A Pennsylvania family is demanding a public apology from their daughter’s sixth-grade teacher after he intentionally misspelled Hillary Clinton’s name on a letter the young girl had written to the ex-Democratic presidential candidate.
Now, there are really only two ways to spell the name Hillary; with two Ls like Clinton does, or with one L, like famous actress Hilary Swank. But Benjamin Attinger, the girl’s teacher, decided to get a bit creative.
He addressed the letter to “HILIAR RODHAM CLINTON.” While the new spelling is certainly fitting - there have been countless examples of how the woman is actually a liar - the girl, Mary Reinard, and her parents, Shannon and Shawn, were not impressed.
Mary reportedly penned the letter after she read an article about Hillary being able to speak to the dead (as if we needed another reason to think the lady was looney). The 11-year-old, who already looked up to Hillary and had recently lost her baby sister, wanted to know if it was true. When she finished the letter, she asked Attinger for help addressing it to the proper place.
It wasn’t until Mary got home, ready to mail out the envelope, that she and her mother noticed the misspelling. Shannon immediately contacted the school to complain.
Attinger later left Mary’s parents a voicemail explaining that the misspelling was meant to be joke between him and their daughter.
“When I addressed it, I put liar in the name because I was telling her it [talking to the dead] wasn’t true,” he explained in the voicemail. “It was kind of a joke. I didn't really expect it to be taken the way that apparently she took it. I apologize.”
But Attinger’s apology didn’t appease the family.
“He can write a letter himself and call her a liar,” Shannon told The Daily Item. “Don't channel it through my 11-year-old daughter.”
Mary’s father, Shawn, expressed similar outrage.
“I'm angry,” he told the paper. “Whether I agree or not, you keep that out of school. His student asked him for help, and he failed as a teacher. At minimum, he owes my little girl a public apology.”
Shawn admitted that while he did not vote in the 2016 election, if he had, it would’ve been for Trump, and that he originally found Attigner’s joke funny. But, he changed his tune when he saw how upset his daughter was.
Mary told The Daily Item that she dreads what would’ve happened if she and her mom hand't notice the misspelling.
“I would have felt embarrassed,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to go to school for a week.”
Attinger apologized again the following week, this time in person, when he met with Mary, her parents and school officials.
“We met and he said he was sorry to Mary and she and I accepted it, but again I just wanted people to know what happened here,” Shannon told the paper.
While Mary may have accepted her teacher’s apology, it seem her parents are still holding a grudge.
Was the joke a little cheesy? Sure. Was it inappropriate for a teacher to assume everyone would be alright with it? Arguably. But does Attinger deserve to be publicly humiliated over it? Probably not.