Greetings, Roosevelt Elementary School parents! (Go Rough Riders!) As you know, we have set a date for school to open. Some students will pursue distance learning, some will report to the brick-and-mortar building and still others have chosen the hybrid plan, allowing them to try one way and then the other until no one is sure where they’re supposed to be.

Today we address those parents who allowed their child to become feral during the pandemic.

We realize most of our parents have had full plates since March. You’ve been tasked with working at home, supervising your child *and* keeping existential dread at bay. The loss of structure, purpose or the confidence that any of us would live to see another day led to subtle shifts in expectations and daily routines. Allowing your spawn to revert to unwashed nakedness, snarled hair and a tendency to bite when cornered during these difficult times was the most natural, indeed, loving approach you could take.

However, as we return to normal, or as I like to say, “the new normal,” we offer parents who have allowed their children to explore ferality these guidelines. Because while you might assume your feral youngster will be inclined to re-join his or her more docile classmates, studies indicate that the opposite is true: Exposed to even one feral child, as many as 22 relatively domesticated children will revert to a state of nature by mid-morning recess.

Therefore, we ask parents to take these steps before school opens:

  • Trim all nails—finger and toe—that have grown longer than two inches. This includes talons and protractile claws. Curved appendages, while useful for foraging and self-defense, are unnecessary in school and tend to mar the freshly polished gymnasium floor. Our custodians thank you!
  • Brush your child’s hair, removing all knots, mulch, and whatever you might find growing near the hairline. This is a big “ask,” but it is worthwhile in the long run. Entangled hair clips, breakfast cereals, free suckers from the bank, and “pocket pets,” including gerbils and white mice, distract from the quiet environment so necessary for learning.
  • Insist upon clothing. We aren’t unsympathetic, as those of you who attended last week’s informational meeting on Zoom and saw me, your principal, stand up to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, forgetting that I had forgone my usual khakis due to the heat understand. Still, educational protocols have established a clothed child is an attentive child, and an unclothed child is a violation of federal decency laws.
  • Language is a vital communication tool. Gesturing, grunting, and banging one’s head against the wall were convenient and understandable during the five-month shutdown, but please use the days before school opens to re-introduce your child to the concept of speech.
  • Gently remind your children that one does not snatch pizza, Oreos, or incisors from the mouth of one’s neighbor.
  • Quietly but firmly explain that not finding Mercy Watson stories amusing is no excuse for rappelling to the top of the art supplies cupboard and telling the teacher she stinks like a shit-eating monkey.
  • Diapers and/or poop corners are not appropriate for Roosevelt Elementary students. (Go Rough Riders! In the appropriate lavatory.) Retrain your child as necessary.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to school! Don’t forget to wear your face mask!

Samuel T. Birdshoot, Principal