Mom writes permission slip for sons to climb trees after a school official tells them to stop
Julie Holcombe was horrified when her 12-year-old twin sons were reprimanded for climbing trees on school property. So she did what any modern 2016 mom would do – she penned a biting letter to school officials, added in a hilarious twist, and then posted it on the internet. The rest is awesome, viral, super-mom history.
According to Today, Julie’s sons Ryan and Patrick were kicking around after school with their group of friends (nicknamed ‘The Squad,’ which is the best). The group was casually walking home in the field that connects their two middle schools in their hometown of Yardley, PA. Because they are kids they also like to behave like kids and do healthy kid activities, like play football and climb trees in the area. You know — things every parent would be psyched to hear their kids are doing, considering all the other options available to them these days. But instead of being praised for being outside and exerting physical energy and doing something that doesn’t involve screens, they got in trouble with some random buzzkill school official. This, my friends, is the kind of grown up who make the rest of us embarrassed to be grown ups.
The guy not only demanded they get out of the tree and go straight home, he took down their names and schools so he could report them to their respective principals. FOR CLIMBING A TREE. Ryan tells Today the man said, “I don’t want you kids climbing, because if you fall and get hurt, the school would be responsible and could get sued. You aren’t in trouble, but if you do it again, I’m going to contact your principal.”
If your eyes are spinning in their sockets while reading this, imagine how Julie felt. So she penned an letter to school officials, complete with a “permission slip” allowing her boys to play outside after school. She then posted it all on her Facebook page. Consider this the greatest parental clapback and mic drop of all time.
“My children have permission to climb any tree they so desire. In fact, I encourage it, whenever and wherever they can, for as long as they both shall live. I can think of few things better than knowing they are spending their time playing outside in the fresh air, taking advantage of the beautiful playground nature can provide, getting exercise, using their imagination, chatting with their squad of friends, all while climbing a tree.”
So from this point on, I respectfully ask that you let my kids be kids. The time they have left to do so is fading painfully fast. Please don’t shorten that time any further. And if this correspondence doesn’t help calm your nerves about a potential lawsuit, below please find an official permission slip — admissible evidence in any court of law. Feel better? No? Then I suggest you climb a tree. It’s really relaxing.
Julie added a comment to the photo, saying: “Warning – the following is a soapbox moment. Generally speaking, I think parents are way too quick to place blame on teachers or school administrators for the shortcomings of their own children. With that in mind, I acknowledge that this might be my own overreaction, but I couldn’t help it. Yes, I sent this with my boys this morning, just in case. Because for the love of Pete, kids should be able to climb trees.”
But this doesn’t seem like an overreaction at all. Our kids shouldn’t just be allowed to be kids, they should be encouraged to be kids. To run, play, mess around, get dirty, explore, goof off, climb, swing, leap. To be curious about experiencing the world around them. To take a field with some trees and turn it into their own personal amusement park.
Julie’s reaction isn’t ridiculous — the scrutiny her sons experienced is. Here’s to permitting our kids to climb all the trees in the world. We adults should try it some time. Who knows, we might even regain some perspective up there, too.