Teacher accidentally texts mom about ‘dummy’ daughter

Frustrations with school closings and the coronavirus are spilling over in Madison, Wisconsin, where a teacher’s text inadvertently exposed what she really thinks of parents and students struggling at home.

Madison Police officer David White documented the March 16 episode between Tyeisha Ivy and her daughter’s fifth grade teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School, Mary Ringelstetter, in a report prompted by Ivy’s complaint the next day.

“Tyeisha explained that with the current situation with the kids not having school she was trying to get her daughter’s homework and internet access set up so her daughter could complete homework while school was shut down. Tyeisha was exchanging texts with Mary,” White wrote.

“Tyeisha explained that after some amount of time she received a text from Mary stating that Mary would like to reach through the phone and slap them. Tyeisha believed that Marry accidentally sent the text to her and that it was probably meant for one of Mary’s coworkers. Tyeisha stated that she and her daughter both now feel threatened because Mary had sent the text stating she wanted to reach through the phone and slap them.”

White contacted Ringelstetter, who confirmed Ivy’s account.

“Mary admitted that she did send the text to Tyeisha but that it was meant to go to someone else. Mary stated that she never had any real intention to wanting to slap them. She was just frustrated with the situation the crisis going on with the Corona Virus and issues at school,” White wrote.

Ringelstetter texted Ivy to apologize after realizing her mistake, according to the report.

Madison365 documented the texts between the two.

“I’ve had emails from dummy (student) and her mom. What is my lexis password? What is the library portal? How do I get on the home page?” the teacher wrote in one text.

“I want to slap them through the phone!” another read.

Ivy told the site she had several missed calls from the teacher on her phone, but wasn’t sure why until she read the texts.

Ivy said she called Ringelstetter back, but didn’t like the explanation her daughter “was just dumb with the computer,” Madison365 reports.

Ivy ended the call and sent a text to Ringelstetter instead: “YOU WANT TO SLAP ME THROUGH THE PHONE BECAUSE I WANT INFORMATION FOR MY CHILD.”

She demanded the teacher no longer contact her. Ivy told the site Ringelstetter continued to call, so she contacted Hawthorne principal Beth Lehman to complain.

“My daughter started freaking out,” she told Madison365. “My daughter is very hurt. This was a teacher that was supposed to graduate her from fifth grade. She just keeps crying.”

Both Lehman and Ringelstetter ignored calls for comment, but district spokesman Timothy LeMond assured the news site officials are taking action. He wouldn’t disclose any details or potential discipline.

“The district finds this extremely disappointing and it is not representative of who we are as a school community,” he wrote in an email to Madison365. “We are taking this very seriously and will be looking into this and addressing it as quickly as possible.”

District officials contacted Ivy about the incident, but LeMonds told the Wisconsin State Journal Ringelstetter is still a district employee.

“We are currently investigating the matter and the process of taking appropriate action,” he said Monday.

Union officials did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.

This piece was written by Victor Skinner on March 26, 2020. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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