Teacher's 'Joke' Spelling of 'Hillary Clinton' Upsets Parents

Mary Reinard wanted help with addressing an envelope from teacher Benjamin Attinger
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2018 9:33 AM CST
Teacher Opts for Problematic Spelling of 'Hillary Clinton'
Mary Reinard, 11, and her step-mother Shannon Reinard, hold up a letter Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 that Mary had hoped to send to Hillary Clinton.   (Robert Inglis/The Daily Item via AP)

(Newser) – A Pennsylvania middle school teacher is in hot water over his spelling of "Hillary Clinton," and no, Benjamin Attinger didn't forget an "L." The Daily Item reports the Shikellamy Middle School teacher was asked by 6th-grade student Mary Reinard for help in sending a letter to Clinton. Mary wrote the letter, in which she reportedly asked Clinton if she really spoke to the dead (a 1996 book said she had imaginary chats with Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi, but not Jesus, as a "therapeutic release," per a CNN article published at the time). She and Attinger put it in an envelope bearing the school's return address, and Attinger addressed it: to "HILIAR RODHAM CLINTON." Mary brought the letter home to stamp and mail, and stepmom Shannon Reinard spotted the "liar" in the name and called the school on Friday.

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In a voicemail Attinger left the Sunbury mom, he apologized and claimed it was a "kind of a joke ... because I was telling her it (talking to the dead) wasn't true." The family met with Attinger and administrators on Tuesday and say they've accepted his apology and don't want him fired. Mary says she's relieved she didn't mail the letter as it was; she hadn't spotted the typo. "I would have felt embarrassed. I wouldn't have been able to go to school for a week." Now, instead of embarrassed, she's "nervi-cided." That's nervous and excited, because after Chelsea Clinton on Wednesday tweeted she'd be happy to hand-deliver the letter to her mom, she was connected with Shannon Reinard on Twitter and told her they'd be on the lookout for the letter, which had been properly mailed. "Please thank Mary for her courage," Chelsea Clinton wrote, per the Meadville Tribune. (Read more Hillary Clinton stories.)

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