parent support

New York Pre-School Teacher Sends Hygiene Note To Parents (But There’s Got To Be A Better Way)

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Hygiene note


What would you do if you received a letter from your child’s teacher complaining that the class was coming to school smelly and dirty? Hygiene note Well, that is what one upstate New York teacher is being accused of, and to be honest, the hygiene note is pretty depressing.

The note, sent from the pre-school teacher at the BUILD Academy in Buffalo, NY reads”

“Several children aged 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 [SIC]. 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.”

Of course, parents are upset by the note, and I can kinda see why. I am a big supporter of education professionals, and I understand the challenged they face, but the tone of this note was unnecessarily harsh, especially for an area where 30 percent of the local residents live in poverty. One parent, Kimberly Wells noted that her granddaughter asked ” Does my teacher think I stink?” Wells went on to say that she wishes the teacher had acted in a more compassionate manner, maybe calling parents with this issue on the phone and offering support, or a meeting. When Wells tried to talk to the teacher about the incident, she was allegedly less than forthcoming:

“I did try to talk to the teacher about this and she didn’t want to hear anything I had to say.”

Though the note was sent without the permission of the school’s administration, they have decided not to punish the teacher. I can’t say I disagree with that decision. I understand how difficult a teacher’s job can be, especially in a public school located in a low income area, where there is usually a lot less funding and support for teachers. I do think she should be given some sort of sensitivity training, because the note was far from professional, and probably did more harm than good.