Dear Parent: Your Student Received a Failing Grade

I was naturally curious when a letter arrived in the mail from Kyle’s middle school. (He’s in ninth grade.) Tearing the envelope open, I noticed it was a copied form letter.


To the parent/guardian of (my son’s name penciled in here):

It has come to our attention that your student received a failing grade in one or more core classes for first semester. Since a failing grade greatly decreases a student’s opportunity for successfully passing future core classes, we strongly suggest that a remediation course be taken.

(blah blah blah blah)


Assistant Principal Smith


At first I felt mild irritation, and then medium irritation. (On the salsa scale, I was moving toward hot.) So I decided to write a response back to the school.


To the Assistant Principal of (school’s name penciled in here):

It has come to my attention that your school has given a failing grade to a special needs student who is being mainstreamed in a regular-ed class. Since assigning a failing grade to an autistic child indicates you are not making adequate classroom accommodations for his disability, I strongly suggest that the school administration and faculty take a remedial course in special education.

(blah blah blah blah blah)


Kristyn Crow


Alright, so I don’t really plan to send the letter. (But writing it helped; I’m back to mild on the salsa scale.) I do plan to call first thing on Monday. In my opinion, no child with a legitimate cognitive delay should ever receive an “F” in a course. My son is showing up every day with a smile on his face and eager to learn, and is doing so at great disadvantage due to his disability. There is no failure in that. I’m certain that with a single phone call, I’ll get a big “whoops” and “we’re so sorry,” and Kyle’s “F” will magically disappear. Somebody forgot to tell somebody, who forgot to tell somebody else, that Kyle is a special needs student. This is a case where the school gets an “F” for their breakdown in communication. (Don’t worry class, there will be a make-up test after school.)

Salsa, anyone?

Kristyn Crow is the author of this blog. Visit her website by clicking here. Some links on this blog may have been generated by outside sources are not necessarily endorsed by Kristyn Crow.

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