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Recently a public Pre-school teacher from the BUILD Academy in Buffalo, NY sent a handwritten note home to her student's parents with the words "Urgent Notice!!!" at the top. She details in the note that "several children ages 3-4" Come into class with "soiled, stained or dirty clothes," some with "unpleasant smells." She goes on to say that it makes it difficult for her to "want to be close to them or even want to touch them." She ends the note with the course line, "Enough Said," and asks that all parents and children in the class sign her notice and return.
This note and teacher are not only uncouth, but this is highly unprofessional and uncompassionate, and I really hope that she is being reprimanded by her superiors. For a teacher to ever tell a child she doesn't want to be near them or touch them is just terrible. Why exactly did she accept a job in a urban school if she looks down with disdain on those that are less fortunate than her?
I know that many people will disagree with my stance on this issue, but it simply isn't a requirement to have running water and/or electricity to live. It is also not a requirement to maintain certain hygienic rituals to live and raise children. It's not even mandatory to smell a certain way. nor is it mandatory to wear unstained clothing to attend a public school. But it should be a requirement to have some compassion to be a teacher.
These are 3-4 year olds. If they live in conditions that are not great, it certainly isn't their fault, and I doubt her letter that was written only to shame them isn't going to hit home like she hopes it will.
Buffalo is an urban area, not unlike our own community, and yes, there are a number of families living in poverty in their district, as there is in ours. Not everyone lives like you might wish, and yes, it is sad when children have to live in situations that are not ideal. Of course, if there are safety issues or illegal activity or children are being neglected in a home, then a teacher is mandated and should call the authorities or CPS. In cases where children are just not living up to her standards, then she should hug that child tight and teach them how to take care of their needs and wash themselves, etc.. If there are specific cases which need further attention, she should handle it privately on a case by case basis or meet with families to see if there are any services that they might benefit from; not send them accusatory notes that are written simply to shame and embarrass them. And frankly if there are kids in her class that she doesn't want to be near, then she should just suck it up. What ever happened to tolerance?
This teacher needs to find a new profession. One where she doesn't have to "come close" to children in poverty that don't meet her standards. Teachers should be compassionate, kind, helpful and be a person that young children can come to or lean on for help, not shame or be disgusted by.