Don’t be scared: Why bringing home Ebola would be a huge mistake

Girls listen to the address at the CNN town hall roundtable. A teacher lifts her finger. What does this do?

By Molly Burkhalter


People are dying from a virus like this. If a parent can hear the cry of the child they lost, can they do anything but cry?

This is exactly what countless teachers across the country fear will happen as parents nurse their children through a cold or flu.

One of the best ways to keep your child safe from a contagion, for most parents, is to keep them home from school. But for some schools, that’s a bad option.

Some schools don’t want to admit the worst is coming. More than 250 reported cases of the H1N1 flu virus have been recorded so far, and while cases are expected to double over the coming weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And school officials are worried that if kids go to school, they’ll transmit the disease and if you think about it — they don’t usually stay home. Then what do you do?

We joined the girl who lives next door to class, and she brought her issues home to her family.

This is an open letter to her teachers.

This is how the controversy begins. The fight that is brewing.

Today I am writing this letter because the very type of letter I was going to write until recently is just something I am afraid the teachers I’m supposed to be standing beside right now will not understand.

I am writing this because I’m angry at the very system I grew up in, because of the way I’ve been treated by the very people who should be standing alongside me with my classmates. The same system that helped make me the person I am today. The system that sheltered my sister, my brothers, my parents, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and their parents and extended family. This system that’s been there to support every part of my life, every touch of love.

The same system that taught me how to embrace my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. The system that taught me, without hesitation, how to respect others.

Because when you watch the pain on the faces of the nurses and the librarians who are doing the job the president wishes he could do but isn’t sure he can, you get mad, and you start crying.

You sit down in a circle and you sob, and you yell, and you shout, and you laugh in spite of yourself, and you cry.

You tell a teacher about it all, and then you ask the questions all students think they can’t ask.

But we must not sit at home crying all day. Because this is also what our teachers deserve.

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