You are principal of an elementary school with an enrollment of 550. A small group of parents is
meeting with you in your office. They belong to a neighborhood denominational church. You
have seated them around a small table.
The problem, the spokesperson says, is one of your sixth-grade teachers. She is having a
Halloween party and the children are to come in any costume they wish. “We object to this!
Halloween is nothing but a pagan holiday and is contrary to what we teach in our church. This
holiday has no place in a school.” Your school has no policy with regard to certain holidays.
What do you tell the parents? What actions, if any, will you take?
I Wish I Was Dead
You are the principal of a prekindergarten through grade 5 elementary school with an enroll-
ment of 530. It is 10.00 A.M. and you have just returned from a morning tour of the building.
You are reviewing mail, memos, and notes from various staff that have accumulated since late
yesterday afternoon when you were attending an all-district administrators’ meeting at the
Among other things, there is a short note from one of your fifth-grade teachers, written the
afternoon before. It reads: “I thought you ought to see this.” Stapled to the note is a piece of tablet
paper containing the last part of an essay by one of her students, a boy named Timmy. The as-
signed topic for the essay was My Favorite Things. Timmy’s essay concludes, “ . . . but I’ll never
get to have these things. Sometimes I wish I was dead. Sometimes I want to kill myself.”
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