Is Labeling ever okay?

My six-year-old recently came home sporting a nicely designed label on his shirt. At first glance I thought that my kid had achieved some type of next level recognition in his class at the institute of higher learning…Grade One (to be exact).  With some squinting on my part (40-year-old something eyes) I was expecting to see the usual primary school accolades that regularly show up on these youngster’s homework. You know the ones:

"...see the usual primary school accolades ... You know the ones..."

“…see the usual primary school accolades … You know the ones…”

Great Job!”

“Well Done!”



“You ROCK!”

Instead …the label read “Please watch me…I bumped my head today!”WHAT????


Instead …the label read “Please watch me…I bumped my head today!”…WHAT????

Instead …the label read “Please watch me…I bumped my head today!”…WHAT????

I guess calls home from the school can be really reduced with the new label system. I might have been able to accept:

“Need special care have a small boo-boo”

“Be nice to me…I had a bad day”

“I fell and scraped my knee…I might need some TLC

“The school nurse checked me and I am fine but could use extra TLC”

Watch me I bumped my head 2But “watch me closely…I bumped my head”? Seriously….what are these people (the folks at the school) thinking??? The only saving grace about this label was that it was adhered on the child’s shirt as opposed to his forehead.(!!) I am wondering if the rest of the first aid container at school might include “Was unconscious earlier please watch me overnight” or “Unresponsive at school please return to sender” only to be out done with “Intellectually unresponsive please investigate!”

Then again that opens up an entire list of labels a parent might like to have for the teacher.

“Watch me my head is very sore…too much homework”

“If I can’t understand what you teach in school hours don’t think my parents can teach me in non-school hours.”

“Was dropped on my head…well…the rest is history!”

“My family calls me …ANIMAL!”

“Today is a bad day… someone kidnapped my imaginary friend”

“Be careful…I am ALMOST toilet-trained!”

Better yet might be the labels one could (perhaps should?) arm a high school teacher with:

“This kid need not come to school…ever again.”

“Return to sender…only resend once mouth is sealed with duct tape”

“If this is what your family has to offer the world for the future…hope you have a backup plan!”

This label thing could likely save all of us time and therefore money…oh the possibilities!

I as a parent might choose to wear (sometimes more than occasionally)

“I am currently having an out-of-body experience…stay tuned …take a number…it could take a while!”

“I did hear you…but no…I still DON’T care.”

“Possessed…again…by Aliens

“Whatever!! Duh!…(unless you are asking for the car)…then NO!”

“FYI…take cover I am in a VERY BAD MOOD!”

I guess when all is said and done, the label “Please watch me…I bumped my head today!” is definitely not anywhere near as scary as “Toe-tag required…please call the coroner.” Though it still leaves me wondering …are all students given the “bumped my head” label or are these labels only reserved for the children whose scholastic performance leaves something to be desired while the children perceived as having superior brilliance get a REAL call home (oh and then perhaps a label)??

Teacher says well done

A quick call to my local school regaling the receptionist with my take on the whole thing and she is horrified… “Oh I guess we FORGOT to call you and JUST gave him the label INSTEAD of calling. He is fine but really wanted a label. He did bump his head though earlier in the day but seemed okay.”  (???)

I think I will be in my corner designing labels we can all wear (and hand out) for everyday use. Can you imagine what one could “get away with” saying at work with just wearing a label??? Just saying….

Labeled “The Garden Goat”

Labeled  “The Garden Goat”

“The Garden Goat”


8 thoughts on “Is Labeling ever okay?

  1. You touched a nerve, with this one. Communication with parents can be so…insubstantial. This seems downright unforgivable. A call to the mom at the very least, and a visit to the doctor should be the minimum, if anyone thinks this label for a head bump is needed! This is just so amazing. Good thing you take it with a sense of humor, while noticing that they goofed up big time. It helps us all keep our blood pressure in check if we can adopt your good attitude. Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks for your support. You and your words of encouragement always make my day. Laughter is the only way I would survive! I know I was shocked to see the label, definitely upset and then once I had allayed my fears and was sure the child was okay…well then my sense of humour took over!!! Glad you enjoyed this! Notes from some of my very loyal readership keep me at the keyboard. Again thanks for your kind words! The Garden Goat 😎

  2. My son was labelled as a trouble maker in grade 1…literally! His friend was being bullied and attacked so he pulled the other kid off. The children all got a sticker put on them for a week so they could be identified in the play ground as trouble makers. I was very upset when I found out, my son didn’t tell me till the end of the week. He was not a child who would get in a fight and had not actually done anything wrong so I think it was inappropriate to ‘label’ him. As for labelling the child with a head injury, that’s just ridiculous.

    • I thought the head injury was pushing the envelope…but I think labeling children as “trouble makers” takes the cake! What I could not believe is there is a company out there that actually produces these labels. Sorry to hear about your son…that is just wrong on so many levels. Thanks for your comments. The Garden Goat 😎

  3. Just a perspective from a school nurse. We routinely call parents and send a letter for all suspected head injuries, however the majority of cases are very minor when two children bump into each other in the hall.

    At my school we use the stickers too. The children often go to PE, Music, Art, recess and lunch with other teachers. The sticker alerts the other adults responsible for watching your child that if they observe any unusual behavior the child should be escorted back to the nurse as soon as possible.

    The kids here are used to them and ask for them. The parents often “borrow” them from their children after school to wear to work the next day 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment…I had not considered such a perspective. My concern was there was no call to me notifying me of the issue and when I called the school back they had left for the day. With the perspective you have shared, I now have a much better understanding of how useful these stickers can be. Thanks again! The Garden Goat 😎

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