Teachers at Coleman A. Young Elementary in Detroit, Mich. sent a letter home with children last week threatening the little kids with suspension if their parents do not show up to a parent-teacher meeting.
In the letter, the taxpayer-paid teachers described the meeting as compulsory for parents, reports local NBC affiliate WDIV-TV.
The letter thanked two dozen parents who showed up for a meeting on Thursday. It also scolded parents who did not appear at the meeting and offered the opportunity to attend a make-up date.
Then, the teachers’ letter threatened to suspend grade-school-aged children unless their parents go to the make-up meeting.
Some parents aren’t happy.
“I was like, ‘Wow, is this a joke?’ I really couldn’t believe what I was reading,” Derrick Smoak, the father of a third-grade boy, told WDIV.
“I don’t like being threatened in no letter, especially when it comes to my child’s education,” Latrica Smoak added.
Not all parents can make the time to attend a meeting at a time set by teachers, the Smoaks observed.
“The way jobs is going these days, you’re not even allowed to take off an hour or two and go up to the school just for a parent meeting,” the mad mother told the NBC affiliate.
“Let’s find a date when it can actually work for the parents for the both of them, so they both can be there,” Derrick Smoak suggested.
Officials with the Detroit Public Schools laid all the blame for the letter on teachers at Coleman A. Young Elementary. At the same time, school district officials did not criticize the letter. Instead, they emphasized that attendance at a parent-teacher meeting is critical because a big Common Core-related standardized test is on the horizon.
“Neither the meeting nor the comments regarding ‘student suspension’ were made out of ill intent, but rather to express the level of importance of students’ progress,” school officials explained, “as they prepare for the upcoming M-STEP test.”
Public schools across Michigan are required to administer the M-STEP test, a comprehensive test of English and math skills for students from 3-8, for the first time this spring.
Coleman A. Young Elementary is named in honor of Coleman Young, mayor of Detroit from 1974 to 1994. He was Detroit’s first black mayor.
Young’s 20-year tenure as mayor was marked by a steady increase in crime, a severe economic decline and an unremitting population collapse.