School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: A School Nurse’s Thoughts on Masks at School and Bullying

One of the main goals in creating The Relentless School Nurse blog was to amplify the voice of school nurses and share the true work of what we do by telling stories from health offices across the country. Today, I want to introduce you to Posted byEmme Mauer RN, BSN, CSN, who writes a school nursing blog called Your Favorite School NurseTake a peek at what Emme has been up to, and please share her work. Supporting the work of school nurses is a professional and personal privilege. 

Recently I’ve started to learn how to sew with a sewing machine and am practicing making my own masks (I’ll leave a link at the bottom with the sites that I’ve used to learn). So far I’ve made a few different kinds and honestly, they look awful but they are functional 🤷🏼‍♀️. They probably don’t look as bad to everyone else as they do to me though.

The one I made last night has the wrong color thread, some of the stitching is knotted (I could NOT get the sewing machine to stop getting caught up on loops of thread!!) and I used an old ribbed tank top for the earloops so the colors are hugely contrasted.

Anywho, I’m kind of proud of my masks. They aren’t the best but they aren’t the worst. So I wore one to Target earlier. I felt confident that it looked pretty good but then I got to the store and felt so self-conscious about it!! It seemed like everyone was staring at me. It could have been because the mask is bright lemon yellow, could have been because it looks awful, or it could have been my imagination.

Where am I going with this? My trip to target got me thinking about the kids returning to school and possibly having to wear masks. Is it going to be like a judgy mask fashion show at school? Kids have been known to be bullies over things like what brands of clothes other kids wear or what kind of “stuff” other kids have or don’t have. Many schools have had to turn to uniforms to combat that issue, or ban certain toys at school over too much fighting and bullying over it. My daughter’s school even had to ban folders and notebooks with pictures on them because of inappropriateness and/or fighting over who had better stuff.

There’s gonna be the kids with the fancy perfect, store bought masks with cute patterns or sayings, the ones with the rude inappropriate sayings or patterns, the kids with the disposable medical masks, the ones with the beautiful home made ones, and the ones with the awful but relatively functional home made ones, and maybe the ones who can’t afford masks so they have random things like bandanas tied around their faces.

I’m not sure what the solution here would be but I guess watch and see what happens then make decisions. Would we have to come to a decision to demand “uniform masks”? how would that work? Would schools have to commit to providing the masks that they want the kids to wear? Or maybe designate a specific color/colors that are allowed? I guess the uniform stores could get in on that as well too!

The obvious option here as well would be to teach the kids about not bullying and acceptance of all kinds but that takes time and patience. No matter what the solutions are this would of course be expected anyway.

I think in my own school this may become an issue – many of my parents can only afford the bare minimum so the kids will have what they have regardless of how nice or not nice it is. A solution for my kids would be more likely to be to combat the bullying and lots of education on acceptance. Also I think the majority of my kids understand each other and their situations and are pretty nice to each other for the most part.

In closing, I know that masks at school will be a trial and error process. It will be an interesting new twist on in person education. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t pose too much of a distraction for the kids in class!

Here is the pattern and instructions I used for making my face masks at home. It wasn’t too hard if you know how to use a sewing machine.

Scroll down for some funny 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 😂

I don’t know who the owner is of this but it was posted in many Facebook pages and I thought hilarious and appropriate:

(Insert Name) please don’t snap (insert name)’s mask in their face.

(Insert Name) you should not be using your mask as a sling shot. Please put it on your face. 

(Insert Name) your mask should be on your face not on the back of your head

(Insert Name) your mask is not a necklace, bracelet, or any other form of jewelry. 

(Insert Name) please do not chew on your mask.

(Insert Name) I’m sorry your mask is wet but that is what happens when you lick the inside of your mask.

(Insert Name)I’m sorry you sneezed but wipe out the snot as good as you can. 

(Insert Name) no you can not blow your nose in your mask. 

(Insert Name)why is your mask soaking wet? You just came back from the bathroom? And you put it back on your face after you dropped it? 

(Insert Name)I’m sorry you broke the elastic on your mask by seeing how far the band would stretch but now you will have to hold the mask on your face or use this duct tape. 

(Insert Name)please take the mask off your eyes and watch where you are walking. I don’t care if you can see through it. 

(Insert Name)please take the mask off of your pencil and stop twirling it.

(Insert Name)I know the mask fits over your pants like a knee pad but please take it off of your leg and put it on your face. 

(Insert Name)what do you mean you tried to eat your lunch through your mask? 

(Insert Name)please do not share your mask or trade masks. I don’t care if you like their mask better. 

(Insert Name) I’m sorry but your mask is not school appropriate. 

(Insert Name)we are not comparing our masks to other kids masks… everyone’s mask is unique and special.

(Insert Name)no you can not decorate your mask instead of doing your work. I don’t care if you have a Sharpie. 

(Insert Name)you are not a pirate, please take your mask off your eye. 

(Insert Name) try to get the gum off as much as you can. 

(Insert Name)please do not use your mask to pick your nose. No you can’t use (insert name)”s mask to pick your nose either.

(Insert Name)I’m sorry you tripped but that’s what happens when you put your feet inside the elastic of your mask. 

(Insert Name) no your mask does not make it hard to get your work done. 

(Insert Name) your Mom will need to get you a new mask since you chewed a hole in that one. 

(Insert Name) you will need to go down to the nurse to see if she can get your mask out of your braces.

(Insert Name)why is there a shoe print on your mask? 

(Insert Name)no you cannot eat the snow through your mask. 

(Insert Name)I don’t care if you were in art class and being creative, we do not decorate our masks. 

(Insert Name)we do not beam other kids in the face with a ball. No, their mask doesn’t make it not hurt. 

(Insert Name)please do not plug your nose holes with your mask. 

(Entire Class) who is making that noise?

(Insert Name)I’m sorry your ponytail is stuck, that’s what happens when you see how many times you can wrap it around your mask. 

(Insert Name of parent)I’m sorry to tell you but

 your child thought their mask made them a superhero and so they tried to fly off of  the jungle gym at recess…

(Insert Name) I’m sorry your breath stinks in your mask, maybe we should all try to brush better. 

(Insert Name)please take those things out of your mask. No, you are not a chipmunk. 

(Insert Name) I don’t care if you are the teacher you still have to wear the mask.

Emme Mauer RN, BSN, CSN
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