Education

Kentucky principal’s comical video on parental rule-breaking, college scam gets 6 million views

Lexington principal: Parent behavior in admission scandal is no shock to educators

Parents who don't follow school rules and policies are no better than Aunt Becky who's been charged and is facing federal prison time for allegedly helping her daughters get in a prestigious university, said Liberty Elementary principal Gerry Brooks
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Parents who don't follow school rules and policies are no better than Aunt Becky who's been charged and is facing federal prison time for allegedly helping her daughters get in a prestigious university, said Liberty Elementary principal Gerry Brooks

Parents who do not follow school rules aren’t any better than the actress and mother accused of using cash to help her daughters get into a prestigious university, a Lexington principal points out in a video that racked up six million views and drew the attention of CNN.

In the video posted April 9, Liberty Elementary School Principal Gerry Brooks said that educators aren’t surprised by the admissions scandal involving parents — including celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin — because educators often deal with moms or dads who bend the truth and school rules.

The message behind the video, Brooks told the Herald-Leader Friday, is that “parents do what they think is best for kids because they love them and sometimes that involves breaking a rule or policy even though they shouldn’t.”

Brooks said parents might not equate the examples they set for their children by breaking rules or ignoring policies with what happened in the college scam, but it’s the same concept.

Brooks said in the video that parents who don’t agree with school policies may sign a reading log saying their child read at night when the child didn’t, they might try to sneak fast food into school or send peanut butter to school with children even though classmates have a peanut allergy. Brooks said parents may lie about where they live so their children can go to a school that they deem preferable or even break rules by driving around cones in the school pickup line.

“This kind of thing happens every day at schools,” Brooks said in the video. Like those criminally charged in the college scam, parents who evade rules for their child are hurting other students.

Brooks said the same sentiment is reflected in the new book he has written called “GO SEE THE PRINCIPAL: True Tales from the School Trenches” that will be available in bookstores and chains, such as Walmart, on April 30. He said it can be found on presale on websites such as Amazon.com.

In the book, Brooks said he uses humor to support parents and urge teachers and administrators to do a better job to work together. He offers advice on all sorts of topics, from beginning the school year to classroom social media use to parent-teacher conferences.

In the last three years, Brooks has become a YouTube star with humorous videos about school life that he films outside of school hours and off school grounds.

Brooks’ speaking tours across the nation, which he conducts on summer breaks, vacation days and Saturdays, are packed with educators and parents.

Staff writer Valarie Honeycutt Spears covers K-12 education, social issues and other topics. She is a Lexington native with southeastern Kentucky roots.


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