School Hospitality Committee By-Laws

Here is a letter that I was sent that is rather interesting, if not ridiculous.

It came from an Elementary School administrator and was sent to all of the teachers of that school. The name of the school has been changed to protect the school system. Where I altered the words or added to the message, to better emphasis the bylaw, I put my initials.

I feel it’s ridiculous for a few reasons:

  1. Hospitality is defined as – “The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”
  2. The definition of Hospitality is not to collect money and redistribute back to only those who donate.
  3. The focus of this committee does not indicate any generosity to anyone beyond those who donate

What do you think about this committee’s bylaws?

REVISED September 2012

Each teacher is requested to join the Committee with a $25 entry fee. (TLB)

The administrator repeatedly announced over the PA system, durin the school day, that the Committee dues were due.

Hospitality Committee By-Laws 2012-2013 School Year

1. In case of hospitalization due to serious illness that requires 3-4 or more consecutive days of absence, of any staff member, a plant or gift of $25 shall be given.

2. In case of death of a staff member, a memorial or $100 shall be given.

3. In case of death of an immediate member of the family of a staff member (mother,father, sister, brother, child, spouse, mother-in-law, or father-in-law), a memorial of $25 shall be given (including auxiliary personnel – social worker, nurse, psychologist,
cafeteria staff, custodial staff, BUDS services).

4. In case of the death of a closer relative a card shall be sent.

5. In case of death of an educator in the school system, such a Superintendent, Principal of another school, or Supervisor, a card shall be sent.

6. Any faculty member who completes a degree or who becomes Nationally Board Certified shall receive a $25 gift certificate.

7. The “Teacher of the Year” (TOY) and Classified Employee of the Year shall each receive a $50 gift certificate in the year she/he serves as Teacher of the Year or Classified Employee of the Year.

If I were Teacher of the Year, I would not want to be tagged TOY (TLB)

8. Upon marriage of a faculty member, a gift certificate of $25 will be given (auxiliary personnel). (Staff members who have paid dues are not required to give a gift if a bridal shower is given).

9. For the birth of a baby, or legal adoption of a child, the faculty member shall receive a gift certificate of $25. (Staff members who have paid dues are not required to give a gift if a baby shower is given).

So, if all of the teachers join this committee, and they have a baby shower – can we all show up without a gift? (TLB)

10. For retiring faculty members, a $50 gift certificate shall be given at a school gathering.

11. Staff Christmas party and End of the Year picnic shall be partially funded as determined by the Hospitality Committee.

This is so only partially hospitable (TLB)

12. All staff are encouraged to participate in the Hospitality Committee. If you choose not to participate, you may not be included in the above monetary gifts.

Does this mean that I may be included because I’m special and the others are not? (TLB)




Little Harry

I believe that Harry is Little Johnny’s distant cousin.

A first-grade teacher, Ms. Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students. The teacher asked, “Harry, what’s your problem?”

Harry answered, “I’m too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I’m smarter than she is! I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!”

Ms. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal’s office.

While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and he agreed to take the test.

Principal: “What is 3 x 3?”

Harry: “9.”

Principal: “What is 6 x 6?”

Harry: “36.”

And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.

The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her, “I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade”

Ms. Brooks says to the principal, “Let me ask him some questions.”

The principal and Harry both agreed.

Ms. Brooks asks, “What does a cow have four of that I have only two of?”

Harry, after a moment: “Legs.”

Ms. Brooks: “What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?”

The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!

Harry replied: “Pockets.”

Ms. Brooks: “What does a dog do that a man steps into?”

Harry: “Pants.”

Ms. Brooks: What starts with a C, ends with a T, is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?”

Harry: “Coconut.”

The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.

Ms. Brooks: “What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?”

The principal’s eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer, Harry replied, “Bubble gum.”

Ms. Brooks: “What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?”

Harry: “Shake hands.”

The principal was trembling.

Ms. Brooks: “What word starts with an ‘F’ and ends in ‘K’ that means a lot of heat and excitement?”

Harry: “Firetruck.”

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the teacher, “Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions wrong.

– unknown

Public or Parochial School

In 1997 we moved from Maryland to North Carolina. It was a tumultuous time and very difficult on my wife and four daughters. I’ll write more about this later. Today I want to share the story of choosing a 9th grade school for our oldest daughter who was 14 at the time.

Jessie had been in a very good school in Maryland.  She’s a very smart girl and was taking classes a grade higher than most of her class.  When we moved to NC the public school system in Davie County was having a hard time figuring out where to put her. After many constructive and a few un-constructive conversations with the counselors at Davie High School we decided to try some other options.

We looked at a few of the private schools nearby, but being a single (low) income family, we decided that they were outside of our budget.

I got the bright idea that we should try Gospel Light Christian School in Walkertown NC. It was about 20 miles away, but the commute could be tolerated. My wife and daughter were not excited about the idea. They tried to convince me this was not an option because we were not Independent Southern Baptist and would never be Independent Southern Baptist. They were sure that this was a mistake, but agreed to go with me just the same.

I called the school and arranged for us to come by bright and early on a Monday morning. We arrived at about the same time all of the students were arriving.  All of the boys had on khaki pants and long sleeve white shirts, many had ties on. All of the girls wore ankle length skirts and long sleeve high collared blouses. Very few had on bright clothes. This created angst with my wife and daughter, who was dressed in jeans and some type of designed t-shirt. My wife was wearing pants and a bright shirt. They immediately commented that we stood out like sore thumb.

We walked into the school and were greeted by a very nice lady, again in an ankle length skirt and totally covering blouse. Her hair was up in a bun, just like you would expect some older teachers to wear theirs.  She escorted us to a room where the “Head Master” waited for us.

He greeted us at the door with, “Hello Mr & Mrs. Burriss, welcome to our school. Come in.” He didn’t even acknowledge our daughter.

He walked around his big desk and sat down as we seated ourselves in three chairs in front of his desk. He was expecting us.

He immediately went into the history of the school and the beliefs of the church. He rambled on about the graduation rates and successes of some of their students. He spent an inordinate amount of time sharing with us the beliefs of the church.

Now, it’s important to know that my wife is the boss when it comes to our children’s education, what she says goes and she wants to make sure all of our children get the best education. Therefore, she had lots of questions for the headmaster.

Each time she asked a question the headmaster would look at me and answer to me as if I asked the question. Each interaction he had with us was directed towards me. I’m not the smartest tool in the shed, but I quickly noticed this and as quickly I noticed the unhappiness building up in my wife. Not only did I feel this was rude, but it was also very disrespectful to my wife.

At one point I asked Jessie if she had any questions for the headmaster. I can’t recall if she did, but it would not have made much difference. The headmaster had totally ignored her and likely would have treated her with the same disrespect as he gave my wife.

I would have thought that he would have wanted to engage her in some conversation, maybe ask her some questions about her previous school or tell her about some of the great things going on at Gospel Light Christian School. Maybe, just maybe, try to get her eager to want to go to their school. But no, he totally ignored her and focused all of his conversation directly at me.

Now, I don’t recall what the big tipping point was, but between my wife and I we figured out in short order that, yeah, my wife was right. This was not going to work.

The headmaster did not want to communicate with my wife or daughter at all. It was obvious to me that he, and likely the religious beliefs of this school/church, were that men were in charge and women held no authority at all. Yep, this was not going to work for our family.

In some ways I felt that the headmaster had judged us as Yankees and really did not want our daughter in his school.

I do recall that once this clicked for me, I told the headmaster that we decided that this school would not work for us.

Here was the final confirmation for us, he said, “Yes, I can see that this will not be a fit for any of us.”

Wow – If I were not a Christian I would likely have responded in an ugly way.  I decided to just leave with a polite good bye, turned my back to his extended hand shake request and walked out of the room with my wife and daughter in front of me.

As we walked out to the car I got to hear what I hear over and over again, “I told you so,” as my wife sneered at me with that look of unhappiness. I apologized with, “I know, that was a big mistake.”

I agreed and never brought up the idea of a church school again.

To this day I try not to bring this story up with my wife and daughters. They just shake their heads and look at me with that sneer.


My first reported Adolescent Crime

Adolescent Crimes are hard to deal with.

Usually our first adolescent crimes are an indication of the type of person we become.

I started school in 1963 at the not so ripe age of 5 years old. My illustrious educational career started at Monocacy Elementary School in Barnesville Maryland. Even though I can not remember the teachers name, I can picture the kindergarten class room. It was about 15’ wide and maybe 30 feet long. The outside wall was filled with tall aluminum window frames, the type that open inward on horizontal hinges. There were metal venetian blinds on the windows with pull ropes to open and raise the blinds. The windows gave us a view of the bus parking lot and the main road. Not much to see, but at least some sunshine. Below the row of windows were shelves full of books and typical 5 year toys. On the other side of the room was our coat closet. It was about half the length of the room and was not much more than a long hallway with doors at each end and coat hooks and shelves along the back wall. For the most part all I really remember from back then was one particular day in Kindergarten. I was playing with the big wooden blocks that we used to build houses and other wooden structures. One of my class mates, Gary Honemond (sp?) was playing with me. I do not remember exactly what happened, but Gary made me mad about something, and I hit him with a block. Normally this would not have been a big deal, but my mother was standing right there watching me. This was the first time I remember getting into trouble in school. When I got home that night, I got my butt beat like I’ll never forget. I got in trouble lots more in school and I am sure most of the time I got my butt beat for it.

I am proud of the times when I got in trouble in school and my parents did not find out. I can’t tell you about those times, even now I still fear the paddle. I assure you – this was the first of many Adolescent Crimes. Some reported, some not. Maybe I’ll share some more with you in time. Read some more at if you want to see what else I did as a child Teddy