Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus
MiBella
MiBella asks:
Q:

Bullying by Teacher. I am wondering what other parents think about this situation.

During his first week in middle school, our 11 year old son, who was struggling with the transition of changing classes, dealing with his locker, and trying to adjust to the fast pace of middle school, forgot to close his locker after getting his book for a class. One of his teachers walked by, noticed his locker was open, and dumped everything out of his locker onto the floor, then went into class and brought him out, showed him what she did, told him to pick it up and warned him to close it next time or she would do it again. He forgot a second time and she did it again ---- everything, his books, locker buddy, all personal belongings dumped onto the floor in front of his locker.  She went and got him out of class again and told him the next time she would take everything away and his parents would have to replace everything. He was so upset that he was afraid to tell us, thinking we would be mad at him.  The teacher is the one who told me, at 'meet the teacher night,' after I introduced myself to her.  She was actually very proud of her behavior. I was speechless.

I've been told by other parents that she has a reputation for having done this before.  I feel that this is so unacceptable on so many levels. IMO this was a violent act of disrespect which was belittling and humiliating for our son. I'm not sure how to handle this.

Please let me know your thoughts.
In Topics: My Relationship with my child's school, Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

|

Expert

BarbK
Sep 14, 2010
Subscribe to Expert

What the Expert Says:

MiBella,

As a teacher, I totally agree with you that the teacher's actions as you described were unacceptable.  School should be a place where students feel safe and are treated with respected.  Teachers should be role models, leading the way for their students.

First thing I would do is hug your son.  Tell him that he didn't do anything that required the teacher to dump the things out of his locker.  Reinforce that you are not mad nor upset with him.  Encourage him to talk to you about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to school.  This means that when he does, you need to stop what you are doing and listen when it is about something he feels is really important.  One tip is to come up with a code word or phrase. When he mentions it, you stop what you are doing or ask if you can have the conversation later, but be specific.  For example, say the code phrase is "red light happening."  He comes to you when you are in the middle of cooking dinner and he doesn't have your total attention, make an appointment to take to him after dinner or pick a time like 8:00.  Be sure to follow through - he is counting on you.

Second empower your son.  Tell him that because that type of behavior is unacceptable, he can (if he feels comfortable) to report the incident to the administration.  This can be in the form of a letter or verbal.  If he doesn't feel comfortable, then he needs to tell another teacher.  If that teacher doesn't listen, then tell another one until someone does.  

Third start a journal.  Keeping track of these types of incidents by this teacher is necessary. I would also include the fact that she told you about the locker in the first place.  try to keep emotions out of it and just stick to the facts.

Finally, when you talk with the other parents see if any of them will join you in protecting the students.  Get their stories - first hand accounts.  Don't be afraid to go to the administration.  It will help if you go in their with proof and in numbers.  

Hopefully this has given you some food for thought.  Your son is luck to have you.

Good luck!
Barb K
www.lessonpop.com

Did you find this answer useful?
2
yes
0
no

Additional Answers (2)

MiBella
MiBella writes:
Barb, thanks so much for your input - it's very helpful and validating to know that this is viewed as completely unprofessional and just plain wrong by another teacher.

This situation did open the door for revisiting the topic that he can share anything with me, good or bad, and that he can always trust me - that I will never be mad at him. I may not like some things he does, but nothing he can do will ever change my love for him. He gets that.

As far as the situation that occurred, I am writing a letter to the superintendent of schools vs. the teacher personally, (primarily because I've been told that she has done this to other children in the past and feel it would be a waste of time to address her personally and also am afraid she might act out in some way toward him). I will also take your advice and document this and keep a journal.

Middle school is a hard enough time for our children. They are growing so fast and trying to figure out so many things concerning, feelings, fitting in, maturing, basically how the world works - they are only 11 years old. They may look and talk like they are more mature, they're experimenting with sarcasm and all kinds of behaviors; however, they really don't understand half of what they think they know at this age. It is a very delicate, emotional and impressionable time in their lives.

We are continually working so hard to build our children's self-esteem and expect the adults that we entrust our children to on a daily basis to respect that mission and our children by setting positive examples. Our children only have one childhood, and we would like it to be a positive one ... this will be my main message to the superintendent.

Thanks again for your help and quick reply. I didn't know what to expect when I posted on this forum. I really had to get it off my chest I suppose, but am so glad I did.  

Thanks again,
MiBella
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
2
yes
0
no
BarbK
BarbK , Teacher writes:
MiBella,

You are doing the right thing on all fronts: your son, writing a letter, and documenting events.  As I said yesterday, your son is very lucky to have you!  

I believe Education.com is a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and in some cases even teens.  So keep the questions coming, we are all in this together.

Feel free to keep me posted by emailing me directly.

Barb
barb@lessonpop.com
www.lessonpop.com
> 60 days ago

Did you find this answer useful?
1
yes
0
no
Answer this question