The Mirror reports that a pretty harsh letter was sent home last week to students by a head teacher named Judith Barrett from St. Michael's Academy in Yeovil, Somerset, UK. It's fairly normal for schools to have very particular rules about how students can look, including dress codes. But this reminder about St. Michael's expectations gets really personal. The picture of the letter is a little blurry, but it was also typed out in full on their website (transcript below). Despite widespread scrutiny and outcry, neither the school nor the teacher are retracting or apologizing for the letter, although it no longer appears on their Facebook page.
A very big thank you to all of you who send your children in to school looking clean and tidy and ready for their school week. & These are very important life habits to get into which will serve them well in adult life. Unfortunately I have noticed an increasing number of children who are coming to school in a pretty shocking state. They are dirty, unkempt and not in appropriate school uniform, if in any uniform at all. Today, being that it is a Monday, quite a few have returned to school in dirty clothes and obviously haven’t had a shower in readiness for Monday morning.
There are also an increasing number who are not making any attempt to wear black school shoes, in line with school policy. There are also a lot of children who are getting themselves up in the morning and in to school as their parents are still in bed. In a country where there is plentiful running water and washing machines, and shops like Tesco offering entire school uniforms for £10, it is a pretty poor indictment of the parenting skills of some of our families.
I totally appreciate that life is hard for some of you but please make sure that your children are clean and ready for school and that includes the correct clothes. Starting next week I intend phoning home to contact parents of children not in uniform including black shoes, and you will be asked to take them home.
Yowza! Barrett certainly assumes a lot about the amount of free time and money parents have, and their reasons for sending their kids to school somewhat mussed. But some parents fully support her coming down hard on anyone struggling:
Is it more shameful to have a few kids with bed head running around during recess, or for your school to be known as the one where parents get scolded more than children?