Childrearing

Principal Ruins Cool School Pajama Party by Getting Weirdly Literal Over the Definition of ‘Pajamas’

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oprah-favorite-things-pajamas__1415125122_162.232.205.198If pressed, I suspect we probably all have a vague definition in our minds of what constitutes “pajamas.” It’s probably just a rough visual, and maybe you have opinions about whether or not yoga pants count as pajamas if you sleep in them, but you probably don’t really care. I mean, they’re pajamas. Who cares? But one New York principal decided that pajamas are serious business and got so adamant about pajama orthodoxy that he ruined what was supposed to be a fun PJ party for kids at his school.

According to SheKnows Parenting, PS 002 in Brooklyn was holding a pajama party fundraiser for Valentine’s Day. For $2, the kids could hang out at school in their pajamas and have a party. Sounds fun, right? The party was held in the gym and included a DJ, cupcakes, and dancing. It sounds pretty awesome, actually, but then Principal Machael Spencer Edwards decided it was very important that the literal definition of “pajamas” be protected, and he allegedly stood in the doorway and barred entry to any kids who were not wearing what he deemed to be pajamas.

The flier that informed the third- through fifth-grade kids about the pajama party didn’t even mention that pajamas were mandatory, so many of the kids assumed the PJs were optional. Many of the students thus showed up not in pajamas because they weren’t comfortable wearing their sleeping clothes in public. PS 002 reportedly serves a lot of low-income students. Some students couldn’t even afford the $2 entry fee, and new pajamas are a luxury. It’s understandable that kids wouldn’t want to show up in their pajamas if they didn’t have any, or if their pajamas had holes or discolorations or weren’t new-looking enough.

“Maybe their pajamas have holes or are too small,” one mother told the New York Post. “You don’t know if they’re poor or sleep in underwear and a T-shirt.”

Still, school faculty say the principal told them “No pajamas, no entry,” and stood at the entrance to make sure kids were wearing proper PJs and turn away those that weren’t. Those kids had to go hang out in the cafeteria instead of enjoying the fun party. Some teachers told the New York Post that some of the third graders were turned away in tears because they weren’t in pajamas. (Some of the teachers also reportedly supplied cash for students who couldn’t afford the $2 entry fee.)

Even for kids who did wear their sleeping clothes, Principal Pajama Stickler decided to lay down the law. One fifth grader reportedly forgot his pajamas, so he called his parents to bring him some. (Ugh. That call. You’re settling in for work or whatever it was you were doing and all of a sudden, ‘Mom! I forgot my pajamas for the pajama party at school!”) But his parents were super nice and brought them for him. Unfortunately, that kid sleeps in a T-shirt and basketball shorts. He changed into them, got in line for the party, and was promptly turned away by Principal Pajama Stickler.

This whole story is so weird! Who decides that they care so much about pajamas that they make kids miss a party? The people who make pajamas probably don’t care as much about pajama orthodoxy as this guy.

On top of all that, the New York Department of Education maintains that any fundraisers held on school grounds during the school day must be open to all students.