Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hold Youth to the Light

Image by Me: King Richard's Faire 2003

One of the reasons I am really terrible at math is that as a school aged child I was bullied by my teacher. In second grade, in 1966, I was repeatedly hit on the hands with a ruler if I was caught counting on my fingers. Already not wired for math, this exacerbated a tense situation and has subsequently made it really difficult for me to learn math skills.

Recently, one of my daughters was humiliated in front of her class by her teacher. Her teacher told her she was "too thin" and asked the class if they thought she was anorexic. My daughter was mortified. She has been on medication for her occular and painful migraines, which kept her out of school a lot last year. That medication has a side effect of causing her to lose some weight. She is NOT anorexic. She is 5 foot seven inches and weighs about 127 pounds. But that isn't the point. The point is that kids, of all ages, need the support of the adults they trust, and this teacher was one she trusted. What was done was far reaching, and did not effect just my daughter. Imagine the boy sitting in the second row, who has a sister who may be fighting an eating disorder, or the bulimic girl in row 4. To be outed like that, or humiliated like that would be seriously damaging. Hell, my family has been effected by this. I have been really upset all week. So has the other daughter. The tension here is palpable.

Yes, I have talked to the school officials. Yes, I have had her removed from that class. Yes, I am trying to have that teacher experience some consequences. But, it just really amazes me that someone could be so mean and careless. At the very least we have a legal and ethical right to privacy with regard to medical conditions (FERPA Family law with regard to education documents this).

I tell ya. This week has been about as much fun as holding hot coals in your armpits while someone hammers your toes with a frozen mallet.

Hold youth to the light, people. Smile when you can. Compliment often. Direct. Give them bumpers, and for the love of everything holy, do not humiliate them.

Not feeling Cool Enough for anything else today.