General Question

Pandora's avatar

What penalty should parents have to face for knowingly sending their COVID positive child to school?

Asked by Pandora (29058points) 1 month ago

I just read an article about a parent who had their child tested for COVID and knew the child had it and sent them to school. Because of this 28 students had to be sent home to be quarantined. Should parents face some sort of punishment for knowingly endangering other children or should the child just be suspended from school for a year?
I use to work in a daycare and I will say those types of parents were always my most hated parents. The ones that would drop off their little ones with the flu and before long the whole daycare would have the flu running around for weeks and many daycare workers would get sick. But no sweat to mom or dad. They could care less that their child was sick and miserable or that they could infect children who may have immune problems.
So back to my main question. How do schools and daycare get it across to parents that this type of selfish behavior won’t be tolerated?

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37 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

I can think of a few.: child endangerment, reckless endangerment, if anyone dies as a result, negligent homicide.

jca2's avatar

First, though, you’d have to prove that the parent knew. If the parent had the child tested for Covid, and it was positive and they sent the child, then yes, there’s your proof. Otherwise, it would be hard to prove. Just playing Devil’s Advocate.

kritiper's avatar

A doctor’s report to the parents would be proof that the child was infected.

Pandora's avatar

@jca2 The article said the child was tested Sept. 9 and got the results September 11 and attended school Sept. 14. So I guess if they know these to be facts that the test is proof enough. I’m not talking about parents who may send their kids to school when the kid is feeling under the weather. I’m talking about them actually knowing the kid has been diagnosed with covid but send them to school anyway.

elbanditoroso's avatar

What is the normal (non-COVID) penalty? Like for regular mumps or measles or whatever.

Pandora's avatar

@elbanditoroso Hey, in my opinion, there should be a penalty for purposely and knowingly letting your child spread an illness that can lead to someone’s death. If you can go to jail for leaving a minor in a car unsupervised because it’s considered child endangerment (hot day or not ) then why not be held responsible for the spread of a disease if you knew your child could spread it? If you leave your kid or a friends kid in a car for 5 minutes to go into a 7’ 11 to get some bread you can possibly face charges. But send your kid to school with a disease that can make children ill or worse and nothing happens.

Darth_Algar's avatar

At a minimum, 1 count of child endangerment for every child in the classroom or daycare.

cheebdragon's avatar

I can’t imagine california would severely punish anyone for intentionally exposing people to covid, considering their lack of concern about people knowingly and intentionally exposing people to HIV.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ Yeah, I hear California has put HIV in the water supply. Are you ok?

Pandora's avatar

@cheebdragon I haven’t heard of this. Is it some conspiracy theory nonsense.? I’ve tried researching it online and found nothing. Maybe because water treated at water plants are made to kill all forms of harmful bacteria or disease. If it didn’t then we should all be sick from something. But that aside I did find articles saying that knowingly exposing someone to HIV in California is no longer a felony. That is horrible. So I can agree they wouldn’t do anything about children being exposed to Covid.

cheebdragon's avatar

@hmmmmmm Quiet down, kiddo.

@Pandora Knowingly donating blood infected with HIV is a misdemeanor now also, punishable by up to 6 months in prison, but with overcrowding it would probably get dropped down to 1–2 months, and if they didn’t have any significant prior convictions they could easily just get probation.

hmmmmmm's avatar

HIV decriminalization is good.

zenvelo's avatar

I like the punishment Indonesia did: Covid deniers have to dig the graves of people who die of covid.

Meanwhile, for each child exposed in the class room. a day in the general population of the local jails with no social distancing,

zenvelo's avatar

@cheebdragon ”...their lack of concern about people knowingly and intentionally exposing people to HIV.

What the fuck kind of statement is that? Did you just pull that out of your ass next to your head? California has been in the forefront of the AIDS/HIV fight since the early 1980s, when the President was scared to say “AIDS”.

Yes, the legislature did lower the offense from a felony, but HIV can be controlled, viral load lowered to undetectable, and prophylactic medicines available. It should not be a felony for an HIV+ person to have a partner.

filmfann's avatar

Knowingly knowing?

I understand that many parents depend on school as daycare, but this is reckless endangerment.

Darth_Algar's avatar

My cousin has been HIV+ for near 30 years. He’s had a partner for nearly as long. I can think of no reason why their relationship should be criminal.

gorillapaws's avatar

It seems like we’re getting off topic a bit, but I think giving someone HIV is criminal. It’s one thing if you are open with your partner beforehand and they accept the risk, but knowing that you have HIV and not disclosing it to someone you share blood or bodily fluids with SHOULD be a felony. Just like sending your COVID-19 kid to school. It’s fucking crazy to hurt other people.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Certainly. But I kinda get the feeling that cheebdragon’s issue with with exposing others, period. Whether they know and accept the risk on not.

Pandora's avatar

@gorillapaws Thank you. I agree. Let’s get back to my question.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@gorillapaws – How many other diseases were on the “felony” list? Zero.

HIV is a health issue, and shouldn’t be approached by throwing people in jail. I suggest you read up on this SB 239. Here are a few highlights…

- # of HIV nondisclosure cases between 1988 and 2014: 800. 100% ended in conviction.
– Out of these 800, not one of them required the prosecution to prove that transmission of HIV occurred prior to the defendant being charged.
– Because sick people were being criminalized, they were less likely to get tested.
– Prior to SB 239, you didn’t actually have to infect anyone to be found guilty.
– If you were on medication to almost eliminate the chance of infecting someone, and you practice safe sex, etc, you could still be found guilty and sentenced for a felony.
– Despite being 12% of the HIV-positive in CA, 43% of those prosecuted were African American women. HIV-positive people have complained that these laws made women vulnerable to abusive relationships. Abusers would use HIV-illegality to threaten women into staying into abusive relationships, saying that they would have them prosecuted under the HIV laws.

We don’t generally criminalize health issues because such actions exacerbate the health problem, while creating additional problems. This is clearly one of those cases. There was simply no excuse for criminalizing those with HIV.

Demosthenes's avatar

As a gay man who’s sexually active, I am banned from donating blood, even though I do not have HIV. There’s a lot about the law that could change. For once I actually agree with @hmmmmmm. I understand the sentiment behind it and I do think knowingly giving someone HIV is a horrible thing to do, but the laws against it are misguided and are doing more damage in the long run.

gorillapaws's avatar

@hmmmmmm “HIV is a health issue, and shouldn’t be approached by throwing people in jail.”

Poisoning someone is also a “health” issue. Does that mean that you shouldn’t be thrown in jail for it? It’s the same with COVID-19. If you know you have a disease that could seriously harm someone else, you have an obligation to keep other people safe. What kind of psychopath would donate blood while knowing they’re HIV positive for example? How is that any different than poisoning Tylenol on the shelves? How is that different from sending you kid with COVID-19 to school?

It’s a reckless disregard for the safety of others. It’s psychotic and indefensible. Look, if two consenting adults want to give each-other COVID-19 (and then stay quarantined), or HIV, or even LSD or whatever, that’s none of my damn business. When they start endangering the health of other people, that’s a major fucking issue. I’m not saying it should be illegal to be HIV positive, I’m saying it should be illegal to knowingly transmit it to another person without their consent. Same with COVID-19 or any other disease for that matter.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ What are your thoughts on SB 239 and the problems it was attempting to resolve? Are you just dismissing all of that without comment? Do you think LGBQT advocates, women support groups, and Planned Parenthood were just insane to be supporting this? If you feel that the pre-SB 239 laws were too problematic, what changes would you have made to address the problems?

gorillapaws's avatar

@hmmmmmm I haven’t read SB 239. I stated my beliefs pretty clearly above. But to clarify further, without exception (race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, age, etc.) I think it should be considered an extremely heinous crime to knowingly put another person at risk of contracting a dangerous disease without their knowledge. If the bill doesn’t do that then I would disagree with it. I don’t think people should be criminalized for their behaviors if the parties involved consent and aren’t putting others at risk. That applies universally to HIV, but also to COVID-19.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ I don’t think you have considered this enough.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Banned from the school system and reqiured to homeschool.

JLeslie's avatar

If the parent knows it’s covid then I think one penalty could be the parent paying a fine to the state.

No visibly sick child should be in school period. I’m tired of Americans passing along their illnesses because they think it’s stoic to drag yourself into school or work while sick.

Did the teacher observe the child was sick? Is the teacher now at fault for not requiring a negative covid test? Maybe. Send that child home if he’s visibly sick. I guess it’s really difficult since some kids have allergies, but usually you can tell if something has an allergy or a cold.

Was the child asymptomatic? That’s the tricky part. Some adults still don’t understand you can spread illness even if you have no symptoms.

There might need to be laws protecting the parent’s job if they need to stay home with their kid for covid.

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Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie The child was tested several days before attending and found to be positive. If his parents sent him to school, I imagine the kid was asymptomatic. They claim they thought the kid wouldn’t spread it after a weekend home. The whole world knows there is a 2 week isolation period to follow being diagnosed but not these lying bozzos. Now it could be possible the kid was also physically feeling ill and the parents ignore that as well. Like I said above. I use to have parents drop off their children sick to day care. So I wouldn’t put it past these parents to do the same and not care.

Pandora's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 I agree. I think it will give all parents pause about the idea of sending their COVID kid to school. 2 weeks of probable homeschooling vs. a whole school year.of having to home school.

Pandora's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 I just realized I ignored the fact about possible death. What if one of the children in his class actually pass away after catching Covid from him. Should the parents be held responsible for that as well?

kritiper's avatar

I could say a firing squad, but who would agree with me?
I could say twenty lashes with the cat o’ nine tails but who would agree with me?
I could say keel haul the culprit but who has a barnacle encrusted boat?

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora I was speaking generally not just this particular case.

I think the recommendation is ten days after first symptoms AND 24 hours without symptoms.

If someone never had symptoms I guess it’s 14 days plus maybe a negative test? Not sure.

If this particular kid was symptomatic then the question would be when did they start with symptoms and were they free of symptoms when they went back to school. My guess is no.

Pandora's avatar

@jleslie, You are right. If his onset was on the 9th and that is why he got tested, then he had to wait until the 19th to go back to school. I can see where the parents got confused because there is recommendation for 10 days after the onset of the virus and after 24 hours of no symptoms without taking any medications than they don’t have to quarantine anymore. So in that case you wouldn’t know which rule supercedes the other. Wierd. But if the school does have a rule saying to quarantine after 2 weeks of being diagnosed then that is the rule the parents should follow.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora Some people are tested before symptoms start, and so they would need to start counting once the symptoms start. I have no idea the actual details of this case, but I will just emphasize again, any illness keep the kids home. We are now getting better at being able to do school from home, the kids don’t really have to miss school like years ago.

SEKA's avatar

I had read the same thing. They admitted that they knew, but insisted that they thought it would be OK if the child showed no symptoms within 2 days. So, 3 days later they sent the child back to school due to showing no symptoms

I’ve been bothered by this one a lot and haven’t come up with a fitting punishment. Giving them the benefit of the doubt because I can’t prove otherwise, I can understand their confusion. The rules seem to change weekly and a lot of parents are confused. We need better info on when and what to do and it needs to stay consistent info

MrGrimm888's avatar

This is a tough question.
Putting the parents in jail, probably isn’t the best thing.
It would increase the spread rate, and leave the innocent child without parents.
I see no benefit there.

I guess a fine, would be the best we could do.

In many cases spitting in someone’s face, is considered assault. That was before this pandemic.

Courts are already overburdened. However. It may be something that is handled case by case….

We have to keep in mind that there are a lot of stupid, and careless people. Ignorance is not a defense. But. I think that it should be taken into consideration. I.E.Some parents, may think that sending an infected child to school, with a mask, won’t spread the virus….

Ultimately. I suppose that schools, should test every child, like most professional sports teams do…. There’s really no preparation, for such a problem.
We, as a species, weren’t prepared for this….

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