Responding to Reprimands
This video will give you some basic information on responding to written reprimands. Also
see Signing a Reprimand.
When you receive a written reprimand, you
should comply with the principal's request to sign it.
Generally, signing the document does not signify agreement.
Your signature simply is the district's proof that you were given
the document. You should check to make sure this is the
purpose of the signature line. If you want to make your
intent clearer, you may add a line that says, "My signature
signifies receipt only." Refusal to sign the document
could be considered insubordination.
You also have the right to respond in
writing to a written reprimand. If you feel that the
criticisms are untrue or inaccurate, explain why. The
response should be concise, your explanations should be factual,
and you should stick to the issues raised in the reprimand.
Avoid being argumentative or introducing your personal
feelings. A written response to your principal is not the
proper forum for venting your anger or frustrations. (On the
other hand, if you want to write a vent letter, do so, but don't
send it. This might prove to be therapeutic.) You
should be aware that your response may be viewed by other
administrators who know nothing about you or your situation other
than what they see in writing.
In addition to stating your position, you
also may request that the write-up be removed from your
file. Your response can be submitted either as an informal
rebuttal or as a formal
grievance. The difference is that
filing a grievance enables you to appeal to the next level in the
chain of command if you do not get a favorable response.
If you choose to submit a response or
grievance, you must do so according to the procedures and
deadlines set forth in your district's grievance policy.
Therefore, you should obtain a copy of the grievance policy, and
be aware that the filing timelines tend to be very short.
The legal information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for
individual legal advice or the provision of legal services. Accessing this information does not create an
attorney-client relationship. Individual legal situations vary greatly and readers should consult directly with an
attorney. Eligible ATPE members should contact the ATPE Member Legal Services Department using our
online system, MLSIS.