Monday, January 16, 2012
Help Me Howard: Teacher asks students to slap themselves
You likely wouldn't tolerate a teacher hitting your child. But what if that teacher was telling your children to hit themselves? Hoping to learn a legal lesson, one concerned mom called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Raising a child can be challenging.
Marilyn Gonzalez, Upset with Teacher: "Ten, eight and three years old."
Raising three boys can be work.
Marilyn Gonzalez: "Sometimes, yeah they can get hyper or loud and like now."
Marilyn pays close attention to her boys and earlier this year saw 8-year-old Javier do this.
And why would a second grader slap himself?
Javier: "The teacher say so."
Marilyn says she was stunned when Javier explained why his Broward Public School teacher made the kids slap themselves.
Marilyn Gonzalez: "If they don't keep it in the order that she wants or if they play a game and they get the answer wrong, then they slap themselves. If they get it right they get a treat."
As Javier continued to open up, he described other things the second grade teacher did to students.
Marilyn Gonzalez: "And if they don't keep their desk in order then she dumps it on the floor and makes them pick up all their books and put them where she wants."
Marilyn says as Javier spoke, it helped explained why his grades seemed to be dropping in school. And Javier told her, at least the teacher liked him. Some students weren't so lucky.
Marilyn Gonzalez: "He also comes and tells me that she hates a kid there. You know, you don't have to like the child but you don't have to show the class you really dislike him."
Marilyn went to the school to talk to the teacher. That didn't go over well.
Marilyn Gonzalez: "I asked her about, you know, the game about slapping and she looks at me like I asked her something, like if I asked her about something so dumb."
Realizing she wasn't making any headway, Marilyn contacted the public school principal and asked that her son be moved to a different class.
Marilyn Gonzalez: "When I called the principal to complain and I told her I also want my kid transfer, she told me that was impossible."
Well Howard, you pay taxes to send your kid to a public school. So if you feel like a teacher is mistreating your child, is the principal right? Is it impossible to get things changed?
Howard Finkelstein: "No it's not impossible. Marilyn took the correct first step by contacting the principal. The next step- go over her head to the next level and next level and keep going up the ladder til you get to your elected school board member."
When we talked to the Broward School District, they told us the teacher did admit to placing students things on the floor, but that she is no longer doing that due to the principal's request and the parents concerns.
She also admitted to asking students to slap themselves but not hard, more like touching their head. She is also no longer doing that.
Then the principal did what Marilyn requested and moved Javier out of the classroom and into another second grade class.
Howard Finkelstein: "The teacher's behavior was clearly wrong. Some people might think it's OK but Marilyn knew it was wrong for her kid and complained. Fortunately the principal did the right thing, stopped the behavior and got the child away from a teacher that was not good for him."
Marilyn Gonzalez: "Oh he's happy. He says he's happy that he got a new teacher, he likes the class and the teacher is nice."
Javier is now happy with his new teacher. And if he is happy with his new teacher, Marilyn is happy.
Marilyn Gonzalez: "Oh thank you guys for everything that you guys did I really appreciate it and if it wasn't for you it wouldn't happen."
Patricker Fraser: "Howard mentioned some people might not have a problem with teaching a kid to pop themselves if they make a mistake. They might consider it discipline. But if a teacher encourages a student to hit his head, a young child will think it's OK to hit another student, or an adult and on and on. Not a good thing."
Got a problem you want to head off? Looking for someone to hit on a solution? Contact us. We aren't qualified to teach, but we can read a law book at an elementary level.
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