CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Digital Media

School principal replies to worried mom with poop emoji

Commentary: In Miami, it seems one educator used a very modern method to express his displeasure with a parent.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Singing poop emoji

Perhaps the emoji should've been singing. After all, the school does focus on the arts.


Technology has created the possibility for new forms of communication.

Some of those forms, though, can border on rudeness. 

The one-word text, for example. Or the smiley face with the tongue sticking out. 

And how about the poop emoji? Some find it playful, but what if it's emailed to a worried mom by a school principal?

This, the Miami Herald reports, is what happened when Nancy Tyler emailed Alfredo de la Rosa, principal and founder of the Miami Arts Charter School, a privately managed, public charter school.

Tyler was worried that an English teacher wasn't at school and no substitute had been provided. 

I fear there may have been previous contretemps between Tyler and de la Rosa, as his emailed reply to her thoughts, posted by the Herald, wasn't blessed with a soothing tone.

Sample: "Just like last time, you are wrong again." Sample No. 2: "You are always complaining about things for little or no reason."

When Tyler expressed concern that parents hadn't been notified when a teacher had been arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student, de la Rosa offered: "Why? What could you have done other than complain and be negative? Where [sic] you looking to make a positive contribution? I doubt it."

Some might struggle with school principals who make typos. Especially school principals who correct others, as de la Rosa did in regard to the name of one of the charter school's two campuses: "By the why [sic], the proper spelling is W-Y-N-W-O-O-D."

By the why, he ended his email with a substantial poop emoji on a black background. 

Some may find this entirely in keeping with the tone of the conversation. Others might struggle with this descent into the dirt. 

De la Rosa admitted to me that he let his frustration get the better of him. "It was dumb on my part," he said.

He said he'd had a difficult relationship with Tyler for a couple of years and that he hasn't spoken to her since the email exchange last weekend. He is, though, happy to meet with her.

But what about the poop emoji?

"I've never sent a single emoji," he told me. "From time to time I'll put a happy face on a text. How it got there, who knows?"

I fear some parents may have a suspicion.

Mistakes can happen, especially if you're typing with vigor. 

But to get to your emojis you usually have to make a deliberate choice on your keyboard or your email software. It's not as if they're just there, next to your p and q, ready for your fingers to slip to them. 

De la Rosa says he typed his replies on his cellphone and doesn't know if there's a copy. 

On Wednesday, he sent an email to parents, which read in part: "I concede that the tone and content of my response to a recent parent email was not an effective way to react or communicate."

In it, he also accused Tyler, whom he didn't name, of subjecting him to "unjustifiably provocative and bad-tempered" language. (Attempts to contact Tyler were unsuccessful.)

Oh, but what about the poop emoji? Yes, Apple has featured it in ads. But in those, it sang. 

I fear the impression left by de la Rosa's rather less tuneful self-expression may leave a stink for some time.

Rebooting the Reef: CNET dives deep into how tech can help save Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech's role in providing new kinds of accessibility.