Your five year old is at school, in his kindergarten class. His desk is a bit messy. The teacher decides to teach him a lesson by telling his classmates to circle him, calling him a pig, oinking at him, and taunting him as he stood there crying. Can you imagine the humiliation that would cause him?
And that exact scenario happened to a child in a neighboring county last month. (Story here) The teacher, who had 38 years experience, claimed she was tired of his messiness and instructed the children to torment their classmate. Luckily, another teacher walked into the room while it was going on and immediately reported it to the principal. The teacher's punishment? A one-day suspension.
That's all - one day off, an apology to her class, and then back to work.
As someone who was bullied as a child, my heart goes out to that poor boy. No five year old deserves that kind of treatment, especially under the leadership of someone he is told he can trust to look out for him! How will this incident affect his school career? Will he now see teachers as the enemy? Will he become a target for future bullying? (Not a stretch - think back to how elementary kids behave. I can just imagine his classmates using this incident to keep tormenting him.) Will this overshadow any anti-bullying lessons the kids will be taught later?
I truly believe that children pick up cues from their teacher on how to treat other children. I had a teacher that for some reason didn't like me (not in the "she doesn't like me" excuse for bad grades, etc, but documented incidents toward me in her file). She would single me out for the silliest of reasons - I had to write sentences (punishment of the time) because my gum popped as I was chewing. I was sent to the principal because my handwriting was messy (she also tried to change the way I held a pencil, forcing me to write differently). She would ridicule my questions in front of the class. And guess what grade the bullying from my classmates started? That year. I have no doubt the two are related.
I truly hope for the best for this child. Maybe now that this is out in the open something good will come out of it.