An elementary school principal in Washington wanted to give his students detention because their parents did not show up to an open house.
The Bethel School District apologized on behalf of the principal, who has since retracted his statements in an email sent to parents.
Thompson Elementary School Principal Ralph Wisner wrote an email to third-grade parents this week about low turnout at an open house.
Wisner wrote that it was “unacceptable” only 18 families showed up to the event. He wrote it was “inexcusable” and that they represent only 19 percent of parents of the grade, who attended to listen about homework and requirements for students to be ready for higher education.
The principal said that there would be a re-do of the parents’ night, and if families couldn’t attend, there would be consequences for students.
“To best communicate with me, I want you to write a note and send it to school with your child,” he wrote. “In the note, please explain why you were not here and let me know that you will be at the Parent Night on Monday. If your child comes to school tomorrow with no note, they will serve a double detention (recess and lunch). If they do not come on Monday with the note, they will again have a double detention (recess and lunch). If there is no note and you do not come on Monday at 6 p.m., your child will have double detention all week next week,” the email said.
After hearing from parents who were offended, Wisner wrote in a follow-up email that his message was flawed. Wisner said he retracted his order on detention, which he claimed was an “initial error” on his part.
KIRO 7 News reached out to the Bethel School District about the email. They sent this statement:
“In writing his email, the principal’s passion for parent involvement got the better of him, and the email should not have been sent,” wrote Bethel School District Director of Communications Doug Boyles.
“As soon as the district became aware of the situation, we were in contact with the principal. He drafted a second email, apologizing to parents, that was also sent last night. The new email states that no students are receiving detention because of parents’ absence at the open house. The new email also invites every parent who wants to further discuss their concerns, to contact the principal today.”
Wisner spent Friday reaching out to parents and talking about the emails.
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