A letter sent to parents of elementary school students raised some concerns when it outlined disciplinary actions for students talking about dating.

Principal Michael Wamsley of Holiday Heights Elementary in North Richland Hills sent a letter home to parents last week saying that the school would be enforcing new rules to combat "distractions resulting from the students allowing themselves to get caught up in romantic issues and the drama that follows."  Wamsley then listed several actions that would be deemed inappropriate and result in Friday detention, including,

  • Going steady/dating another student
  • Discussion of others dating (boyfriend/girlfriend talk)
  • Spreading rumors or messages of "who likes who"
  • Showing public displays of affection (holding hands, passing love notes, bringing gifts, etc.)
  • Any other romantic gesture that distracts from learning in the class

Wamsley stated that elementary school was no place for such relationships. However, some parents disagreed with Principal Wamsley's views. Dallas Blogger Krystal Hurst, a former 4th-grade teacher, found the letter to be harsh,

As parents, we should be talking to our children about what those feelings mean, when it's appropriate to shows those in a public setting, when it's OK to have those feelings, and that those feelings aren't wrong.

BISD Spokesperson Mark Thomas commented that while public displays of affection are punishable under district code of conduct, students will not be punished for the behavior outlined in Wamsley's letter. Thomas also explained that Wamsley, a first-year principal, sent out the letter without receiving district approval. Wamsley sent out a follow-up letter Wednesday,

As parents, I am asking for your assistance in talking with your child(ren) about the appropriate way to address talking about relationships and displaying those feelings while at school.

I can assure you that the student’s teacher [or an administrator] will personally contact individual parents when, or if, this becomes an issue concerning the student’s disruption of the education process.

Here is the first letter sent by Wamsley in its entirety:

Letter from elementary school principal about child relationships (via WFAA)