30 May 2008

Teacher Abuse

If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.
~Marian Wright Edelman~
Some disturbing things are coming to light in the schools recently. In most recent news, a Kindergartner brought a tape recorder to school, placed in his pants pocket by his parents, so they could hear what was really going on in their child's classroom. It certainly enlightened them to the verbal abuse their child was suffering.

Locally, there has been a case going on involving a substitute teacher who decided to duct tape the arms, legs and mouths of two Special Ed. boys who were acting up. And then he duct taped them to a chair.

Then there's the one with the teacher who decided to have her class vote another student out of the class. The students even got to take turns telling him what they didn't like about him. This teacher takes the cake, because she got her students in on the abuse.

I've read other cases in the past. Teachers verbally abusing students. I'm sure many of us have our own stories to tell about abusive teachers from our youth. If you link to the articles, what I find most disturbing of all are the comments from people who side with the teachers. Some of the comments are downright sickening. Some people think the children deserved to be treated that way. When does a 5 year old ever deserve to be talked to that way? Even if the boy has some behavior problems, how in the world does emotionally abusing him help to solve those problems? When does a child deserve to be voted out of his class? When does a child deserve to be duct taped to his seat?

Parents entrust their children to people they don't really know for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. That's a lot of time and a lot of influence. How many parents don't have any idea what is going on in their child's classroom? How many parents don't believe their children when they come home and say their teacher is mean? My children don't attend school. I don't think anyone's children should attend school, personally. No one can care for or love my child the way I do. Ever heard the phrase "children learn what they live?". Well, they live school. They learn school. What sticks in their heads is what is told or taught to them day after day sitting captive in a classroom. So if a teacher is constantly telling them they are trouble, they are pathetic, they are not worth his or her time, what is that child going to believe? And when immature teachers actually enlist the other students to join in, then it really must be true because everyone is saying it. Ouch. And we wonder why so many kids commit suicide.

Words hurt. Really hurt. Children's developing psyches are fragile things. Kindergarten is a time when some children get their first view of the world outside their home. When they are hurt by that world, what do they take away from that? Not to trust, not to care, not to try or believe in themselves. That they are worthless.

I am sickened by how our society treats it's children, as is evident by the comments section of these articles. There are of course a few voices who stood up for the children, but unfortunately there were far too many for the other side. IT IS NEVER RIGHT TO HURT A CHILD! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER! Children are not little adults. They view their world in an entirely different way than we do. They process information differently and they have fewer realms of experience to pull from. They need to be shown how to be compassionate, kind, loving. They need to have someone spend time with them and show them the way. If they struggle, they need help with their struggles, not shame and ridicule. We would never allow an adult to treat another adult that way in the same setting. The adult wouldn't put up with it. Adults can stand up for themselves, children can't.

I'm not sure how to solve this problem. Obviously people aren't pulling their children out of the schools (although I wish they would). I have a feeling that these adults, who treat children like this, probably were treated poorly themselves as a child. They figure that they survived it, so what's the big deal? The big deal is that they didn't survive it, look how they grew up. Look how they have learned to treat their fellow man. If a teacher is burned out, then they should leave the profession. If they cannot control their mouths or emotions, then they should not be allowed in the classroom with children ever again. Of course the institution itself doesn't help the situation. But that's a whole other can of worms for another time.

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.
~Stacia Tauscher~


Lila said...

Very well said, Donna. What kind of a society are we really living in, when people are willing to openly support and defend the child abuser instead of the child?

Stephanie said...


April said...

Wonderful post, Donna!!

It really is sad how misdirected a lot of adults are. Unfortunately, as your article tells, they learned this behavior in a school somewhere. Or even worse, their own homes.