Education

Principal threatened detention for kids of parent night skippers. He changed his mind

The principal at a Spanaway elementary school backed down from threats to punish children of those who did not attend parent night, according to a report by KING-TV.

Thompson Elementary principal Ralph Wisner sent a letter stating that children would receive double detention (recess and lunch) unless parents provided a note explaining why they did not attend parent night. Wisner was reportedly upset by attendance at a third-grade parent night. He told KING-TV that only 19 percent of parents attended and he planned to redo the parent night on Monday.

A section of the letter printed by KING-TV: “We are a team, and unfortunately, too many of you let down our kids, and your child tonight. I do recognize that your child is being punished for you not coming to the parent night, but if we do not work together now and in the future, then your child will be the one who pays the price when they do not have the sklls (sic) required to graduate from high school or college. Then, they will suffer much more than a few lost recesses in elementary school.”

After parents complained to the Bethel School District, the district issued a statement that read, in part, “the principal’s passion for parent involvement got the better of him.” The principal reportedly was contacting each parent who contacted the district regarding the initial letter.

Wisner also sent a second email to parents that said children of parents who could not attend Monday’s meeting would not be punished.

“I want to apologize if I have offended any of you. Please know that was not my intent. My intent was to convey to you the importance of us working as a team in education of your child.

“As you can imagine, it was very frustrating when we had poor attendance at our parent night this evening. The teachers work very hard to ensure that you have the best information in order to help your child be successful. I know we are all busy and certain family circumstances may preclude us from participating in these types of events. In the future we will work with staff and parents to try and offer more options or a more convenient time so that you are able to attend.”

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