Justifying destitution

Dear (name of my daughter’s school),

Please stop telling me about important events, materials needed and other important stuff at the last moment. Thank you.

Justin Schoenberger


Dear Justin Schoenberger,

We wish we could do that, but we don’t know what the Hell we’re doing.

(name of my daughter’s school)


This started a few months ago on ice cream day. Each month, a local ice cream joint provides the school with Italian ice cups for the students. Each student must pay $1 for these in advance.

It was inadvertent, actually, that my daughter let the news escape her lips in the midst of a pity party triggered by something else one night: “ … and I wasn’t even allowed to have ice cream in school today!”

For whatever reason, I had not received the usual “we’re having ice cream on Thursday … send in a dollar” note from her teacher, assuming there actually had been one. So, in their infinite wisdom, school representatives chose to tell my daughter she couldn’t get ice cream because it would have meant possibly getting stiffed 100 pennies.

(That’s great for little 6-year-olds’ egos, isn’t it?)

I sent in a $20 bill and a snarky note the next day. My daughter should be covered through second grade.

Another instance of poor planning by the school came earlier this week, when the night before my daughter’s class was slated to take the stage for an Earth Day music performance, I saw a note stating members of her class needed a “kelly green” t-shirt for the show.

“What the crap is ‘kelly’ green?” I thought.

I Googled frantically. It turned out kelly green is the color of most Earth Day t-shirts. She had a lot of save the planet-oriented shirts this color, but none that were plain. So we frantically went to the mall during the narrow window of time between the end of the school day and her play and frantically found a plain t-shirt pretty close to kelly green, only to learn upon frantically arriving at the school for the performance the shirts didn’t have to be plain – she could have worn one of the shirts in her dresser drawer at home and saved us one of the most frantic experiences of our lives.

Had the teacher revealed the need for “kelly” green shirts, say, one week earlier, we could have figured this out at least a few minutes before the last minute. But no … this teacher apparently flies by the seat of her pants.

And finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and triggered my usual sarcastic remarks in a public blog: it doesn’t look like my daughter’s going to be able to participate in the Star Lab from Clemson University Tuesday. It cost $5, which had to be paid in advance. The money was due today – and parents found out about it yesterday.

I don’t carry cash. If the school sent home a form asking for debit card information or accepted online payments, they would have had the money in seconds. But any school that’s okay with making a child go without ice cream while the rest of her class has it isn’t remotely close to caring about what would make parents’ lives easier.


Dear (name of my daughter’s school):

You are a bunch of jerks. You do realize a child’s academic productivity can be adversely affected by low self-esteem, right? I’m not shocked your district’s graduates suck at the SAT and are part of a state public education system that‘s been ranked 38th-45th in the country (that’s out of 50 states – we have 50 states, just so you know) throughout the last decade. Get it together.

Justin Schoenberger


Of course, I’ll never send this note.

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9 Responses to Justifying destitution

  1. Syd says:

    Love your posts!!!! If you don’t advocate for Kalista….no one else will….

  2. Sandy Fluent says:

    This school is no longer a haven of education – it’s a money making scheme that basically teaches kids to distrust. They are telling their students that they don’t trust them enough to do the right thing. What a republican idea.

  3. Sharon E. Rixford Barber says:

    Justin…..send the note….you’ll just be deemed a “Yankee lowlife” and Kalista will be labelled as “…the poor child of a lowlife Yankee”….but they need to know who they’re dealing with…a parent who cares!!! Fight for Kalista….I did for 13 years for Jeff.

    • I do my best to fight for her without crossing the line that’s going to make them target her. I doubt she’ll graduate from a public school, as much as it pains me to say it. I’ve always been a huge fan of public education.

  4. Kim says:

    So bummed you don’t have better schools in your area. Did Kalista get to see the Star Lab? Those things are so cool, no matter what age you are.

    • I don’t know. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, but they wanted the money Friday. I will send it in Monday (I’ve already hit the ATM), but based on the ice cream experience, I won’t be shocked if they say it’s too late.

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