Two shocking cases shed light on just how cruel some teachers can be to our children.
We send children to school for academics, not for abuse. But abuse is exactly what two students got from their teachers recently. In Florida, a kindergarten teacher had students vote last week whether a 5-year-old boy should be allowed to stay in class or not. (What is this--school or Survivor? "The tribe has spoken"?)
Alex Barton, who was recently diagnosed with autism, was asked to stand in front of the classroom. Alex later told his mom that the teacher then told the class, "Tell Alex why we hate him." And, one by one, that's exactly what the kids did. Then they voted him out of the classroom, 14-2. Shocking.
Another kindergarten teacher from Indiana was caught on tape berating a 5-year-old student for several minutes in front of the class. After Gabriel Ross complained for months that his teacher was mean to him, the boy's parents sent him to school one day last month with a running tape recorder in his pocket. When the parents got the tape back, they were horrified by what they heard.
Both children have been voluntarily taken out of school by their parents. Alex's teacher has been reassigned out of the classroom to the district offices pending an investigation into the matter. Gabriel's teacher has been suspended and placed on paid administrative leave while school officials conduct an investigation.
What should you do if you suspect your own child is being abused by a teacher?
Psychologist Dr. Lisa Boesky says there are three steps parents should follow:
• Talk to the teacher to clarify the situation.
If you're concerned about anything that's going on in the classroom or with you child, you shouldn't hesitate to talk directly with the teacher. Listen to your gut instinct, and set up a meeting ASAP.
• Stay calm.
Don't storm in to the teacher's office acting accusatory or demanding. Instead, calmly, kindly, and directly communicate your concerns.
• If you're not satisfied, go to the principal.
You'll know within the first five minutes if you are getting a straight answer from your child's teacher or not. If you aren't happy with the results of your meeting with the teacher, it's time to go over the teacher's head and set up an appointment with the principal.
If your kid's had a "teacher from hell," how did you deal with it?