Virginia schools' Web scandalette: "Get over it, kid!"

A school administrator's wife scolds a student for complaining that school was not shut down during a snowstorm. Her message was caught on tape.


Farhad Manjoo
January 24, 2008 5:09AM (UTC)

The Washington Post breaks this saga down nicely in a front-page story today, so I'll give you only the shorthand. Upset that administrators didn't close schools after three inches of snowfall last week, Devraj "Dave" Kori, a perhaps too-clever senior at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va., phoned Dean Tistadt, the chief operating officer for the school system, and left a message asking why schools were still open. (Kori found the listed number in the phone book.)

A few hours later Kori got a message from Candy Tistadt, Dean's wife, that was totally mean. Among other choice turns of phrase, the message -- captured on Kori's cell phone voicemail -- referred to school kids as "snotty-nosed little brats," and ended with an inelagent paean to perfect attendance: "Get over it kid, and go to school! Get an education, that's what you're there for!"

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Silly lady. However you judge her rant -- you might argue Candy Tistadt was right in coming down hard on a kid for calling her husband at home -- the woman is clearly not up on her Internets. Kori, being 17, naturally created a Facebook group protesting the schools' staying open. On that page, he posted the Tistadts' home numbers, and he put up up Candy Tistadt's rant, which then began to fly all over the Web. (Up above, I've posted someone's graphical version; find the transcript below.)

The Post describes well how the story blew up from there -- with the Tistadts receiving dozens of crank calls, the voicemail message being played all over the local media, and folks on the Internet filling servers at YouTube and Facebook with comments regarding "what constitutes proper and polite requests for public information from students," as the paper puts it.

In the end, Kori was called into the principal's office to discuss the matter but was not punished. Dean Tistadt tells the Post that he's happy that the boy had the "courage of his convictions to stand up and be identified," but Tistadt also blames Kori for causing the crank calls and much embarrassment for his wife.

Of the wife, Tistadt says, "This has been horrible for her."

Here, thanks to DCist, is a transcript of Candy's rant:

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This is Candy Tistadt, Dean Tistadt's wife. This message is for Dave Kori. How dare you call us at home?! If you've got a problem with going to school, you do not call somebody's house and complain about it. My husband was up at 4 o'clock this morning, trying to decide the best thing to do, to send you to school, on a day when the weather man is calling for one thing and another thing happens. You don't begin to know what you are talking about, and don't you ever call here again! My husband has been at the office since 6:30 this morning, so don't you even suggest that he purposely didn't answer his phone. He is out almost every single night of the week at meetings for snotty-nosed little brats, and he may not have called you but it is not because he's home because it snowed. Get over it kid, and go to school. Get an education, that's what you're there for.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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