so they know when a parent comes to pick up a "sick" kid and they have not heard from me, that it may be suspicious. My job is keep kids healthy and in school, and I have crackers for nausea, juice and applesauce for students missing breakfast. I'm tough and most parents appreciate it, actually .
  7. by   RNlove17
    I'm a high school nurse so it happens a lot. If they call home on their own, that's fine. It's just completely NOT through me. If they come here after calling and mom/dad is coming to get them, I send them on to attendance. They're not laying down here to wait because I didn't treat you, you are not excused by the nurse. The parent has the right to come sign their kid out though so it doesn't bug me much. I try to keep a kid in school, and there are a list of kids that I won't dismiss (unless it's a true medical emergency of course). But if parent wants to come get them, they trump me.

    Sometimes security or attendance will call me asking if a student is in here because a parent is here to get their kid. I'll just say nope and they say ok thanks, bye- the kid was texting in class for parent to get them, so then they have to track down the kid.

    Sometimes the parent will call me asking if the kid should come to my office, because the kid was texting them that they don't feel good. I say tell them to come to my office and I'll call you back when they get here. Then it's a legal excused dismissal and teachers have to let you make up the work. Legally unexcused ones they don't *have* to let them.

    I have signs all up in the office saying no cell phone use though in the nurses office. Because I hate when a kid is "sooo sick" and then they try to start texting/gaming on their phone. If you're sick, act like it! They're not allowed to use them in class, but I think they can in hallways. The HO is like a class - no use!!
    Last edit by RNlove17 on Oct 10, '13
  8. by   WineRN
    I know this is an old thread, but today this has happened TWICE to me today!
    One 5th grader who was mad that I didn't let him go home because his knee hurt (no injury, FF)
    and another 2nd grader who's stomach hurt (it sounded like he ate his lunch and two other people's lunches)

    I talked to admin who's in charge of discipline, who basically said we discourage cell phone use but there has never been the need to write them up. And then she turned it around on me for not calling either parent in the first place. I politely told her that I have guidelines for when parents are called and it is literally impossible for me to call on EVERY student that visits me.
  9. by   khaley69
    This happens to me more often then not. Today everyone has cell phones. In our office if they don't go though me they don't get excused "medically" they just get a unexcused illness instead and I let the parents know this when they come pick up their kid.
  10. by   JustbeRN
    It happens also to me in middle school.
    If they don't come to see me first and call/text parent for pick up- they have left the school nurse out of the equation.
    They do not wait in the clinic for pick up. They can go and wait in the grade level office.
    I have parents call and ask if they have come in because they are texting them to go home sick. I tell them the same thing- Now if they want to include me in their illness- they are more than welcome to come to see the school nurse like they should in the first place.
    I tell my own daughter that in high school- stop texting me and go see the school nurse. After her assessment- call me..
  11. by   NutmeggeRN
    All the time!! And the parents who just swoop in to pick them up, without the benefit of any assessment by me, are the ones MOST irritated when I cannot tell them what is "going around", because I DONT KNOW!!!!!!

    Grrr!
  12. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    I have ones that call or text after they have seen me and I haven't called home because their symptoms didn't warrant a call home.

    Ugh. But when the parent comes to pick them up, the main office always checks with me to see if I called home because cell phone use is not allowed for students. Then the Dean handles it, thankfully .
  13. by   SchoolNurseTXstyle
    Quote from NutmeggeRN
    All the time!! And the parents who just swoop in to pick them up, without the benefit of any assessment by me, are the ones MOST irritated when I cannot tell them what is "going around", because I DONT KNOW!!!!!!

    Grrr!
    Exactly! This is really bad at my MS. In fact, every year my clinic traffic decreases because of it. I have learned to let it go as there is no back up from above. Doesn't seem to matter that kids are in class using their phones, even using classroom phones to call home sick. Here, if a parent picks up - they automatically excuse them anyway, no matter the reason.

    I see kids here that have 15-20 all day absences, 20 more individual class absences, 49 tardies, etc.
    Nothing at all happens to them. Unless the climate changes, for me it is not worth the battle.
  14. by   MrNurse(x2)
    Quote from SchoolNurseTXstyle
    Exactly! This is really bad at my MS. In fact, every year my clinic traffic decreases because of it. I have learned to let it go as there is no back up from above. Doesn't seem to matter that kids are in class using their phones, even using classroom phones to call home sick. Here, if a parent picks up - they automatically excuse them anyway, no matter the reason.

    I see kids here that have 15-20 all day absences, 20 more individual class absences, 49 tardies, etc.
    Nothing at all happens to them. Unless the climate changes, for me it is not worth the battle.

    We used to be very lax in attendance. Before I came, volunteers recorded it and no one really kept track of it. I took it over and do weekly audits to keep up to date and I call if no contact has been made after 3 days absent. Totally different culture, first year I had students with 35 absences/ year, down to 27 last year and now the most is 22, from a chronically ill student. Culture can be changed, but it takes a little while for parents to realize you aren't kidding.

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