Today we offer a collection of controversial letters which have gone viral in recent years. The letters were written to parents of obese children, “smelly” children, and a child with autism.
Below are three letters which went viral in 2013. All of them were directed at parents. One was from a teacher scolding parents of “smelly” children, while another was from an anonymous neighbor spewing hate about an autistic child, while yet another admonished parents of trick-or-treaters for having obese children.
3. Autism Hate Letter (Aug. 2013)
An angry letter from a “pissed off mother” told the family of a 13-year old autistic boy that they should “move or euthanize him.”
The rambling, anonymous letter was slipped under the door of Brenda Millson, grandmother of Max Begley, an autistic boy in Canada. It claimed to be from an annoyed neighbor, upset about sounds the boy allegedly made while outside.
Full of hateful speech, the letter ended by telling the family to “move or euthanize him” and also that the family should donate the boy’s “non retarded parts” to science.
The family contacted police, who said that the letter “does not meet the threshold for a hate crime” but suggested that other charges could still be filed.
Below is the full text of the letter:
To the lady living at this address:
I also live in this neighborhood and have a problem!!!! You have a kid that is mentally handicapped and you consciously decided that it would be a good idea to live in close proximity neighborhood like this???? You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be a nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling he constantly makes!!! That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL!!!!!!!!!! It scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!!!! When you feel your idiot kids needs fresh air, take him to our park you dope!!! We have a nature trail!! Let him run around those places and make noise!!!!!! Crying babies, music and even barking dogs are normal sounds in a residential neighborhood!!!!! He is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He is a hindrance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him?????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally, they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science. What the hell else good is he to anyone!!! You had a retarded kid, deal with it… properly!!!!! What right do you have to do this to hard working people!!!!!!! I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!!! GOD!!!!!!!
Do everyone in our community huge a favor and MOVE!!!! VAMOSE!!! SCRAM!!!! Move away and get out of this type of neighborhood setting!!! Go live in a trailer in the woods or something with your wild animal kid!!! Nobody wants you living here and they don’t have the guts to tell you!!!!!
Do the right thing and and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!!
One pissed off mother!!!!
The family said that the only other incident involving boy occurred four years ago, when he threw a ball over a fence, and it was anonymously returned shredded. The boy received an outpouring of support on social media, with the hashtag #loveformaxwell trending on Twitter at that time.
The author of the letter penned her anger without a firm grasp of the facts, unaware that this was not the boy’s full-time residence. It’s also unlikely that the anonymous mother could know the depth or circumstances surrounding Max’s autism, and made assertions based on assumption and ignorance.
As pathetic as the letter reads, it seems unlikely that any laws were broken, as ignorance and hatred are not illegal.
- Hateful letter stirs local support for autistic boy (Katie Daubs, The Star: August 19, 2013)
- Letter attacking autistic boy not a hate crime, police say (Katie Daubs, The Star: August 20, 2013)
- Ontario family shocked after receiving letter from neighbour telling them to ‘euthanize’ autistic son (National Post: August 20, 2013)
2. Obese Children (Oct. 2013)
A woman contacted the radio station Y94 in Fargo to announce her plans to hand out the letters to “moderately obese” children to suggest that their parents “ration” their candy at Halloween. Let’s take a look at the letter:
Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor!
You are probably wondering why your child has this note; have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? I am disappointed in “the village” of Fargo Moorhead, West Fargo.
You (sic) child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.
My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.
The woman, who identified herself as “Cheryl” told the radio station that the letters would be sealed and were to be opened by the parents. She said that while she would still give candy to all children who showed up to her house, she said didn’t want to feel like she was “contributing to their problems.”
When asked why she didn’t just give out toys or nutritious snacks, she stated that she didn’t want to be the “mean lady.”
One of the radio hosts, Corey “Zero” Schaffer, said that he planned to contact the woman after Halloween to see if she went through with her plan.
Listen to the full interview below:
The woman told the radio station that it was “irresponsible for parents to send them out looking for free candy just because all the other kids are doing it.”
- VIDEO: Letters Instead Of Halloween Candy (y94.com: October 30, 2013)
1. “Smelly Children” Letter (Nov. 2013)
A teacher in Buffalo, New York faced disciplinary action after sending home a letter to all parents regarding “smelly” students in her class.
30-year veteran schoolteacher Sharon D. Perry Dunnigan found herself in hot water after sending home a note with all of her students, stating that some of the children “give off unpleasant smells and some appear unclean and unkept (sic).”
The Pre-K teacher asked each parent to sign and return the note to let her know they had received and read it.
The full text of the letter, dated November 14, 2013, read:
Several children in Pre-K ages 3-4 are coming to school (sometimes daily) with soiled, stained, or dirty clothes. Some give off unpleasant smells and some appear unclean and unkept.
Parents please take care of this matter. It is a health and safety concern. It also makes it difficult for me to be close to them or even want to touch them.
Please sign and return so I know you’ve read this.
The bottom of the note included lines for the names of the parents and students. It isn’t clear if Dunnigan was requesting the 3 and 4 year old students to sign the letter, or if she wanted the parents to fill in the name of the student there.
After receiving complaints about the note, The Buffalo School District discussed the matter in a closed session and unanimously agreed that the teacher acted inappropriately and would receive more than a verbal reprimand. Board member Ruth Kapsiak stated, “I was stunned to see a note that was to all parents when it was not all children in the class that are involved in the situation.”
The school’s parent facilitator Denise Glenn met with the teacher, and said that Dunnigan refused to apologize, “She said, ‘What do you want me to do, apologize? I’m not going to apologize because I got my point across.’ ”
The Buffalo News added that social workers, school counselors, and nurses typically address hygiene and child welfare concerns such as these.
In addition to possible disciplinary actions, Dunnigan was told to seek the principal’s opinion when sending home notes to parents.
- Teacher faces discipline for letter about smelly children (Sandra Tan, Buffalo News: November 22, 2013)
- Teacher Faces Discipline For Notes Complaining Of Smelly Pre-Kindergarteners (Sarah Rae Fruchtnicht, Opposing Views: November 23, 2013)
What are your thoughts about the letters above?