It’s a sight not uncommon on campus. A student will bring their child to class because they have no other option. One student/mother brings her child to class regularly because of personal reasons. Her name is not disclosed to protect her identity for this story. She is a single mother, recently divorced with no money to pay for childcare. She has a heavy school load and trying to work out a schedule for her child seems impossible. She came to UVU out of necessity to find a job to pay for the needs of her family.
However, this student is in violation of a campus policy that prohibits children on campus. UVU policy 159 states, “Children are not permitted in institution classrooms or laboratories unless they are an integral part of instruction.” This policy is in place because of liability issues that could arise because the [university’s] classrooms are not designed for children, as well as the chance of children causing a distraction in the classroom, explained Linda Makin, Chief Policy Officer for UVU.
The student/mother understands this reasoning but doesn’t see it as a problem if her child is not disruptive. “I could understand if my child was disruptive, but she’s perfect. Sometimes she even helps pass out assignments and tests.” However, she said that it is more work with bringing a child to class and that she would not encourage it if something else could be done.
For parents who face the challenge of finding a caretaker for their children, the university provides services to try and help with the parent’s situations. The university’s child care center, Turning Point Wee Care Center is a place where students and faculty with children can find daycare for an hourly price “based on a sliding scale determined from your household income and the size of your family,” according to the Wee Care Center website. “We operate under a federal grant that requires the center to serve those in the community with the greatest need, specifically single parents.” However the care center fills up quickly which can be a struggle for some parents.
A professor whose name will also not be disclosed has allowed a parent to bring their child in his classroom if the child was not a distraction. “I support the university’s policy and I also want to be flexible and supportive for parents coming back to school. I don’t want parents to stop progressing. If a parent can’t come back to school because they have to leave their child at home and both the child and parent stay at home, it is better that they come to class.” The professor loves kids but did not recommend parents bringing their children to the classroom because a college class is not the best environment for a child. They would enjoy it more to have a setting more appropriate to their age and learning level.
Kendall Nielsen attended a class where two children came for one day. Nielsen said that if the parent had brought the children to class every day, it might have become a problem. “It really just depends on the child. If they are loud then it would be a crazy mess, but if they had something like a marker and coloring book and sat in the corner quietly, it would be fine.”
Because of the university’s policy and the different situations people face, Makin recommended that parents speak with someone at UVU’s Turning Point Wee Care Center, a Turning Point consultant or contact Peggy Pasin, a coordinator at the Women’s Success Center for information on additional resources.
By JAMIE GHORMLEY