I first saw the story posted on Facebook. The title of the article from Newsner read, “School wants parents to take responsibility - now their poster is spreading like wildfire online.” According to the report, a Portuguese school created posters with the letter below and hung it in their halls.

OK. I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of Newsner. I did a Google search to determine if it is ‘legit.’ It appears a lot of people are asking the same question. I must admit I also wondered why a school would post this letter in their halls. If the story is true, and the school did, I hope they also mailed the letter to all of their students’ parents. I hope it’s posted at the attendance office and at the front office, too.

I realized that even if Newsner isn’t real, and even if a Portuguese school didn’t post this, it’s definitely worth sharing. This is what the article claims is written on the posters:

Dear parents:

We would like to remind you that magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you, all begin to be learned at home

It’s also at home that children learn to be honest, to be on time, diligent, show friends their sympathy, as well as show utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.

Home is where they learn to be clean, not talk with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage.

Home is also where they learn to be organized, to take good care of their belongings, and that it’s not ok to touch others.

Here at school, on the other hand, we teach language, math, history, geography, physics, sciences, and physical education. We only reinforce the education that children receive at home from their parents.

WOW! That was my reaction when I first read it. And then I think I may have said, “AMEN!”

Thankfully, even in my final year of teaching almost four years ago, I still had plenty of students who were blessed to have parents who didn’t need to be told what their responsibilities were. They knew, and they met and often exceeded those responsibilities. I admit, though, that in the last five years or so of my career, there were a growing number of students who weren’t so lucky, students who hadn’t been taught (or hadn’t learned) the importance of good manners and respect, who left their trash on the tables after breakfast and lunch because “that’s the custodian’s job,” and who didn’t think being one-to-five minutes late was late.

Thus, I have a few more items to add to this letter to parents:

At home, children learn the difference between respectful language and cursing and that cursing should not be considered casual/public language.

Also at home, children learn that their school grades reflect what they earn and are not gifts. They also learn that their parents will not demand that a teacher or an administrator change their grades. Rather, they must work harder to earn a better grade.

At home, children learn the importance of going to school every day unless they are truly ill or there is a family emergency.

And at home, children learn that their parents are not their friends. They are their first teachers, their guides, their cheerleaders, their disciplinarians (when needed), their confidants, their source of happiness and love, and so much more.

I wish every school would send a note like this out to parents. Thank you to all of the parents reading this who don’t need a letter like this to remind you! 

Chris Ardis retired in May of 2013 following a 29-year teaching career. She now helps companies with business communications and social media and works as a sales coordinator for Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill. Chris can be reached at cardis1022@aol.com.