Elementary School's Threatening Note to Misbehaved Students Draws Attention

A photo of the threatening note one elementary school gives its misbehaved students has gone viral online.

The photo was posted in Reddit's "Kids Are F**king Stupid" forum by u/SafetyCoat, who wrote: "Friend works at an elementary school. They give this paper to problematic students." It has amassed over 78,000 upvotes, and many commenters compared it to the old "Santa trick." You can view the full post here.

The note purports to come from "YouTube" and threatens to have kids' YouTube accounts deleted if they don't listen to their teachers.

"Dear [redacted]," the note began. "Today, we have spoken to your teachers. You need to follow directions, have a quiet voice and do your work. If we have to talk to your teachers again, your account will be deleted forever. This also means you will not be able to create a new account. Thank you, YouTube."

Shocked teen reading note
Here, a stock image of a teenager reacting to a letter. A photo of the threatening note one elementary school gives its misbehaved students has gone viral online. fizkes/istock

School administrators added YouTube's logo to the top corner of the letter to make it look official.

The 'Santa Trick'

As previously mentioned, some Redditors said the note was comparable to the "Santa trick"—a disciplinary strategy wherein parents say they've called Santa Claus to discuss their children's bad behavior.

"Big, 'We've phoned Santa' energy here," u/LadyMirkwood wrote.

"It is the old, 'We talked to Santa trick' updated for the modern age," u/tehdamonkey agreed.

According to psychotherapist Amy Morin, the Santa trick is a "fun and lighthearted way" for parents to grab their kids' attention; however, she doesn't recommend using Father Christmas as a "motivator."

"Getting kids motivated to behave for a stranger—versus for you—is an interesting concept. Saying, 'Santa wants you to be good,' instead of, 'I want you to be good,' may make it sound like your child should care more about Santa's opinion than yours," Morin wrote for Verywell Family.

Additionally, "nagging your child about their behavior and warning them that they won't get any presents could actually damage your credibility. And when Santa delivers presents—regardless of previous misbehavior—your child will assume you have no idea what you're talking about," Morin continued.

Instead of using empty threats as a way to curb bad behavior, Morin said parents should implement "immediate consequences for misbehavior" and "create reward systems." She also said parents should set "specific goals" and use positive reinforcement.

Redditors React

Some Redditors agreed that "lying" to children isn't an effective form of discipline, and so they criticized the school's fake YouTube letter.

"I'm actually shocked at this [letter]. If you can't convince children of what you want them to do without fabricating fear and lying to them, you are not equipped to be an educator," u/Powersawer said.

"Empty threats are such a bad idea and this school is about to find out exactly why," u/thecloudcatapult wrote.

Redditor u/eli-barrow added: "[L]ying to children instead of doing the work to guide their development results in shitty adults."

Others, however, loved the letter.

"F**king brilliant lmao," u/MayMayV commented.

"Genius," u/ninhursag3 added.

Newsweek reached out to u/SafetyCoat for comment.

More Viral Stories

On Monday, Redditors slammed a landlord for sending an unusual list of "home guidelines" to a renter after the lease was signed.

Last week, commenters criticized a dad who said his child's nanny was "too much fun," and praised a woman for telling her younger sister "the truth" about their father.