April 24th, 2004

bundled up, walkabout, snow

few words


house, as usual, cleaner hours after it started than before the first guest arrives.

Would have been a great party. Great day.

Note to self: mail isn't always friendly.

The letter from Umbridge:

Dear [me] & [Flar],

[The business manager] has informed me that you had planned to re-enroll
[Tigger] at TLS next fall. I was surprised, knowing your displeasure
with us over a number of issues this year: the termination of 9th
grade, the new dress code, 8th grade English, chess club, etc.

After careful thought, I have concluded that it is in
[Tigger]'s best interest and the school's that he not re-enroll for
next fall.

When the views of the parents and school conflict on many
issues, the child is aware of it, and his education is unavoidably

[Flar], I know that you are a graduate of TLS, and I am
therefore particularly regretful about the need to make this decision.

We wish both your boys well with their further education.



CC: [Head of Middle School]
[Head of Lower School]
[President of Board of trustees]
Executive Committee

Kind of threw me off. Called Flar, who was outraged, and told me to make a few calls to try to arrange meetings for when he is back. Vented to Wolf and Sydb, who were online. Cried a lot. We have a big house. The sleep-over mostly runs itself.

Caught up on dishes, mail, papers, coupons, and tables. The kitchen table currently has sorted piles so when I can think again, I can finish it off: bills to post, things to email Flar about, things to read, and things to do that aren't bills-related.

I never got to the top of the jacuzzi, so there's still laundry (only mine) to fold.

I got the rest of the toilets and sinks cleaned before the party got going, and if I touch them up on Friday, then I'll add bathroom fixtures to my caught up checklist.

Two of the kids are leaving the house at 9am. My radio is coming on (very loudly) at 7.

I predict sleeping for tomorrow. Around calling the president of the board of trustees, and a couple of other people that Flar suggested I call.

And picking up my car. Grace is going to drop me off.

  • Current Mood
    numb numb
bundled up, walkabout, snow

Flar's volleys, or: my man can write

The sleep-over kids are all gone; the family room is one very large, neatly stacked, pile of games and two medium, neatly stacked, piles of magazines (most of which I intend to box up and store in the library) away from being All The Way Clean; the kitchen is back to ordinary one-day-of-use level of clean. We have no party related backlog, and all that cries out for general cleaning is the top of the jacuzzi.

I've left messages for the two parties that Flar wanted me to try to contact by phone today, I'm printing out letters that he's composed for me to send to the President of the Board of Trustees and to Umbridge.

I'm now going to immerse myself in others people's lives, by catching up on LJ. A quick scan indicates I'm up to skip=125, to get to material that I've read.

Then I'll sleep. With nothing scheduled for tomorrow, I even get to sleep in.
bundled up, walkabout, snow

Letter to Umbridge


We are in receipt of your latest letter concerning re-enrollment of [Tigger] in the next school year.

We are in complete shock over your "decision", and are in complete disagreement.

We intend for [Tigger] to attend the Lexington School next year, and do not recognize your "decision" as valid. Your opinions ignore two very important facts.

1) Our primary complaint with the school has been with your personal actions, style and administration, not with the school as an institution. After consulting with several individuals regarding the incoming administration, and after fully considering all the facts at hand, we determined that the next administration would return to the tradition or caring, rational and empathic headmasters that the school has had over the 24 years of [our] family involvement. Thus, we regard your administration as a regrettable aberration that will soon be over, and that next year, we can return to our normal level of respect and participation in the school community. Put bluntly, next year our problem with the school, you, will be gone, and we can start all over again.

2) The school offered [Tigger] a place, and we accepted via a signed contract. As noted in several places, this contract is binding upon the parents, but is also binding upon the school. [Tigger] can only be expelled through a long established process, which has most definitely not been followed. We have never indicated to you or any other administrator our desire to remove him from school. On the contrary, our previous correspondence has always indicated our anticipation of your departure, and a return to normalcy next year. Your "decision" is being taken at such a time as to severely limit our options for [Tigger]'s placement in other schools, and as such would severely damage his education. Once again, you have shown your disregard for the welfare of students. If you wished to encourage us to place [Tigger] in a different school, this issue should have been discussed well before the contracts were issued.

In separate correspondence, we are formally protesting your "decision" to the Board of Trustees, and requesting that your "decision" be overruled.

We regard this as a last gasp in a long stream of irrational and hate filled actions on your part. We eagerly look forward to your departure so that the school can return to its tradition of excellence.


bundled up, walkabout, snow

Letter to the Board President

Via Registered Mail

Dear [Board President]:

We are in receipt of a letter dated 21 April, stating that [Umbridge] does not wish for [Tigger] to return to the Lexington School for the 4th grade next year, despite our contract with the school.

We are hereby formally requesting your review of this opinion, and your approval to continue with [Tigger]'s educational career at TLS as planned and contracted.

As we are sure you are aware, we have had several conflicts with this interim administration over their decision making process, execution of decisions, communications style, and their complete disregard for the Code of Conduct. After consulting with several others in the TLS community who share our concerns, and after analyzing the pattern of actions compared to our past experience at the school, we came to the conclusion that [Umbridge] was the primary source and responsible party for the vast majority of our concerns. After ten years of a high level of satisfaction as parents with the school, one year of absolutely terrible performance can be attributed solely to the primary agent of change in the school during that time: [Umbridge].

In stark contrast, we believe that the incoming administration represents the type of leadership that the school needs and deserves. After consulting with individuals involved in the selection process, individuals who personally know the new headmaster, and after meeting with him during the school reception, we have the impression that he represents a return to the long record of excellent headmasters the school has had in the past. Intelligent, caring, empathic and a good communicator, we have confidence in his ability to make rational decisions, to appropriately balance the needs of the parents, students and staff, and his ability to listen to the concerns of all parties and reach a consensus that is best for all concerned.

As a result, and in concordance with the advice of several other parents, we have decided to suffer through the last weeks of the current administration, and look forward with optimism to the start of a new administration. [Our] family has had 24 years of involvement with the Lexington School, and as a result, we can take the long view, with past experience as our guide. We regard the current administration as a regrettable aberration that will be corrected with the start of a new year. Therefore, after long consideration of all the options, we made the decision to accept the contract offer of a place for [Tigger] in next year’s school.

We were shocked to receive [Umbridge]’s letter regarding enrollment of [Tigger] for next year. In our opinion, it is really none of her business, since she will no longer be administrator of the school. We believe we have a binding contract with the school, and that such actions cannot be and should not be taken at this time, and certainly should not be taken without prior consultation and discussion with the parents involved. We believe that this is yet another indication of [Umbridge]’s failure to properly communicate and consult with parents, and to work towards a consensus solution to all problems. We do not recognize her decision as either appropriate or valid.

We are eagerly awaiting [Umbridge]’s departure from the school, and are fully prepared and committed to start all over again with a clean slate next year. We believe that once the source of conflict has been removed, we can return to normalcy.

Over the past few months, upon reflection, and upon counsel of other parents who are also outraged at the actions of the current administration, we have ignored the continual affronts and irrational decisions streaming from [Umbridge]’s office. We could have reacted strongly, and created significant disruption in the school, but viewed this as counter-productive. We decided to suffer through the last months of her administration, and start anew with the new administration.

If you wish, as part of this inquiry, we will be happy to bring before the Board a ringing indictment of the multiple instances of poor decisions, poor communications, and violation of the Code of Conduct exhibited by this administration. If you wish, we can bring to you the long list of other unhappy and disaffected parents outraged by the actions of this administration. We are by no means the only parents unhappy with [Umbridge], although we may be the most vocal. If you wish, we can hash through all of the problems that brought us to this point. But, today, we think this would be counter-productive. We prefer to put behind us and move forward into a better future together.

We had previously requested a personal meeting with the incoming headmaster to discuss some of our concerns, and he has agreed to this meeting. We would be more than happy to meet with you and any other board members to discuss our concerns. We believe that the proper action, as recommended in the Code of Conduct, is for all parties concerned in the matter to sit down and logically discuss the issues and jointly reach a consensus decision. We would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you, any other board members you may choose, the incoming headmaster, and [Tigger]'s current and prior teachers to discuss the situation, and reach a consensus regarding the best course of action for [Tigger] and the school. However, we do not wish for [Umbridge] to participate in these discussions. Her obvious bias and her departure makes her participation in discussions concerning next year irrelevant.

Please let us know when we can meet to resolve this matter to our mutual satisfaction.

Very Truly Yours,