Thursday, March 31, 2005


I thought this would be a good laugh. Below is a letter I wrote to my son's teacher in regards to an incident at his school where he apparently attempted to burn an ant with a magnifying glass. I guess this somehow disturbed her to the point where she had to give my son a behavior report and send it home to me to be signed. Now don't get me wrong here, as my letter will indicate, I don't have a problem with his being disciplined, just for what he is being disciplined for. Read below and you will understand. The names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

DATE: March 31, 2005

TO: Mrs. R.

RE: Behavior Report

Dear Mrs. R.,

While I appreciate your concern for my son’s well being, I must say that I do not agree with this behavior report regarding his burning of an ant with a magnifying glass. I do not agree that his doing this demonstrates a lack of self respect or respect for others given that the “others” in this situation is a bug. Utilizing such logic to its end would suggest that it is disrespectful to even squash a spider or some other insect while walking to the lunch area. Yet, the safety aspect of this incident didn't’t seem to have been addressed here. Are we to say that an ant is deserving of respect more so than my son's safety? In regards to self respect, I am lost on that particular assessment as I do not see how burning an ant indicates a lack of respect for self. Perhaps you are equating the level of respect for a bug with a level of respect for my son? I hope not.

My son also mentioned to me a remark you made to him regarding his professing to be a Christian. Something to the effect of him being a "fake Christian"? I do understand condemning his actions but questioning his faith on the basis of such actions seems a bit extreme to me and really has nothing to do with his faith. We are talking about a curious 9 year old doing what many if not most kids his age do. I myself can attest to having tried the same thing as a child, my parents saw it as no big concern then and I, as a parent do not now. Now, I do understand that sometimes children can mis-communicate when relaying information so I will give you the benefit of the doubt on this one.

In addition, I do agree that he should not have attempted to burn the ant, yet for a different reason, that being the issue of safety for himself and fellow classmates. Utilizing a magnifying glass in such a manner should be construed as a fire hazard and therefore a potential danger to all students. If anything, this incident should have been an impetus to instruct my son and the rest of the class in fire safety and responsibility. It would seem that what my son received out of this encounter was the notion that ants deserve respect.

As a result of my assessment I’ve encouraged my son to re-write his behavior report to reflect the notion of safety rather than respect. If you have any questions regarding this letter please feel free to contact me.

Thank you.

Jerry McClellan Sr.

Graphic Designer




I haven't heard from his teacher yet, but I am sure I will be getting a response some time in the near future. It is amazing, here you have opportunity to teach a young impressionable mind the values of responsibility, respect for others(people that is), and about fire safety and he gets an apparently short lecture about being a fake Christian and respecting ants. Amazing! If any of you are wondering, yes, this is a public school. A charter school at that. And yes, I am planning to remove him and possibly home-school my children if not put them into a private school. The only reason I find this situation humorous is that I am confident in what I teach my son and know that whatever gobblygook he gets from school will be filtered out into truth when he gets home with me. Enjoy the laugh!


JL Pagano said...

I am surprised you directed the focus of your response on the ant issue. I would be more inclined to demand an explanation for my teacher accusing my son of being a "fake Christian"!!!! And that wouldn't merely warrant a letter either; I'd ask her to her face!!! I'm a liberal and even I think that's taking the no-school-prayer thing too far!

Jerry McClellan said...

In regards to the "fake Christian" comment, I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. The ant issue was specifically relayed to me by both my son and his teacher over the phone but I didn't find out about the behavior report until the next day when my son brought home the form. This is when I probed a little more and found out how the situation was handled and specifically the comment made regarding his faith. In light of this I decided to give her the opportunity to at least clarify her statements before unleashing "hells fury" upon her.


Anonymous said...

Since it's a public school there's likely information about how much the school and district spent for pest control.

You may wish to alert the teacher to the massive disrespect being exhibited to our six legged friends.

This would give you the opportunity to equate routine extermination to the Holocaust, the district to Auschwitz and a chance to work in a variation of the Stalin quote, something like: 'The torture and killing of one ant is a tragedy, killing 100,000 a statistic which takes a three bid contract'

I've got a 9yo and about 5 different magnifying glasses with differnt focal lengths ... as long as he stays on the sidewalk or driveway, away from tinder, we'll be fine.

Good luck

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