Detroit parents receive letter warning children could be suspended

Letter from Coleman A. Young Elementary berates parents who didn't attend meeting

By Kimberly Gill - Anchor

DETROIT - Kids from Coleman A. Young Elementary in Detroit were sent home with a letter scolding parents for missing a meeting and saying their kids could be punished as a result.

Derrick and Latrica Smoak read a letter their third-grade son, Landon, brought home from school.

The letter begins by thanking the 24 parents who attended a mandatory parent-teacher meeting Thursday, but goes on to berate the ones who didn't, saying there will be a makeup meeting next week and if the parents don't come to that one, their children will be suspended.

"I was like, 'Wow, is this a joke?' I really couldn't believe what I was reading," said Derrick Smoak.

"I don't like being threatened in no letter, especially when it comes to my child's education," said Latrica Smoak.

Local 4 called Detroit Public Schools and the district said the letter was written by teachers.

"Neither the meeting nor the comments regarding 'student suspension' were made out of ill intent, but rather to express the level of importance of students' progress ... as they prepare for the upcoming M-STEP test ... this spring," DPS said.

The explanation is little consolation for the Smoak family. With work schedules and homework, it's sometimes difficult to get to the school.

"The way jobs is going these days, you're not even allowed to take off an hour or two and go up to the school just for a parent meeting," said Latrica Smoak. "Parent-teacher conference is something different."

"I believe in options," said Derrick Smoak. "Let's find a date when it can actually work for the parents for the both of them, so they both can be there."

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