…parenting hard-ass, hater of mediocrity, with a moderate dose of compassion

A Principal’s Nightmare: A Letter from the “Parent From Hell”

Photo by: Dion Hinchcliffe

Dear Principal Smith;

There are just a few things that I feel you should know about my son, Tommy Jacobson. I’ve listed these as a bulleted list. This should make it easier for you to check each one off as you complete them!

  • Tommy is the first born in our home. So he has been given lots of personal attention and encouragement. He’ll need a teacher that smiles brightly as she exclaims “Great Job Tommy, you’re the best!”. Feel free to use the words: fantastic, fabulous, and amazing. The inflection is probably more important than the actual words.
  • Tommy doesn’t like to say any word containing an “S”. We tried speech therapy, but Tommy got so frustrated in the speech therapist’s office, that he set her hamster on fire. (That won’t be a problem – Tommy has promised to stay away from matches.) It would be helpful to place him with classmates without S’s in their names, just to reduce excessive frustration.
  • Discipline makes Tommy sad. We would prefer that you disregard any standard discipline process that you already employ. We’ve found that a 20 minute cuddle and a treat usually make the tantrums go away. He’ll need a teacher that’s a good snuggler.
  • When Tommy was a baby he would calm his tantrums by rubbing on the satin tag on his blanket. As he got older he began taking the underwear out my drawer to rub the satin tags on those. He obviously can’t bring women’s underwear to school, that would be silly. So, I’ve made him a necklace of Victoria’s Secret tags that he wears on the inside of his shirt. If you see him reaching into his shirt at a stressful moment, just give him a minute alone and he’ll be fine.

  • My husband and I are opposed to Tommy receiving a report card or having him graded or judged on any level. We believe that children ought to be told that they are the best! It would be helpful if Tommy’s teacher could make two versions of his report card – one with all the highest level marks to show to Tommy, and one for us. We already know that Tommy is profoundly gifted – grades are unnecessary.
  • Tommy has an aversion to peanut butter – not a medical allergy; he just thinks it’s yucky. I would hate to single him out and have him sit at the peanut free table – someone might think that there’s something wrong with him. Couldn’t you just ban peanut butter in general?
  • Because of my personal schedule, Tommy needs to arrive at school at exactly 6:35am each day. I’ll just park in the bus lane so you can come out and get him a little easier.
  • We like to stay spontaneous and don’t always know each morning how Tommy will be coming home. Could you ask one of your office staff to please call me at around 1:30pm and find out whether or not Tommy is taking the bus home?
  • Just one last thing if it’s not too much trouble – we would prefer a Romanian teacher who speaks Latvian with a Polish accent. We’re trying to get back to our roots. Oh and she should be really, really nice.

Thank you so much! Tommy is such a good boy – so much better than his 4 year old quintuplet brothers (you’ll meet them next year), and his two year old sister. I look forward to spending the next seven years with my children at Johnson Elementary!

Tommy Jacobson’s Mother

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Categorised in: education, favorites, parenting

13 Responses »

  1. lol. Seeing that makes me feel better about the letters we write. At least we’re just basically saying that my daughter does best with a teacher who remains organized through out the year.

  2. Hilarious!

    Funny story – we were visiting my brother-in-law and his family over the summer. My boys were going off the diving board at the club and my sister-in-law kept saying, “Great job guys!” My nephews (both in college) would respond, “Mom, don’t say they’re great. How will they learn?” Then they would yell out to my boys, “OK you’re getting there. What about trying…”

    My sister-in-law explained that kids my nephews’ age feel their parents told them they were too fabulous too often for silly little things when they were younger and they all developed over-inflated egos because they never truly earned the praise. They had to learn the hard way that they are not amazingly brilliant and talented (what’s funny is my younger nephew is the smartest kid I’ve ever met and an incredible musician). They don’t want that to happen to my boys. Pretty funny.

  3. Once I stopped laughing (and nodding my head “yes”), I promised to NEVER be this parent. That is not to say that we should not advocate for our children appropriately and respectfully, but this type of situation is clearly over the top (and let’s just be honest, this is not an unheard of kind of letter). God bless the teachers and building principal who have to deal with this type of parent. Next thing you know, she’ll be calling the school board…..(but that’s a topic for another blog….)

    • Why Brenda Wells Thompson – look at you! I’m so glad that you got a chuckle out of it…
      Perhaps the dark comedy in all of this is that it is NOT unheard of for teachers and administrators to get these types of letters and requests. You know how at the elementary school cars are NOT allowed to drop of kids in the bus lane? Makes sense.. bus lane = buses. Bus lane does NOT equal self indulged jerks who think they own the world. Anyhow, when my oldest was at the school I would drive through the *proper* drop off lane, roll down my window and shout at the top of my lungs “YOU ARE NOT THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE” – hoping the morons in the bus lane would hear me. I embarrass my children daily. :)

  4. So funny and true. I taught for 14 years and if those walls could talk… I’ll think I’ll follow you!

  5. For a minute there, I thought I was reading The Onion…..

  6. (Unfortunately this posting hit me at the perfect storm of anger and boredom. Enjoy the essay below.)

    Dear Mrs. Jacobson,

    I have read your note and I have a few suggestions and improvements of my own to make in addition to some questions.

    Maybe you would like me to pay for your sons private school after you withdraw him from our institution, because that is apparently the only thing left for the school system to do that you as a parent are failing to achieve. Perhaps we could dress him, teach him to tie his shoes, and instruct him on proper bathroom usage in the quite likely event that you have failed to pass along these basic societal pressures.

    I am in fact surprised that you even wrote us this letter. The effort required must have taken a lot out of your day so don’t feel as though you need to follow up. I can understand if you want to take a few weeks off to get your strength back.

    Now, should you feel obliged to have the school system raise your child and teach him to interact with society, let me tell him what we have planned.

    Step 1) I will rip off your sons precious necklace and burn it before his eyes, that should get rid of his little obsession with women clothing tags as well as sever his connection with his negligent and spineless birth unit.

    Step 2) After his suitably ineffective temper tantrum I will task your son with improving his enunciation with the classic rhyme “She sells sea shells by the sea shore.” In the quite likely event that this is impossible for him, I will simply verbally berate hims and mock his ineffective attempts at this exercise. I will continue to mock his efforts even if he correctly completes the exercise. This will help him learn that nothing he does is perfect and that his position within this universe is temporary and tentative.

    Step 3) Oh don’t worry about his schedule. I will be waking your child at 530 AM and putting him to bed strictly according to our schedule. If you will permit it we would like to move your child into the school to avoid the obvious negative influence your house has had upon him.

    Step 4) As for your insistence upon a Romanian Teach with a Polish accent, I can assure you that if you are being berated at a high enough volume, accent loses its subtle nuances and meaning.

    Thank you for your letter, I look forward into molding your son into an example which we all can be proud of.

    Very Respectfully,

    Anthony Kilgore
    Col. USMC Ret.
    Citadel Class of 1973


  1. The Top 5 Ways You Make Your Kid’s Teacher CRAZY « Do Your Job
  2. Let Your Children Speak and Advocate for Themselves « Do Your Job
  3. Teaching by Example: Do You ‘Accidentally’ Undermine Your Child’s Authority Figures? « Do Your Job

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