Some parents of students at the B.U.I.L.D. Academy in Buffalo, New York had complaints of their own after receiving a handwritten complaint letter from their children’s pre-kindergarten teacher. The note sent home with some students read in part, “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.” The teacher went on asking that parents address the matter as, “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.”
It’s a message that has many outraged saying that the teacher needs to exercise more compassion as an educator in the Buffalo community, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2007-2011 had 29.9% of its population living below the poverty level. Others said that the situation warranted a phone call to the parents or a school social worker. As reported by WIVB News 4, the teacher’s note was sent without the principal’s permission and the school’s nurse is equipped with clean clothes for any student to wear should they need them.
Kimberly Wells found the note in her granddaughter’s backpack. "The first thing she asked me is, 'Do my teacher think I stink?' I told her, 'No, you don't,'" the grandmother said. Understandably, Kimberly was upset with how the situation was handled telling WKBW Eyewitness News, “She's teaching the kids how to segregate other kids. You're showing how to outnumber another child. That’s not right. That’s not what we’re in school for. That could have been, hell, she could have called the parent on the phone. She could have had a meeting at the school face-to-face." Kimberly also told WIVB that she attempted to address the teacher about the issue, “I did try to talk to the teacher about this and she didn’t want to hear nothing I had to say.”
The Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools, Dr. Pamela Brown, would not answer questions about whether any action would be taken against the teacher, but she did tell media, “I think it's extremely important that we always demonstrate respect for all of our children and for all of our families."
The letter was brought up in a recent school board meeting however no decisions were made to reprimand the pre-K teacher. Mary Ruth Kaspiak of the school board said, "We must do things to help our students. We can't do things to discourage them and we don't want to send out mixed messages."
Kimberly doesn’t want to see her granddaughter’s teacher fired, but wants her to know that letters like the one she sent are inappropriate. Enough said.
WIVB News 4 report: