Bullet on the Stair Update: A 'Gentle Reminder' about Leaving Hunting Gear at Home

This is a follow up to my "About That Bullet on the Stair" post.  A week after Nonnewaug High School Principal Andrew O'Brien assured us that it was no big deal that he found a bullet on the stair at my daughter's school, another school district functionary sent out this note:

Region 14 Families,
The first day of hunting season is tomorrow, Saturday, October 18.  With the number of staff and students who are hunters, we want to send a gentle reminder to check your pockets, backpacks and cars and remove any hunting related items that are not in keeping with school safety and/or district policies prior to returning to school.

Thank you.

The sender of this message was one Eric Bergeron, the assistant principal of my daughter's middle school, aka, Woodbury Middle School.  During her seventh-grade year, Adella earned herself lunchtime detention during which she was required to write an apology to her math teacher for.  Well.  I still don't get it.  

It went like this:  Apparently, Adella played with her necklace or her scarf in a way that convinced the math teacher that Adella was mocking her.  

How touching your scarf and smiling equates with mocking a teacher, I do not know, and I didn't know at the time.  Which is why I went in to meet this teacher and to find out what the big deal was.  I'm still not clear.  But detention she got, and a letter she wrote.  The same administrator--the guy who sent the gentle reminder to gun-toting teachers and youth--let me and my husband know that we might not know Adella as well as we thought we did.  The smart ones can be tricky, you know.

So, yeah.  I fell over with laughter that the same daddy-o who sent out the gentle reminder to our gun toting kids and teachers to OBEY THE LAW and leave their bullets and guns at home just a few short years ago pulled out all the stops when it came to catering to the whims of a paranoid teacher.  

Which is why so many people have so little respect for public educators.  

Just a few short days after Adella earned lunchtime detention in the seventh grade, her friends a few desks over caught the same punishment for having a laugh before class.  "If you're having a private joke, it must have something to do with me or with this class," the teacher said.  

This is what we do in public education:  we hammer the good kids into the ground over nothing, but we send gentle reminders to the gun-toters to please remember to leave their guns at home.  Because to offend them is just too scary.  They are not the nerds we can so easily intimidate.


  1. This is infuriating. Especially pulling the card that the parents don't really know their own children.

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  3. It is so vexing to have to deal with such people. One of many your darling daughter will have to face in life. I hope this experience makes her stronger.

  4. How frustrating to see these contradiction of values being enforced in the schools. But Adela will survive and learn about the absurdity of some people and some systems.

  5. Aaargh! Yeah, I suppose Myrna above is right -- people like that principal and that teacher are going to exist and the kids will have to learn to deal with them sometime. But that is self-perpetuating. There should be a way to end the craziness.

  6. Anonymous5:13 PM

    Tell me about it, I have (had) experience with some elementary school teachers. Anything outside mainstream MUST be bad! The paranoia of one teacher is probably contagious, because I have a few teachers among my friends, but they probably are the "crazy" ones, lol!

  7. it used to be schools were safe places for all...

  8. I so agree . I am glad my kids are out of the public system.
    So much going on there I don't like.
    I feel schools are more geared towards satisfying pressure groups than they are about teaching.
    I think today, kids can learn more and better at home with computers than with a lousy teacher standing up front who doesnt know how to teach important things like math and science.
    And the thing with computers is that it doesnt care when a student shows attitude. lol
    So, it ends up more for the student to prove things, rather than for the teacher to prove things.
    Also things like bringing bullets to school, would not be an issue.
    I think schools need to be worried.

  9. I was fortunate, Sandy, to go through public schools when our culture was more stable. This particular teacher clearly has issues. I was quite shocked by the comment from the principal and felt it was out of line. I hope for only good things ahead!

  10. Something is clearly wrong with this teacher.
    Kids always have a laugh even for the simplest of things. It is only when we become adults that we forget to smile and laugh as often.
    I think the teacher is not mature enough and clearly unsuitable for the profession.


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