Schools right now are dealing with a whole truckload of issues. But one that has affected secondary schools in particular, generating much student anticipation and excitement—along with much administrative dread—is Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.
With concerts in many cities falling on days that precede or follow a school day, many students are planning to be absent from school in order to either attend the concert or sleep off a late night (or both). And apparently, some students and parents are expecting these absences to be filed as excused.
Some school districts have issued grumbly, serious warnings to students. Some have said nothing at all.
Then there’s Hillsborough County in Tampa, Florida.
Superintendent Addison Davis sent out this letter to parents and students ahead of the Tampa concerts last week:
There’s a Delicate situation we must discuss. Are you … Ready For It?
I understand there is a rather big concert taking place in Tampa this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. In my Wildest Dreams I never thought I’d be sending a communication saying this, however, This Is Me Trying to be the best Superintendent I can be without creating any Bad Blood between myself and our amazing students.
Students, You Need to Calm Down. Under no circumstances will Friday be an excused absence because you were having an Enchanted evening under the Starlight at Raymond James Stadium. I understand I am being the Anti-Hero here, and Call It What You Want, but You’re On Your Own, Kid if you think being a Swiftie is a good excuse for missing important instruction. You know All Too Well you Should’ve Said No to attending a Thursday night concert. Especially one from an artist who is known for putting on a 3-hour AMAZING show.
You may think you’re Out of the Woods since it is the fourth quarter, but make no mistake, if you miss an important lesson, you will not be able to Shake It Off. Your report card could be Treacherous because you refused to Stay, Stay, Stay in class. I know, I know, You’re Not Sorry for attending such a Gorgeous concert, but I promise you, this is not a Hoax.
All You Had to Do Was Stay in class.
I hope there is not a Blank Space in your seat on Friday morning.
It could be a Cruel Summer if you prioritize being a Swiftie over being in class.
You Belong With Me, Me!, in school.
Please don’t make me see Red with your absence.
Forever and Always,
Superintendent Addison Davis”
Twenty-seven T. Swift song titles. We’re speechless.
What We Love About This Letter
1. It’s fun.
Clearly, this is a principal who doesn’t take herself too seriously. Whether she’s a Swiftie herself or got another fan to help her with this letter, she has no problem mixing business with humor when it’s appropriate.
2. It still communicates high expectations for students.
When you get past the initial shock that a superintendent worked “You Belong With Me, Me!” into an official school communication, you’ll pick up on the principal’s actual reason for communicating. Concertgoing is an unexcused absence. She just told you about it in a really fun way.
3. It is a stunning linguistic feat.
Honestly, someone needs to alert the folks at the National Book Awards. Twenty-seven titles in twenty-three lines? Are you kidding me? Those last four lines are like a victory lap.
This is art. We demand a documentary.
We love a fun, clever school leader, don’t you?
What are your thoughts on this email? Please share in the comments. (Bonus points if you respond with a T. Swift song title.)
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