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Local Nurse Has Stern Message for Parents Who Don't Enforce Social Distancing

'Stop allowing yourself and your children to put others lives at risk'

March 27, 2020

As a parent, I know how hard it is to get your teenage son or daughter to not only listen to you, but understand why certain rules are put in place. 

But when it comes to the coronavirus, there are no rules and all of us are in uncharted territory; so it's difficult for all of us to explain to our kids, no matter their age, that this is a serious pandemic that comes with life threatening consequences. How do you get them to understand that? 

Ask Amy to have a chat with them...and maybe you too. 

Amy is a health care provider from the North Metro, and after attending a 12-hour birth, she was driving by Sunshine Park where she say a group of high-school-aged teens gathered in the parking lot; there were at least 20 of them. She was shocked at the lack of responsibility, not just by these kids who are old enough to know better, but by the parents who didn't seem to know...or care about their whereabouts. She took out her frustration in a post on a neighborhood group page on Facebook, and it's something every parent needs to hear. 

"On my way home from a 12 hour shift at the hospital today, I saw a large group (20 or more) of high-school-aged teens gathered in the parking lot of Sunshine Park. Some were in cars and some were on bikes. Some were huddled in hatchbacks and some were trying to be safely spaced 6 feet apart while others hopped between safely spaced folk. All were in public spaces together and potentially spreading a lethal virus that I had just spent nearly 12 hours trying to everything in my power to stop the spread of.

Every one of these teens has parents. Almost every one of these teens was given keys to a vehicle or permission to leave their home ( I recognize that some do sneak out).

I drove past once, twice, and the third time I pulled into the lot. I was shaking with fear, rage, and confusion. How could I have just spent so many hours, without adequate protective equipment to keep a deadly virus from spreading between my patient and myself, to see such flagrant disregard for human life so close to my home?

If your child comes home and tells you of a crazy lady who pulled in and dressed them down...that was me. If they tell that I told them to go home...that was me. If they told you that, when they laughed at her anger and she screamed it was all funny until their mother/father/grandmother had a respirator tube down their throat...that was me.

I am done being politically correct for people's comfort. I am happy to apologize and make up with whoever is alive on the other side of this. But, dammit! Stop allowing yourself and your children to put other people's lives at risk because they are bored or feel they have some inane right to gather. Be the adult. Be the parent. Your life. My life. Their life may depend on it."

The entire community of Andover stepped up in support and offered words of encouragement and thanks. 

We as adults understand that teens can be unruly and rebellious, but now is not the time. It's understandable with it being the end of the school year and it's unfortunate that events like spring sports and prom are canceled; it's not fair, we know. But we need to start being parents to our kids, and not their best friend. Like Amy said, their life may depend on it.