We (Don’t) Care About Children Here

Dear Angry Parent,

Thank you so much for contacting me about the horrendous injury sustained by your child in the gym today, when he tripped while wearing Crocs, playing and running with a friend. I sincerely hope the four stitches required to sew up his chin will serve as a gentle reminder that footwear ought to be selected more for function than for fashion.

I understand your aggravation at the complete negligence of my staff. I, too, am disappointed in their performance. I have been working diligently with them, training them to stay at the far reaches of any child-filled space and look anywhere other than where the children are; when I learned that your son tripped while in arms-reach of his teacher, it was a crushing blow to my professional development program. Additionally, her concern for your son was alarmingly higher than I am comfortable with; I even asked if perhaps her proximity was intended only to perform a ninja leg-sweep that would take out several children at once, but reluctantly she reported that, no, she simply felt drawn by love and concern to stand near the play area. I agree with your assessment that they need much more training in child supervision, and I will immediately institute a mandatory training where I will personally deliver the curriculum I designed in my own home. I have dubbed it the Gallo method, consisting of heavy drinking on the part of the adult personnel while the children are plied with bags of broken glass and used needles and sent into the streets, naked, to play. It is my personal mission that we level the center’s standards to parent expectations, and you have my solemn word that I will not rest until every one of my teachers is criminally intoxicated throughout the work day from now on.

With respect to your concern about the future safety of your son: I must say, I was gravely concerned that you brought him back to the center less than twenty-four hours after we nearly maimed him here. MY concern is that you aren’t clear on the nature of accident and injury. What we specialize in here is the INJURY of children. This is our primary goal and our most valued achievement. I recommend that you consider keeping him home with you, where anything untoward that happens to him could only be categorized as a mere ACCIDENT. I would truly hate to see you subjected to the inquiry of Child Protective Services by willingly bringing him to our torture chambers.

You mention paying “top dollar” to have your child at our fancy center. This reminds me that you are still in arrears on your tuition bill, and I’m wondering whether and when your financial aid will be finalized or whether you will want me to once again subsidize your account.

It was amusing to note your comment about the possibility of my going to jail over your son’s injury. Although you clearly have no understanding of the bureaucratic scaffold and regulatory processes of early learning in Michigan, I am touched by your recognition that I am in desperate need of a vacation. “Three hots and a cot” sound really tempting to me at times.

Again, I am grateful to you for your commitment to partnering with us to make this the worst job ever for tender-hearted teachers who love young children. They come into this field only to get rich, and I’m delighted to have support converting them into cynical, addicted victims of strident, unrealistic, and abusive parents; the last thing we need in this world is a bunch of hopeful educators ridiculously trying to support at-risk children and their families.

Warm, brown wishes,

Lis Weston

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