Giving Voice to Children with the Swine Bug

By Caroline Fraser

As parents, carers and teachers fret about what effects the dreaded swine flu bug will bring next, the young victims speak of their illness.

With at least 12 schools closing their doors across Scotland headteachers are worried about their pupils’ education.  In addition, parents across the nation are terrified they too will succumb to the virus.  However, are  the young people who are missing out on vital education voicing an opinion or have they simply become another statistic?

This is apparently the case.  Simply type ‘swine flu’ into any search engine and within seconds, your eyes will be blinded with facts and figures and ‘concerned’ headteachers around the country.  But, where is the 15- year- old school pupil and sufferer’s comment: nowhere to be seen.

5th year pupil Laura Fraser at Culloden Academy, Inverness, told Edinburgh Napier News, ‘The school handled my swine flu very well.  The staff were very understanding and sympathetic and wanted me to be fully recovered before I returned.  In this case, I think the school made the right decision not to close as there were only a few cases of swine flu among us pupils.’

Fraser continues, ‘I think that too many schools are closing across Scotland.  I think schools should only close if it is absolutely necessary as closing the entire school means the majority of pupils are missing out on learning.’

Sneeze_FullWith the victims of swine flu falling into the teenage and young professional age bracket, it seems that children are missing out on the most important parts of their learning.  With Higher exams and prelims in the foreseeable future, Fraser added, ‘I was very worried I was going to fall behind with my work and would miss out on revision time.  I know of other people who live elsewhere in Scotland and their school has been closed and they don’t even have swine flu.  They missed out on work for no reason.’

The viewpoint of the school child is one that is worried about school studies and this is to be echoed throughout pupils all over Scotland.  However, luckily for Fraser, Culloden Academy sent her work home to help her stay involved with what her fellow classmates were being taught as not to fall too far behind.

With outbreaks of swine flu across Scotland set to rise before they fall and with news that during the past week  13,800 people are reported to be ill due to swine flu, it is only a matter of time before we hear of more and more schools closing their doors on those who have the virus and unfortunately to those who do not.  However, if schools do indeed close completely, those lucky pupils who are fighting fit, will have to put up with learning from home.