Thomas Hoffman is the principal at Brody Middle School in Des Moines, Iowa. He recently came under fire and had to publicly apologize for ruining a classroom pizza party that the students had received as a prize from their teacher for their hard work. When the day arrived for the pizza party and the food had already been delivered, Hoffman confiscated the pizzas, saying that he hadn’t approved the party. This greatly upset the students and the teacher, according to Today.
Neil Erickson, the father of one of the students in this class, was livid upon hearing how this situation had been handled. He shared his frustration in a Facebook post that quickly went viral. Erickson explained that his son had been looking forward to this pizza party for days and that his teacher was brought to tears when the pizza she reportedly purchased with her own money had been taken away from her students.
“The pizzas were delivered to the class…the teacher paid and signed the receipt. Principal walks into the classroom and says ‘I never approve pizza parties’ or something to that affect. He took the pizzas from the kids and let them sit in the office for the teacher to pick up after school. Now my son and his classmates lost the party they worked hard to earn and the pizza I’m sure is wasted now…and the teacher was left in tears. I just cant believe it!”
Facebook users were quick to comment upon the post, many saying that they felt the principal was being too harsh and that it wasn’t fair to punish the children in this way. Some even compared him to the Grinch.
Hoffman apologized that very same day, explaining that he was trying to ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all his students. However, he admitted he was too strict on this particular occasion.
“I want to apologize for disappointing any of our students and punishing them,” he said.
He went on to explain his reasoning for confiscating the pizzas in the first place. Typically, pizza parties are held in the library so as to be mindful of the students that may have dietary restrictions. The students that aren’t able to have pizza could have still eaten in the cafeteria. Nevertheless, the teacher hadn’t discussed the pizza party with administration beforehand and thus the library wasn’t reserved on this particular day. The class later got a make-up pizza party.
Hoffman is hardly the first principal to come under scrutiny for policies that many deem too strict. In 2018, an elementary school principal from Nebraska named Jennifer Sinclair was placed on leave for her harsh Christmas decorating rules. She even banned candy canes because she felt they represented Jesus, according to The Inquisitr.