Retired Teacher’s Letter Draws Controversy After Saying ‘Parents Are the Problem’

May 27, 2019 Updated: May 27, 2019

A retired teacher’s letter to the editor, which was published in an unnamed newspaper, has frequently gone viral over the years.

It was first posted on Facebook a few years ago, garnering a significant amount of engagement in a short time.

The letter quotes the ex-teacher, Lisa Roberson. The newspaper isn’t revealed.

Roberson’s controversial letter reads in full:

“As a retired teacher, I am sick of people who know nothing about public schools or have not been in a classroom recently deciding how to fix our education system.

The teachers are not the problem! Parents are the problem! They are not teaching their children manners, respect or even general knowledge of how to get along with others.

The children come to school in shoes that cost more than the teacher’s entire outfit, but have no pencil or paper. Who provides them? The teachers often provide them out of their own pockets.

When you look at schools that are “failing,” look at the parents and students. Do parents come to parent nights? Do they talk with teachers regularly? Do they make sure their children are prepared by having the necessary supplies? Do they make sure their children do their homework?

Do they have working telephone numbers? Do the students take notes in class? Do they do their homework? Do the students listen in class, or are they the sources of class disruptions?

When you look at these factors, you will see that it is not schools that are failing but the parents. Teachers cannot do their jobs and the parents’ job. Until parent step up and do their job, nothing is going to get better!”

Her letter drew both praise and criticism from people. Some believed that parents have the primary responsibility to teach children manners and respect, but others blamed the teacher for not trying enough and being judgmental.

The letter in full (Facebook)

“I can’t agree more! The majority of failing schools house the kids of failing parents,” one person wrote on Facebook.

Added another: “That is why my wife stoped teaching after 10 years in a inner city school. In addition to the parents you can add the lack of school administration support that ultimately places the blame on the teachers.”

Said another, “Well if government allowed parents to teach their kids respect which is putting that [expletive] whooping back on them the kids would give respect. Kids now days calling the police because their parents are trying to discipline them, and [the] parents get fined or put in jail.”

But not everyone agreed with Roberson’s sentiment.

“Most backwards, moronic, one-dimensional piece of judgmental [expletive] I’ve read in a long time! Wow. It’s a GOOD thing that teacher is retired. This is no way to approach teaching or meeting families where they are, or building any kind of decent working relationship. This is just a pathetic display of judgment,” the commenter wrote.

Another said, “Most of the time it’s the school not all teachers were meant to teach…as the one who posted this mess…you have to learn to reach out to your parents no matter how hard it is.”

Others called for a more holistic approach

One said, “It takes parents,teachers and children wanting the education plus the administration working together!”