Can your complaining at school actually hurt your kids?

A mom from Atlanta is raising cane at her children’s school in New York City about the junk food they are being served.

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MeMe Roth, an Upper West Side mother of two who runs the group National Action Against Obesity, doesn’t have a problem with the lunches the school is serving. Instead she’s upset about all the sugary treats being given to her children on a fairly regular basis at school – doughnuts in gym class, cupcakes for birthdays, and candy for Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the full story from The New York Times.

The debate of whether schools should allow parents to send in cupcakes and other treats for birthdays and holidays isn’t a new one to this blog. We have talked about it many times. (December of 2006 — Cupcake Controversy: Tasty treat or Evil?) And we can talk about it more today if you want.

But what interests me more about this story is the fairly aggressive way this mother is approaching her school and the other parents in her community. And I’m wondering if there is a point at which a parent complaining at a school could actually hurt their children?

Check out this part of The New York Times story:

After sending a heated email to the school about some of the treats, Ms. Roth and her husband went in for a meeting.

“What followed was the kind of meeting in which bureaucracy masquerades as farce, or maybe it’s the other way around. Ms. Roth and her husband, Ben, say they were told by Helene Moffatt, a school safety official, that if they considered the regular dissemination of junk food a threat to their children’s health and safety – and indeed, they do – they should request a health and safety transfer, something that generally follows threats of violence. That transfer request, they were told, would also require filing a complaint with the police.”

“Both parents left feeling they were being pushed out of P.S. 9, which they perceive as exhausted by Ms. Roth’s intense lobbying for, among other things, permission slips for any food not on the official lunch menu. It would not be the first time: The Roths previously lived in Millburn, N.J., where, after Ms. Roth waged war on the bagels and Pringles meal served to kids at lunch, received e-mail from one member of the P.T.A. that said, ‘Please, consider moving.’ That was in 2006, and P.S. 9 has been hearing about its transgressions against healthy eating pretty much ever since.”

“Her extreme methods have earned her attention before: The police were called to a Y.M.C.A. in 2007 when she absconded with the sprinkles and syrups on a table where members were being served ice cream. That was Ms. Roth who called Santa Claus fat on television that Christmas, and she has a continuing campaign against the humble Girl Scout cookies, on the premise that no community activity should promote unhealthy eating.”

She also sends out e-mails with lots of capital letters to other parents in the community. One dad commented that while she had valid points, she was too abrasive in her delivery.

On the one hand she’s fearless. She is trying to protect her kids and fight for what she believes in. On the other hand, is she setting herself and her children up to be pariahs at their school? (Did you catch the part where she was asked to consider moving? Can you imagine?)

I’m not saying parents shouldn’t complain and stand up for what they believe in, but I think they also have to remember their children have to “live” in that environment eight hours a day.

(Obviously if someone is bullying my kids or threatening my kids I’m raising holy cane and would be willing to pull my child if necessary, which I guess is how Ms. Roth feels.)

And I’m sorry as impartial as the teachers and principals should be and may claim to be, your child will suffer some consequences if you are a pain-in-the-a@# parent.

I definitely worry about being a pain-in-the-a@# parent.

I am at my school pretty frequently. (One dad asked me if I worked there.) I know my kids’ teachers, even the ones that teach electives. I know the administrators. I even know the lunch room monitors.

I am going to advocate for my children (because that is my job!) at the school, and I’m going to make sure they get what they need from their teachers and the administrators, but I’m also going to go about it in, hopefully, a smart way that doesn’t hurt my kids in unintended ways.

I try to contribute to the school as much as I annoy.

The final paragraph in the story suggests that Ms. Roth might catch more flies with honey — a very Southern solution.

What do you think: How much can you complain and advocate without putting your kids into an uncomfortable environment? Do you think Ms. Roth is over the line? How would you handle her situation? What other situations have you faced in your school? Would you be offended if parents sent you emails complaining about school policies? Has this ever happened at your school?

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69 comments Add your comment

Turd Ferguson

June 17th, 2009
8:06 am

Sounds as if the “mouthbreather” MeMe is jealous about her kids enjoying an occassional treat. MeMe is a fat pig and probably beats her kids way to often.

April

June 17th, 2009
8:07 am

First of all, I am offended by your insinuation that a teacher would make a child “suffer the consequences” for a parent’s complaints. I have dealt with unhappy and complaining parents before – some justified and some not – but I have never held the parent’s behavior against the child. I have known completely obnoxious parents who somehow managed to have charming chldren who were a joy to teach. I have also known obnoxious parents with obnoxious kids, and I have tried to set a good example for those on proper behavior because they are obviously not getting good role models at home. I have NEVER made a negative comment about a parent to a child – EVER.
However, I do believe the child will suffer. After all, Ms. Roth has made no secret of where these complaints are coming from. Some of that suffering will come from other children -what 8 year old is not going to be resentful if she can not bring her favorite treat to share on her birthday. The child will also begin to feel embarrassed by the mother. Most children reach a stage of adolescence in which the mere fact that they have parents is embarrassing. If Ms. Roth’s children have not already realized the spectacle she is making, they soon will.
You have to stand up for you kids, but if you truly believe the occasional cupcake is that dangerous, perhaps home schooling or some other non-traditional environment would best serve their needs. Every parent has the responsibility to make what they believe to be the best decisions for their own family.
Unfortunately, complaining about schools has become a favorite topic of conversation for many parents. Instead of focusing on the good things, too many people pick every tiny thing a apart, analyze it and criticize it. No school is perfect. I ignore all gossipy complaints unless it is an issue dealing with safety, and then I stay out of the gossip and find out facts for myself.

Becky

June 17th, 2009
8:09 am

I totally believe being involved to a degree. I wish my mom had been more involved when I was growing up just so I could have that fun surprise of seeing her at school. When my son was in preschool, I loved seeing his face light up when I would help out at school. It gave me a chance to see him, meet friends he’d been talking about and see what was going on in the class room. But I never interferred with teaching style and whatnot. He starts kindergarten in August and I am planning on being involved, but no Alpha mom. BUT…this cupcake lady needs to chill. It is a cupcake…not crack!!!! I doubt they are giving the kids 3 cupcakes at a time or shoving potato chips in their mouthes. Think of the issues she is passing on to her kids with this nutty behavior. Freak.

momtoAlex&Max

June 17th, 2009
8:10 am

I have NO trouble believing it. I am going to bet that we are going to hear from teachers and former teachers that HATE that type of parent. Although I am sure they will say they try hard not to take it out on the child. But we are all human.

This kind of thing has stopped me from complaining to the school. I don’t want to be “that” parent. I want to be supportive, encouraging, and helpful to my school. However, there is ONE thing I have figured out (and it only took me 3 years!): in ANY government institution, resources are limited. If you want your children to GET those resources (i.e. the better teacher, the good classroom, the advanced classes, the extras that go for free to those in the “know”), you have to fight for them. Sad, but true.

Photius

June 17th, 2009
8:20 am

I have seen these high powered parents (mostly amped up Moms) who throw their weight around. It ticks off the administration so when a separate problem arrises in the future they will ignore you. It’s all about how you treat people and some of these Super Moms are just flat out bonkers. Since they don’t work and are totally absorbed in “Mommy Land” this is their only outlet – focus on the kiddies.

Helicopter parents just go away….

Turd Ferguson

June 17th, 2009
8:33 am

April…get real!! You know it happens and you are probably one of the most frequent if not worst offenders.

FCM

June 17th, 2009
8:33 am

Absolutely. I come from a long line of educators who freely admit at family gatherings that some parents ‘get a name for themselves” and that they have no problem writing up those people’s children and doing stricter discipline measures.

In fact, I believe many of the issues that I have had with my children stemmed from my portrayal of a “Mama Bear” on occassion. (Mama Bear shows up when the teacher proves herself to be a drone or other socialist type teacher). Of course I have other teachers who loved me because I would do ANYTHING for them (that was legal and moral)….buy treats, work in the class, etc.

Now I have a great respect for REAL teachers, the ones who actually teach not spout the public school line. Those are the ones I like working with to futher all children.

So my question is this, when you have found that you did become ‘one of those parents’ is there anything you can do besides just capitulating to the system? Can you undo the damage so your child gets a better shake? Or do you move?

Involved Parent

June 17th, 2009
8:44 am

There are ways to get things changed where people feel good and empowered and there are ways to try to force people to do what you want. First MeMe needs to remember her kids are in public school – that means that all students needs and desires should be considered and not just MeMe’s view. I was involved in my son’s school until he went to college. I volunteered, got to know the teachers and administrators and got to know the other children also. This gave me a chance to have my viewpoint heard in a more casual environment. If MeMe wants things her way perhaps she should consider home schooling. If you participate in any public event, be prepared for other people’s viewpoints to be considered and given weight.

Nora

June 17th, 2009
8:45 am

This woman is a “publicist”? Who would hire someone as self obsessed and personally attention seeking as this common, vulgar little fishwife? And isn’t “publicist” the new “purse designer”, anyway?

I have raised all five of my children to adulthood. They are all healthy, athletic, warm, compassionate, intelligent, caring people. They ate cupcakes. And ice cream. And candy. And cheeseburgers. AAMOF, we’re having a four day long family reunion starting tomorrow, including attending two Jimmy Buffett concerts and will be liberally imbibing all kinds of “unhealthy” cheeseburgers-in-paradise, Landshark Lager, Margaritas, etc. Like the man says, we’d all rather die while we’re living than live while we’re dead.

I feel so very sorry for MeMe (and doesn’t that say it all…) Roth’s children whom she’s used and abused in her endless quest for attention. I’ve been on this planet long enough to know that these kids, if not removed from her insane influence, will have serious, serious health issues in the future. You know these kids will be the ones with the stash of Twinkies and Ding Dongs in their dorm rooms The second they are out of her greedy, needy control, they will shovel every cupcake and brownie and cookie and candy bar into their faces faster than you can say hog heaven.

motherjanegoose

June 17th, 2009
8:48 am

Meddling parents are not on any teacher’s top ten list. There is a difference between a parent who tells me ( as a teacher) that they are willing to help in any way and send in anything we may need i.e. ziploc bags or foil and those who are in your face and visible most every day….checking up on things so to speak.

There is a fine line between being involved and being a part of your child’s education ( which many parents today shirk this responsibility) and being an obnoxious parent who has to know and perhaps orchestrate everything.

Theresa…I am saying this nicely…you may not be a pain in the a$$ parent at all but if you worry about it, then perhaps you should ask the teachers. “I want to be active in _________’s classroom but I do not want to go overboard….please let me know…” At least this way they know your heart is in the right place.

Most teachers love parents who are contributing to the positive progression of the entire class but can spot a parent who has a secret agenda for his/her own child. We all want our children to succeed!

Honestly, I have had parents who were too meddling and I felt bad for their children as they were embarrassed. I have also had parents who we almost did not know and felt equally bad for those children as ( just like Becky said) they never had the chance to have their face light up when Mom or Dad showed up.

As a professional, I agree with April…I have never made a comment about an obtuse parent to their children. I admit that I have discussed parents with other teachers, away from children, and this could lead to a parent’s reputation being exposed by other staff.
Both good and bad…i.e. “if you get so and so…you will be so lucky…the parents are wonderful…”
“good luck with so and so….that momma will drive you crazy….” I do not think I am the only
( former) teacher who has ever done this…I have teachers tell me tales when I am in training workshops all the time. I never shared confidential things.

It is hard enough to teach in today’s classrooms. This lady needs to get a life. ( to me) Cupcakes are not worth fighting for and if this is a huge problem for her then she needs to send her child elsewhere. What if earth friendly parents were in your face about paper napkins and plates at parties? You cannot make everyone happy. Should 90 % of the children be punished for the rights of 10%…where do you draw the line?
Perhaps celebrations will go by the wayside and I am sad that this may certainly down the road.

motherjanegoose

June 17th, 2009
8:51 am

perhaps my post was too long…no time for a redo now…maybe it will show up

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
8:54 am

Great questions FCM — if you have complained to much can you undo the damage??? Teachers, how do you remove the label? Can it be done??

Nora

June 17th, 2009
8:54 am

Involved Parent — Homeschooling requires waaaay too much self sacrifice and nurturing for this selfish female. People like this trashy little narcissist live to abuse others. Parents like this don’t give a hot darn about their kids’ health and wellbeing — if they did, they’d stop making their kids’ every waking minute a misery. They only care about pushing others around and making a big noise and getting attention for themselves.

Frankly, I think CPS should step in before she destroys her kids completely.

Kat

June 17th, 2009
8:58 am

Wouldn’t it be easier on this mom if she just directed her time and energy towards her own children, rather than everyone else’s? Similar to the Gwinnett Harry Potter mom, she could say, “Look, son/daughter, if you eat a cupcake, candy bar or piece of cake or even look in the direction of a soda, there will be *%$#( to pay!” Then, let everyone else live his/her life in peace. Stop parenting everyone!

motherjanegoose

June 17th, 2009
9:00 am

Theresa…perhaps you can find my comment….maybe not? I will check back in later…
I am interested as to how a label can be removed…I have no suggestions on that one…maybe Kathy or Catlady can help.

itamazesme

June 17th, 2009
9:01 am

Complain to a cetain degree. Recently, I had to do so against an administrator. My child was falsely accused of something and he wouldn’t listen to her and threaten to suspend her. She called me (not the teacher) and told me to please come to the school. When I got there the story changed from the administrator a couple of times. My daughter also let me know that this person told her because she (my child) called me that he would hand me the referral slip personally. I got the principal involved. Long story short, the administrator was disciplined for his actions. I feel if i had not complained that nothing would have been done and my daughter would have been handed an unjust punishment. Now taking it overboard i wouldn’t do. In the end, somehow they do take it out on the kids. I also hope that teachers realize NOT all kids are liars and trouble makers and it doesn’t hurt to hear them out.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
9:04 am

I’m looking for it MjG.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
9:06 am

Deirdre

June 17th, 2009
9:19 am

I’ve only complained twice.

The first time was when a teacher downgraded my son’s test grade(which was an A) to a B because he didn’t do the heading on the test correctly(Name, Class Period, Date) I pointed out that a child’s grades are the only indication of how well he’s doing in a subject and to downgrade a test because of a mechanical error was a faulty punishment. I told her I’d be perfectly happy if she kept him after school, gave him extra homework, etc. but to please not change his grade for something that had little to do with academics. She agreed.

The second time I went straight to the principal(this was after my son had tried to talk to the teacher) about a teacher who had graded a term paper draft with a 12 out of 100. I showed the work to the principal and asked him to just skim it and tell me what he thought of the grade. The teacher later apologized, saying that she had mistakenly subtracted instead of added the points. His grade should have been 88/100.

mom3boys

June 17th, 2009
9:28 am

My son’s kindergarten teacher nipped the over-involved parent bit in the bud. As a veteran, she knew she wanted parents to help, but not too much. We were assigned a day of the week and a specific amt of time. That was the only time we showed up, otherwise it disrupted her schedule. She had very specific tasks laid out for us to do while there. All parents were welcome to pop in for lunch, parties, field day, etc. Learning time, however, was sacred.
As a teacher, I wish some parents would advocate more for their kids. Sometimes I see co-workers make mistakes–sometimes big ones. I sure wish some parents would call them on it. Some parents think the teachers know best for their kids. Sometimes we do (i.e. what is the best math class? should my kid sign up for honors in HS?); usually a well-informed parent knows best. I learned early on(before I went back to work) that it was my job to advocate for my kids. I need to choose my battles…you can’t be up there over every little thing, or they won’t listen to you. If my kid said to let it go, I did. If he was very upset by a situation, I got involved. Sometimes I was a pain–usually not. The more I was lied to, the bigger pain I became.

TuckerDad

June 17th, 2009
9:37 am

A parent’s job is to advocate for his child. Yes, a parent can go too far. But so can a teacher. The idea I think is to have open communication. My 20 month old is in day care. It is a good center with wonderful teachers, but things happen all the time that bother me. I speak up in a cogent and respectful manner. Some of the more prickly teachers and unfocused administrators don’t like it and probably don’t like me either. Oh well. But the teachers who care and the adminstrators who have identified the bottomline (the children) never seem to have a problem with me. Advocacy with a little social engineering goes a long way. The woman in the story has crossed the Rubicon.

Andrea

June 17th, 2009
9:45 am

I think the important thing here is respect. In the classroom, the teacher is the General. It undermines the credibility of the teacher when you have a pushy parent causing discord in the classroom. You can voice your opinion and even have a disagreement and still be respectful of the other party. I think this parent has no respect for the teachers or the administrators of her child’s school.

I am an active parent. I visit so frequently, I too get the questions “Do you work here?” and followed up by “Why don’t you work here?”. I was concerned about the soda machines and the candy machines in my child’s school. But, I worked with the PTA and we had the machines replaced with juice and water machines and got rid of the candy machines. We also organized fund raisers for the school (because those machines do provide revenue for the school). Turn a negative into a positive.

As much as I would love to say the child is not negatively impacted by the actions of a pushy parent, it just isn’t true. That child has to bear the labeling of his/her parent and some teachers will treat that child differently. That is a fact (sorry April).

I think every parent should be his/her child’s biggest advocate. But there is a difference in being an advocate and being a butt.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
9:46 am

moms3boys — i’ve only had one time at my school where I was disappointed with an administrators response – we found out rather abruptly that our kindergarten was going to be reduced by two classes. i went in to talk to the administrators about it – they gave me a vp who lied to my face and told me that no decisions had been made about it and not to worry. Like two hours later when my child got off the bus she had a zeroxed note in her bag stating that her class was being canceled and after 6 weeks in that class she would be moved to another class — highly upsetting to a 5-year old!! I understand they had to do it but I didn’t appreciate that vp lying to my face!!!! I never dealt with her again! I wasn’t going to waste my energy expressing any sincere concern about my children to her — she wasn’t listening and wasn’t going to help. She’s gone on to be a principal — I feel sorry for that school but I’m glad she gone from our school.

MJG — I am trying to helpful and not be a pain. I will express concern or question. The K class that I was room mom for gave me and my partner each a $50 restaurant gift card at the end of the year. I wasn’t expecting any thing and feel bad she spent so much but I think it indicates she didn’t think I was a pain, but helpful. I hope so. With the second grade class I volunteered in the fall to be a chaperone on the zoo trip in April — sleeping on the floor with 22 kids. She told me later she liked that!! I send education and psychological study stories to the teachers and administrators sometimes — if it’s something I think they would be interested in. I found the other day an adorable web site with science and math art that I thought the teachers, especially our science specialist might like in her room. I did sent a note to several relevant teachers and our principal saying I thought they might would like to buy or pull some ideas from for their classrooms. I hope that stuff doesn’t annoy them — it’s sincerely things I think they would be interested ina nd I don’t do it all the time.

Andrea

June 17th, 2009
9:50 am

One more thing – I don’t agree with (mom3boys) the teacher that schedules times in the classroom. Every school I have ever been in had an open door policy – parents could come at any time (excepting testing). I would really be alarmed if I, as a parent, was told I could only come on specified days. Learning time can still go forward with a parent observing in the classroom. If it can’t, I think that is indicative of a much bigger problem.

Volunteering in the classroom and observing the classroom are two totally different things in my opinion.

catlady

June 17th, 2009
9:59 am

The lady in NY needs to understand boundaries. If her kids are being given junk food, all they have to do is say “no, thank you.” Kids have to learn this skill to avoid drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol all the time. I think she does have mental health problems. Sort of a Munchausens by proxy sort of thing.

I generally get along pretty well with hovering parents, because I establish limits and redirect the parent’s attention to things she CAN do that are helpful. I have seen other teachers who get too caught up in the hovering.

Sometimes (this happened this year) I take the parent’s complaint as exactly correct and act on it as though it was correct. We had a boy who was getting into a lot of trouble. Called in the family, and they said other kids were picking on him (we had never seen nor had the boy ever indicated this was happening). So, to “protect” him, I moved him away from everyone and cut off his ability to interact and be “bothered” by the other kids. Of course, it cut off his ability to harm the others. And he hated it! But I was going by what his parents had told me (which I had to assume was the truth, although they could give no examples of it happening), and I was “protecting” him. Of course, he changed his behavior because he wanted to be sitting near the others and I achieved my goal of shaping his behavior so he wasn’t constantly trying to start stuff. Those of his other teachers who decided to follow my lead saw marked improvement as well.

My daughter, a third grade teacher, had a girl whose parents were into the whole power thing. They wanted their daughter to be called by her nickname, which was similar to “Precious Baby”. None of her teachers were willing to do that, but my daughter took their various complaints as adult to adult interaction (which took away the gamesmanship the dad was constantly trying to pull). At the end of 3 years, when she left our school, her parents proclaimed my daughter as the only “good” teacher she had had. Of course, it was by calling their bluff on the games and refusing to participate. (For example, they wanted her in a higher reading group than she was ready for. By Gawd, they were going to the school board! My daughter (to catch her up) sent home all the work she had missed by skipping 2 groups and the parents got to see exactly how far behind the group she was. And they got the joy of trying to help her overcome her deficits) And of course over the next 2 years they saw the results of her skipping ahead of her skills. Another example: the girl was constantly wanting to leave class to go to the bathroom. Parents DEMANDED that she be allowed to go whenever she wanted, so the teacher had her sign in and out of the class each time she went. Turns out she was missing about 20 minutes per hour. The parents were angry because she was the only one made to sign in and out (they decided it was because she was a Christian), but it did get their attention as to one of the reasons she didn’t seem to be keeping up with the class. The log was presented to them, though, as evidence she might need to see a doctor about her overactive bladder (adult to adult).

As to rehabbing your image. Parents can do this: Go and talk to the teacher about how perhaps you have come on too strong in the past, but you want to make sure the teacher knows of your interest and desire to help the class in general and your child in particular. Emphasize your interest in the whole class. LISTEN to what she says. Then, BACK OFF. Check in from time to time to see if any needs have arisen. If you have a wise teacher, your actions will speak loudly and word will get around that you have become a more helpful parent. I have seen this happen a few times.

One thing I feel sad about is the number of young teachers (young meaning less than 20 years of experience) who see the parents as the enemy. I tell them to focus on the things you have in common, which is that their child do well in school.

Matt

June 17th, 2009
10:08 am

For heaven’s sake, stop worrying about your kid eating cupcakes and start worrying about the REAL damage these indoctrination centers called “schools” are doing to our children: brainwashing them and stripping them of their individuality so that they can be turned into soul-dead, conformist members of the American consumer culture. One cupcake every now and then will not ruin your child’s health. Heck, if you GIVE one to the little guy every now and then, he may like you a whole lot more than if you were to keep cupcakes away from him at all costs. And complaining to schools, that will always fall on deaf ears, especially if the school in question is a public school. The people who run these institutions care about nothing other than squeezing every penny they possibly can out of the poor and middle-class families whose children are often forced to wear uniforms (even more money that must be shelled out by the parents to keep these “schools” happy), sit in alphabetical order, allowed go to the bathroom only three times per semester (I jest you not, this was a rule at the high school I attended), and forced to pay for their textbooks should the TEACHER lose them at the end of the year (this happened not only to myself, but also quite a number of my friends). I have a strong feeling that, pretty soon in this country, home-schooling your child will be the way to go.

motherjanegoose

June 17th, 2009
10:09 am

Andrea….my daughter once had a teacher who said she did not need volunteers.
I asked her later ( in private) ” is this because you have had problems with volunteers?”
She smiled and said, “how did you know?” She was a veteran teacher.

I think the teacher has every right to orchestrate his/her classroom ( within the school guidlelines). Some parents want to be in there every day and some parents bring toddler siblings that run all around the room and wreak havoc ( another story). There are teachable times that need to be done without distractions.

While some parents may be perfectly logical about your approach to volunteering….others are not and so a veteran teacher knows to set the pace. Teachers love volunteers but not those who turn the day upside down. New teachers may not know this. Kind of like having your mother in law come over every day when you have a newborn to check in on you and volunteer. Some Moms might like this and others would lose their minds!

Learning time CANNOT go forward with all types of parents in the classroom. Some parents need to back off and some actually are an asset to teaching. Additionally, what if 6 parents showed up on the same day, at the same time?

Theresa…sounds like you are on the right track…I would not give a gift card to a pain in the a$$ parent….LOL.

motherjanegoose

June 17th, 2009
10:16 am

catlady…I LOVED your post. We need to get together for lunch. I am glad I made the cut of over 20 years of teaching….LOL! You share so many things that others need to know and your insights are unparalleled.

catlady

June 17th, 2009
10:26 am

Teresa, it is possible that your AP did not know what had been decided about that kindergarten class, or (more likely) had been instructed not to say anything before the notes went home–everyone gets the news at the same time. That kind of stuff does happen.

Parents are always welcome in my class, but many teachers don’t like them coming. I used to have parent (and community) volunteers about 3x a week and I loved it. I rarely had a parent cross the line. I used experienced volunteers to mentor new ones. A few times I had parents who had a complaint/concern come in and spend time with us. That without exception settled the complaint.

When I was in grad school I used to visit my older kids (middle and high school) for lunch occasionally. If they were embarrassed, it really didn’t matter; I told them it would give them something to talk about with their shrink when they were older. My younger daughter was in primary school, and I was able (as an experienced teacher) to volunteer to lead the class in special art, or music, or read a book. It seemed to work well and I loved to see the class dynamics.

My current principal does not seem to value parents at all. She does not even say hello to them in the office. We have about 4 parents who can volunteer at all now (ours is a Title 1 school, with 70% qualfying for federal lunch) and most are dissuaded by the requirement to have a background check (how do other schools handle this?) Not to mention that they are treated like they are an aggravation. I really think we shoot ourselves in the foot by projecting that kind of an attitude.

catlady

June 17th, 2009
10:31 am

Well, maybe higher up than the foot!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
10:42 am

ours doesn’t require a background check just to help in the class – I think the PTA big ladies may have one — but I wish it did!! I’ll happy submit and I even told them I had just been checked for our church children’s program —

I think she knew they were going home and didn’t want to tell me ahead but if I took the time to come in there then the discussion should have gone yes this is happening what can do to help your child adjust and allay your fears — and as it turned out, it was a very hard year for Rose — she didn’t adjust well to the new class — the class dynamics were in place — the new teacher was not a great match for her personality wise — the teacher told me at first that I couldn’t volunteer in the class because their schedule was already set — I told her in nicer terms that that was BS — these children have been added to the class and the volunteering schedule would have to be adjusted as well. And it was!!! Instead of keeping her little secret, she should have discussed it wtih me and had me leave her office feeling better not coming home to a note and NEVER trusting her again!! And I was more than willing when asked to share that I didn’t think she was a very good AP — I wasn’t maligning her but she ruined her reputation with me!!

HB

June 17th, 2009
10:42 am

Personally, I don’t understand the attachment parents seem to have to cupcakes in school, and kids would never know the difference if the grown-ups didn’t make a fuss. The nutrition angle really is a valid point, so I say have the class sing Happy Birthday, encourage them to draw a card for their friend, give birthday boy/girl a paper crown and a birthday pencil, and let them be first in line all day. Voila — a celebration without an extra 200-300 calories of sugar and fat.

This woman, however, is a nutcase. I saw her on TV this morning, and she is aggressive and abrasive. Petitioning a public school not to allow junk food to be served in the classroom and to serve healthy meals is one thing. Physically shutting down the YMCA’s ice cream bar is another. She’s doing her cause far more harm than good. She’s so over the top, though, that I think teachers likely feel sorry for her children who are likely embarrassed by mom on a regular basis and go out of their way to be extra nice to them.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
10:43 am

Clearly it still really burns me up and I am very glad she is gone! I love who we still have and I think they are open to real dialog and to help parents with their concerns — What’s funny is if I had gotten the AP by chance I think it would have been handled the way I said. She is excellent and really listens to your concerns and helps work through them! Same is true for our Principal — She has helped me with both kids on numerous occasions!! I love her!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
10:45 am

HB — I wish I had seen her!! I hope that’s the case that the teachers feel sorry them and are nicer to them but it doesn’t sound like that with the one teacher who basically called the child a hypocrite because she ate chips.

catlady

June 17th, 2009
10:46 am

Funny–we were told it was a statewide law that anyone having contact with the kids had to have a background check, including classroom volunteers and parents riding the bus on field trips! No big surprise that we don’t have volunteers.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
10:50 am

I just Googled MeMe Roth and she has quite the list of stories about her — I hope she sincerely believes she’s protecting her children and not just using the complaint as a platform to promote the anti-obesity cause — does that make sense??

catlady

June 17th, 2009
10:53 am

No problem with being anti-obesity. No one is much pro-obesity. Anti-obesity is not the same as anti-obese. This woman seems to want a lot of attention. Maybe an Octomom in the making?

HB

June 17th, 2009
10:57 am

Theresa, I missed the part about the teacher calling the child a hypocrite — how sad. As for sincere belief that she’s protecting her kids vs. promoting the cause, I don’t think those are mutally exclusive. I’m sure it’s both, but she’s so self-righteous that she’s convinced herself any negative consequences the children face are worth it for this just cause. She probably thinks she’s teaching them a valuable lesson about standing up and fighting for what’s right.

sd

June 17th, 2009
11:08 am

The cupcakes, doughnuts, cookies, sugary drinks, really are out of control for kids.

I’m not gonna go complain to the teacher. I am grateful for what she does, but really, kids don’t need this crap. Adults don’t either.

When its my time to send in the snacks for class, I try to choose something healthy.

Original Becky

June 17th, 2009
11:55 am

Please don’t tell me that techers don’t hold grudges against silblings(sp)..My very first day of high school many years ago,I was called into the principals office for him to question me about some prior students that he had, that had the same last name as me..He wanted to know if I was related to them..When I told him yes that I was, he informed me that he was not going to tolerate me acting the same way that they did..

Even though I told him that I wasn’t anything like them, he watched me like a hawk my entire freshman year..Then after I had proved to him that I wasn’t as rowdy as them, he never apologized to me..

As for this woman, she needs to eat t couple of cheeseburgers and mind her own business..I think Nora summed things up pretty good..

32 Years In

June 17th, 2009
11:56 am

Theresa, I would make sure parents and administrators want articles about education before I sent them in. Most teachers get a lot of “reading material” at school inservice/improvement plan meetings and just don’t have the time for extra education jargon. However, good websites for kids to practice math skills, etc. are always appreciated and the teacher can include these links in her classroom blog or newsletter.

lovelyliz

June 17th, 2009
12:03 pm

Note to parents from a former teacher: DON”T COMPLAIN UNLESS YOU HAVE A SOLUTION. It’s not enough to have an issues, but walking into a school and ranting without a contruction, researched solution does not good.

Nora

June 17th, 2009
12:16 pm

–This woman, however, is a nutcase. I saw her on TV this morning, and she is aggressive and abrasive.–

I saw her this morning, also, and live in the town neighboring Millburn and had read about her shennanigans in NJ previously. This blog actually comes up high on the Google search list for Me-Me-Me-It’s-All-About-Me Roth.

The truth is she is a classic narcissist, which is a clinically recognized personality disorder.

Also, the problem with promoting herself shamelessly as she does is there’s really nowhere they can move to now. You’d think after you’d turned off enough entire communities, you might figure out that you’re the problem, not them, but that’s one of the indicators for narcissim — a complete inability to see yourself as others see you.

She’s not just made a name for herself among teachers and administrators, she’s made a name for herself among parents, and given that a lot of folks living in this area of NJ come from the Upper West Side, you know calls were made once they knew where she’d moved to.

And, of course, her children are shunned. Who would invite those kids to a birthday party or other private party? Would you want her and her kids at your beach house for the weekend? Think about it. You’d be afraid every time you opened your refrigerator door she’d sue you.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
12:19 pm

Welcome Nora — good insight — and good point about inviting over – i hadn’t even thought about that aspect outside of school.

Anonymous

June 17th, 2009
12:44 pm

Apparently, having your mother pose almost nude on the internet is not harmful to your children’s development but a cupcake is lethal. If you google search MeMe Roth and click images you get a little TMI.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2009
12:56 pm

well that is shocking — are we sure that’s her???

Anonymous

June 17th, 2009
1:15 pm

It appears to be her. I looks like other pics of her and when you read the comments that go with the pic, they fit.

Turd Ferguson

June 17th, 2009
1:27 pm

What a hodgepodge of silly diatribes/rantings that have nothing to do with anything of substance. You people need a meaningful job so you might feel of use to something or somebody.

Nora

June 17th, 2009
2:29 pm

Now I just feel bad for her husband as well as for her kids….darn it, woman, put some clothes on or get a boob job already! No one wants to see those sad old wet-sand-in-a-sock thingies flappin’ around!

Original Becky

June 17th, 2009
2:54 pm

Do men really think that it’s a sexy look for a woman to be that skinny? Thank goodness my husband doesn’t think so…Gheese, you can see her ribs bones…