"The math we do is really easy," said the letter from Litchfield Elementary School principal Ron Sterr. "If your child is either too lazy or too stupid to finish it in class, I'm sending it home so that you can work with them and judge for yourself whether it is laziness or idiocy that inhibits your child's progress."
Ron Sterr has called each parent individually to apologize and take responsibility, the Litchfield school district said.
The letter sent home Jan. 26 with second graders also contained passages about students with peanut allergies and emotional problems stemming from puppy deaths.
Sterr said Tuesday that he wrote the joke letter in response to caustic comments made by "an individual" and a teacher accidentally sent it home. In an interview with The Associated Press, Sterr said nothing in the letter represents his views toward children and that he openly opposes those views.
"The purpose of the letter was to mock those views and point out how ludicrous they are," Sterr said. "I have always loved the kids, and I believe they know it. For anyone to assume that I have those kinds of views is uninformed."
Superintendent Dr. Julianne Lein said the district apologizes for the incident and is taking steps to remedy the situation. The school district, which is in a west Phoenix suburb, removed Sterr pending disciplinary action.
"The Litchfield School District renders its most sincere apology to our students, parents, community and staff for this incident. We are taking specific steps to remedy this situation," Lein said in a statement.
Sterr said he will not be returning to Litchfield Elementary as principal. He faces a demotion and possible termination.