Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Teacher Criticized For How She Sent A Note Home To A Parent

When I was in elementary school, or at least just in kindergarten, when our teacher wanted to send notes home with us, she pinned them to our shirts--and I don't mean safety pins, either, but gen-yoo-ine straight pins. Can you imagine the lawsuits and threats of lawsuits if some teacher tried that today?

Yet somehow we survived.

That's what came to my mind as I watched this video of a news report from Miami. Here's a summary:

A student is somewhat out of control in class. This isn't the first time, because the teacher doubted the boy had taken previous disciplinary and academic notes home to mom.

The school district says that the teacher "attached" a note to the boy's shirt; mom says the teacher stapled the note to his shirt. Mom says the teacher said she did this because, as stated before, she didn't think he'd taken previous notes home to mom. Mom says she got the previous notes, which makes one wonder why she didn't respond to any of them.

The district says the teacher then told the boy to put on his sweatshirt over the shirt and note, so that the note wouldn't draw attention. Mom and the boy said he had a jacket but was told to take it off so everyone could see the note and make fun of him.

Mom says this treatment was intentionally embarrassing to her son. The boy says it made him angry and mad.

I can see a safety pin or something--but stapling? If that really happened, the teacher is out of line and deserves a good talking to, maybe a little administrative chewing out. This should not, however, become a federal case.

I wondered instantly about the race issue. Both the reporter and mom appeared black. Race was never mentioned in the story, which makes me wonder if the teacher was also black. It's sad that our current state of affairs causes me to think that way, but there's a reason "playing the race card" is a phrase in our modern lexicon. Heck, can we disagree with the president's policies yet without somehow being racists? And he's not even embarrassing individual children.


Ellen K said...

How is stapling a note any different than pinning a note? I don't have safety pins in my class but if I thought it was the only way to get the parent to pay attention, maybe stapling would do the trick. Let's face it, the teacher had sent home notes before, which evidently were ignored. The parent is trying to find an excuse for her child's repeated out of control behavior.

MikeAT said...

I can see the stapling of the note to his shirt...as long as it's not injuring the child (i.e. cutting the skin) there is no harm.

Now I do something similar. Sometimes I work juvenile overtime and bust curfew violators. I issue the accused a citation and write on top "Bring One Parent/Guardian to Court". Now between studying for his advanced placement classes or NHS meetings he may forget to tell mom...so I make a copy of the ticket and mail it to "the parent/guardian of little Johnny..."

Damned I love it when I'm bad! :)

W.R. Chandler said...

The parent is simply trying to deflect blame.

"My kid is out of control, I won't or can't do anything about it, so I will take out my frustration on the teacher."

Steve USMA '85 said...

Darren, what's the issue with stapling vs. pinning? Both cause two holes in the shirt. Stapling bends the sharp ends away from the skin.

Unless she did it ala Blood Wings. Then you would have a point.

Kimberly said...

Teachers are afraid to teach. Teachers are afraid to discipline. Parents are afraid to discipline. There was a time when teachers had the right to teach right from wrong, to make examples. Now teachers have to do and teach what is politically right & it is straight up bullshit. If my kid were acting up, being disrepectul to others then by all means - DISCIPLINE THEM.

Anonymous said...

This is yet another example of disruptive kids who by their parents definition are, "Angels" I too, thought about the "race card", but it doesn't matter. The kid is disrupting the other students ability to learn, THAT IS WHY YOU ARE THERE KID(S)! You go to schoool to learn, not be a whiny ass blatty kid. And the moom is a total moron. Shes is making the matter worse by showing her child that it is o.k. to not accept the CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTIONS!! This kid will probably end up on drugs, jail or dead. Which is a good thing, the less of them there are the better.

Mary Elliott said...

The mom has no right to complain when she did not respond to previous notes, or do anything about her child being out of control.

However, this is where the teacher should have gone to the administrator, told them she had already sent notes home, but nothing has helped, and turn the situation over to them.

Then again she may have been in a school that looked down on teachers who have to turn for help to their principal. You know, you're not a good teacher if you cannot control your students.

Teachers today have no where to turn, and can't catch a break on anything. Do you think there is less supported profession out there? I don't know what it would be.

Anonymous said...

Parents are now in charge of the education system. Anything a child does in or out of school always falls back on the school system, and not parental responsibility. The system is completely broken and needs to be fixed!

Ellen K said...

After reading some of the other answers, I think I can explain the teacher's angst. I just spent the better part of the afternoon trying to track down parents of failing students. See, it's not enough that we have online gradebooks, but we have to print out progress reports and on top of that phone parents of failing students. All students have both parents, stepparents and other relative numbers on file. In more than half the cases, the phones were not working, totally bogus (one was a rec center....) or simply made up. God help us if these kids get hurt....

Mary Elliott said...

Your so right Ellen. At my high school we have to show proof that we made contact. At first teachers could handed in their phone logs, but now we have to show proof of speaking with someone at the other end. VERY frustrating when you get disconnected number after number. Another thing I run into all the time are parents who do not speak english.