BY ELENA VALDEZ
Being absent can mean a lot of things, however, in order to excuse one’s lack of appearance, a note from a doctor’s office is oftentimes required and an appointment or severe illness is one of the only justifiable excuses for not showing up.
Broward County Publics Schools (BCPS) permit exactly eight acceptable reasons for a student’s absence, and they are as follows: illness of a student or immediate family member, death of a loved one, religious holiday, required court appearance, scheduled medical appointments, suspicion of a communicable disease, and a very vague “special event.”
These reasons are respectable and should be granted as time to take off, however, when looking at the case of physical illness and communicable diseases specifically, proof of a doctor’s visit is required to properly excuse it the absence under illness. These notes provide proof that a person was actually where they claimed to be and experienced enough discomfort to seek medical help.
For those that cannot afford to see a doctor, they are stuck with simply saying they are sick and hoping others believe them. In the United States alone, 7 million people do not have healthcare because they cannot afford it and, when they have an illness inhibiting their ability to work, they suffer further.
The requirement of a doctor’s note should be illegal since there are no federal laws or government programs requiring health insurance. The rule discriminates against those at a financial disadvantage.
The requirement of a doctor’s note should be illegal since there are no federal laws or government programs requiring health insurance.
Since President Donald Trump’s election, funding for the Affordable Care Act has been cut significantly and a program that provided subsidies that lowered the cost of healthcare for lower and middle-class individuals has been disregarded. The vast majority of the population are stuck paying high rates for a basic necessity, especially when it is required to get a doctor’s note for a sick day.
Schools are often more lenient than jobs, allowing parents to report illness as the reason for a student’s absence. However, a parent phone call cannot excuse every single absence and this system can be abused by students who just want to skip. For the students who may actually be sick but financially unable to see a doctor, they risk facing punishment for not pushing through and showing up.
Not only is the requiring of a doctor’s note to excuse an absence related to illness unfair, but it also sends out a dangerous message that the absolute and only reason one is allowed to stay home is in the case of an extreme event, such as a physical illness or death of a loved one. It seems there are only certain situations that permit an absence and most of the times, they are those that are out of an individual’s control.
Establishments that require one to be present, for pay or not, should accept and realize that perfect attendance is not always achievable, especially when one feels high levels of pressure and stress that could lead them to chronic or recurring sickness. The common practice of working until exhausted and showing up sick, or waiting to stay home until bedridden, should be replaced with a culture of taking time for oneself when one is run down and not feeling well—without requiring a note from a medical professional.
Photo courtesy of HuffPost