One thing about kids: they are messy, dirty and can sometimes be a wee bit smelly. While many of us see this as just part of “being a kid,” others who have more of a clean freak demeanor, not only take offense to their odorous emissions but feel a call of action to free the world of their smells.
One such person who felt it was their duty to make the world (or in this case) their classroom a sweeter smelling place was pre-kindergarten teacher at B.U.I.L.D. Academy in Buffalo, New York. The educator sent a note home with some of the children that read:
“Urgent Notice –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 unkempt.” The teacher added, “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. Enough said.”
She then asked that the note be returned with not just the parent’s signature but the child’s as well.
First let’s take the start of the note – it said “Urgent Notice.” Of things that are “urgent,” I personally do not think this fits into the “urgent” category. Little Jimmy bringing a knife to school, rampant bullying, a chicken pox outbreak, the coming of the apocalypse; those are all “urgent.” A smelly student is not.
The teacher reportedly did not have permission from the principal to send out the note, and did so in a way that parents see as lacking compassion. Especially since almost 30% of the students in this community are living below the poverty line. This is a situation where parents felt that the teacher should have come directly to them with a phone call or a meeting, rather than a note sent home with the children. One child asked her grandmother, “Do my teacher think I stink?”
Parents were outraged by the note, they went to the school and have talked to the press. The Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools, Dr. Pamela Brown replied, “I think it’s extremely important that we always demonstrate respect for all of our children and for all of our families.”
Sending an “urgent notice” home with kids doesn’t seen to be the most respectful way to deal with the situation. As of now, there haven’t been any actions against the teacher who sent out the letter, not that anyone wants her fired, but a lesson or two about compassion may be in order.
If your child’s teacher thought your kid’s cleanliness was a concern, would you prefer a note, a meeting or a phone call?
Photo Source: Wiki Commons