Dear (Name Deleted): I want to take the time to thank you for turning in your paper assignment on time and for conforming to the minimum word requirement. Unfortunately, I have some bad news: You turned in the paper assignment for your political science class. I am not your political science professor and my name is not Dr. Johnson. The mistake was understandable as you are only a senior. I am certain that such errors will be less commonplace by the time you get your doctorate. In the meantime, the good news is that I went ahead and graded your paper. The bad news is that you got a zero. It really had nothing to do with the requirements of the class you are taking under me. I hope you understand.
Please note that I am aware that you suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. I know this because you have told me in writing, over the phone, and in person. There is no need for you to repeat yourself. I generally pay attention when people speak to me. But I am giving you the zero - not in spite of your ADD, but because of your ADD. I really think that attaching a consequence to your conduct will help you grow out of it.
Dear (Name Deleted): Thank you for your concerns over the content of our last murder lecture. These lectures can be tough and sometimes offensive – although I am rarely able to predict just what will offend students these days. In your case, you have been very specific with the basis of your personal offense. Regrettably, however, I will be unable to act upon your request. Let me explain.
When you asked me to refrain from using the term “pit bull” (when I discuss the People v. Berry dog mauling case) you were simply asking too much. I understand your concerns that “pit bulls will be unfairly stereotyped as dangerous” if (after they kill someone) we refer to their specific breed. But what you fail to understand is that the dog’s breed was a relevant fact in the murder trial. Berry chose the dog on the basis of its reputation in the hopes that it would keep people away from the illicit drug business he was operating out of his back yard. He had a pit bull but no fence. That is how the little child ended up being mauled to death.
Generally speaking, I have more concern for the lives of small children than for the reputations of dogs who cannot ever know the status of their reputations. I think if you reflect upon this you will understand that people may speak badly of pit bulls without them actually knowing it.
On a positive note, I have taken your concerns to heart. The next time a Yorkie or a Poodle mauls a small child to death I will make sure to emphasize their specific breed. That way, people will understand that pit bulls are really deeply misunderstood creatures.
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