For Shame

Sometimes we reach a point where we’ve had enough.

We feel like we’ve been pushed too far and it’s time to hold our ground.

We decide that the next time we get pushed,

Somebody’s gonna get pushed back.

These can be understandable situations,

Especially when they happen in an instant.

Other times we decide that somebody has crossed our line,

And now it’s our job teach them a lesson.

Deliberately.

Publicly.

Today the 24 hour news-cycle is running wild with the story of an Arizona teacher who presented one of her students with a year-end award for failure.

Mrs. Plowman presented one of her 3rd graders with a “Catastrophe Award”-

“For the most excuses for not having homework.”

She had clearly been long-suffering with an unmotivated student.

She made a decision to do something about it.

At the end of the year.

In front of the class.

In case you don’t know what an 8 year-old looks like,

This is Cassandra Garcia;

The actual recipient of the “award”.

It’s easy to blame a child for being irresponsible,

To say that she deserved to be punished.

It’s easy to blame a negligent mother,

For not instilling self-discipline.

But none of these things touch on the real issue,

Which is what children are being taught.

This teacher didn’t just push back,

She made a calculated decision to push back hard,

In public,

On the day that she knew she would get the last push.

It was a deliberate attempt to cause embarrassment

and inflict shame.

It was the cruel adult combination of malice and cowardice,

something that a child feels deeply,

but cannot understand.

Sometimes we reach a point where we’ve had enough.

We feel like we’ve been pushed too far.

It’s time to hold our ground.

But we don’t just hold our ground,

We take somebody else’s.

This is the difference between punishment and retribution.

Between justice and hostility.

There is no place for cruelty with children.

No acceptable excuse for adult revenge.

The negligent student wasn’t the only victim.

In a moment of hostility,

The teacher created an environment of torment,

For children to participate in,

and learn from.

This isn’t about excuses and missing assignments.

It’s about a concept the entire class was being trained to master.

4 Responses to “For Shame”

  1. Leslie D. Martin May 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Undoubtedly, the NEA will defend this teacher and her actions to the death; the school will defend this teacher and her actions to near death. The teacher may make a tepid apology which is calculated to mean nothing but gives her the ability to claim she “apologized”. And in the end, the child is still the only one who will suffer as a result of this so-called “teachers” temper tantrum.

  2. Sharon O May 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    I feel this teacher should be disciplined.
    That is NOT how one approaches little ones, or big ones either.
    The whole purpose of a teacher is to be positive, to teach and encourage the student. None of that matched what she did and an 8 year old is in second grade, my own three grand children are that age. If that happened to one of them this GRANDMA would be seeing eye to eye with that teacher and having a heart talk that she would remember the rest of her life.
    You are right there is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

  3. Emily Plotnick May 31, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Bullying taken to new, and very disappointing, heights. Or is that depths?

    • Jon May 31, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

      Depths… So true.

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