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School Principal Mocks Nut Allergies in Letter

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Is this okay?

Momlogic's Julie: Wow, if my kid went to Litchfield Elementary School in Arizona right now, I would be mad as hell.

Ron Sterr

A letter sent home on Jan. 26 with second graders attending Litchfield Elementary School in Arizona , written by principal Ron Sterr, has caused a major uproar. And once you read it, you'll see why.

Sterr says he wrote a joke letter in response to caustic comments made by "an individual" and a teacher accidentally sent it home. He says he openly opposes the views expressed in the "mocking" letter he wrote.

The letter reads:

Dear Parents,

Turn off the TV for once and pay attention.

Regarding math:

The math we do is really easy. If your child is either too lazy or too stupid to finish it in class, I'm sending it home so that you can work with them and judge for yourself whether it is laziness or idiocy that inhibits your child's progress. We do part of it in class. How on earth they can NOT finish it is beyond me, but please help them with the part that we do NOT do in class. If your child is one of the mediocre few who excels on the homework, please congratulate them with a warm handshake or perhaps a halfhearted high-five, since finishing this homework is the equivalent of a twenty-year-old wanting to be congratulated for knowing how to tie his shoes.

Regarding Field trip lunches:
We have a peanut allergy in our room and a few in second grade in general. Because of this, everyone must eat nut-free foods. We also have a child who is mourning their puppy who got run over last week by a garbage truck, so we ask that no one wear anything resembling puppy fur, or that is red and flat. Further, one of our students has a nervous tic that causes him to slap himself in face several times a minute. In order to help this child not feel conspicuous, we ask that your child imitate a crazed masochist for the length of this field trip.

The principal has now been suspended. Here is the school's response:

On Wednesday, January 26th, an inappropriate parent letter was sent home with a second grade class at Litchfield Elementary School. The letter contained disparaging remarks about students which were unacceptable. The letter was authored by the principal, who was originally not forthcoming with parents in taking responsibility for his actions. The principal has called each parent individually to render an apology and take responsibility. The school district has placed the principal on administrative leave and has removed him from the principalship. Further disciplinary action is pending. The Litchfield School District renders its most sincere apology to our students, parents, community and staff for this incident. We are taking specific steps to remedy this situation.


I personally would be beyond mad if our school principal sent home such an insensitive letter, whether he was joking or not. I would be especially angry if my kid had a nut allergy or a nervous tic.

Thankfully, my kids go to a public school that is led by a principal I admire and respect. If a letter like this came home, I would be speechless.

Do YOU think this guy should be fired ... or do you think everyone is over-reacting? What would you do if you got this letter?

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96 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley March 12, 2010, 9:24 AM

I think what he did wasnt that bad, he was stating the obvious and its was a JOKE parents were really over reacting its not that big of a deal

Anonymous March 21, 2010, 10:42 PM

Very amusing.

Elizabeth March 29, 2010, 5:55 PM

Somehow I find the letter both hilarious and unprofessional. On the one hand, it seems blown out of preportion. On the other hand, Taking the principal seriously would be a bit difficult now.

clitz June 2, 2010, 2:38 AM

idk why you got so mad over this maybe your period?

Taylor June 17, 2010, 4:00 AM

I was a teacher for 15 years, now I’m the parent of a great 7-year-old who happens to have a peanut allergy. It’s not so much that the principal’s joke was offensive to me (though it was) but just the blatant insensitivity that it reflects towards kids and the “over protectiveness,” a word I see tossed around a lot, that comes with the needs of this particular medical condition. As stated by a few others here, peanut allergies KILL. They don’t just cause a rash etc. The reason we request restrictions around childrens school lunches (please give special attention to the word children) is that one wrong move, one bad joke, one knife not cleaned, one cross-contaminated candy they want to share, one store-bought cupcake, one kid that doesn’t believe the allergy is real (wonder where they get that idea) and decides to push it for fun, an experiment or because they are angry about something, plus multiple other scenarios, can cause death to my child. As little as 1/16 of an injested peanut can cause my son to go into anaphylactic shock. Is it really that much of a hardship to pack your child something else to insure that another child, perhaps a friend of your son/daughter, lives to see another day. The principal made a mistake, we all do. The problem I have with it is that it promotes the idea that we as parents of peanut allergic kids are all just a bunch of Mom’s who want special attention just for the fun of it. Trust me, we’d rather do anything else then worry every time our kids are out of sight that someone will make an error or be in the midst of protecting their rights by “having their pb&j if they want to have it” losing focus for just the second it takes and making a mistake, one that can kill a child. If you don’t care about our kids, then ponder for a moment if you really want your child to live the rest of their life with the knowledge that their small mistake (one that can be made in a split-second)ended a life forever. Kids don’t usually think past the moment, as adults we hope other parents will. It’s simple, asking others to avoid bring peanut products eliminates the risk.

kelby June 18, 2010, 8:31 PM

i think that this proves that he likes his job … because if he didn’t he would not have cared about the student and his class mates

Mommymcmom July 18, 2010, 1:31 PM

I think all of those people who are irritated and angry about peanut bans in schools either just don’t get how real allergies work, or just have a different value system than most of us were raised on.

Kids don’t have to ingest the food to get sent to the hospital, they just have to touch the tiniest amount. If your kid (who can’t seem to live without peanut butter for 6 hours when he/she is there to learn, not eat) eats PB and touches the monkey bars, the shared textbooks, the shared markers or supplies from the classroom, they are creating a very dangerous situation for the peanut allergic kid.

If you really feel it’s an infringement on your personal rights, than boo hoo. You think the parents of the allergic kids are overreacting?

You are acting like your consitutional rights have been violated because your child can’t go without PB durning the school day to make the EDUCATION environment safe.

And don’t pretend like your child is so clean they couldn’t possibly spread the peanut protein everywhere. You know you have to fight them to clean their own room and brush their teeth. You know they aren’t washing their hands after lunch if you aren’t there to make them.

I was raised differently. Your attitude seems to be “Screw you evil little allergic 7 year-old child. I’ll give my kids PB and let them touch the shared desks, crayons, markers, and playground equipment you have to use, and who cares if you end up in the hospital!”

Your attitude is the reason the bans are there. Just sending letters to the parents asking them to be compliant didn’t work. You refuse to be considerate of the saftey of others, so the school districts have to play Mommy and make you, so that someone doesn’t die trying to learn to read.

Those with a strong moral center would say “You know what, if it’s dangerous even just a tiny bit, it’s not worth the risk. I need to teach my Johnny or Suzie that caring for friends and classmates is more important than what I put into my mouth during the school day, especially when there are so many other things to eat.”

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