A prekindergarten teacher is facing disciplinary action from the Buffalo School District after she sent parents a (handwritten!) letter about how their kids were so gross and stinky that she could hardly bring herself to go near them.
The letter, written in an apparent fit of exasperation by BUILD Academy pre-K teacher Sharon D. Perry Dunnigan, begins with the all-caps, triple-exclamation, "URGENT NOTICE!!!" and proceeds to inform parents that some of their kids are, in so many words, fucking gross:
PLEASE READ [double-underlined, FOR EMPHASIS]
Several children in Pre-K ages 3-4 are coming to school (sometimes daily) with soiled, stained, or dirty clothes. Some give off unpleasant smells and some appear unclean and unkept.
Parents please take care of this matter. It is a health and safety concern. It also makes it difficult for me to be close to them or even want to touch them.
Please sign and return so I know you've read this…
Parents and members of the school board seem to be most upset by the fact that Dunnigan chose to address the stinky kid crisis in, according to The Buffalo News, "such a broad and shaming manner," though it should be noted that Dunnigan didn't line up the several stinky kids at the front of her classroom and encourage their peers to throw water balloons at them. Or something.
Samuel Radford III, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council, chose to characterize the letter as "offensive," saying that it "almost shows a contempt for the children," thereby breaking the cardinal rule of teaching: it's never acceptable to openly complain about students, no matter how terrible and smelly they are.
Radford's statement, though predictably hyperbolic, hints at the true source of outrage over Dunnigan's letter. It isn't that the letter shows contempt for the children, but rather a contempt for parents (never mind anecdotes about Dunnigan rebuffing attempts to diffuse the unpleasantness and refusing to apologize). The last thing parents want is a handwritten homework assignment telling them with mild condescension that they need to sign a handwritten letter to verify their reading comprehension skills, and then go dip their trash children in a bathtub of industrial-strength circus animal body wash. It may be true that their kids stink, but no adult likes a talking-to, especially when that talking-to comes in the form of a handwritten note, and especially when that the talking-to calls their parenting skills into question.
Teacher faces discipline for letter about smelly children [Buffalo News]
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