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    #45150 - 04/20/09 06:46 PM Help: Verbal abuse by teacher?
    Oliver Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/20/09
    Posts: 3

    Hi -

    Background: My son is an exceptionally gifted 3rd grader who has consistently performed well at school and in the standardized testing.

    At a recent parent teacher conference with my son present, his 3rd teacher, without warning lashed out primarily for lack of social interest in connecting with his same age peers at school. I reproduce some of the gems:

    * "Do you think you can put out [SPAM] in the poster and get way with it?" This refers to a poster my son did on as part of an assignment. He was bored by the project and despite my warning did it in 15 minutes.
    * Threatening - "Next year when you go to Mrs. XYZ's class she will rip you apart"
    * Put down - "[You may be gifted but] You are certainly not at the top of my class".
    * "Lot of gifted people end up as losers, they have trouble with relationships, with maintaining jobs"
    * Taunting and humiliating tone - "I know this is personal, but how many birthdays have you being invited to lately?". Continuing further - "How many play dates have you been on ?"

    Her tone was extremely angry, taunting and humiliating. She latter said other strategies were not working so she had to get his attention! We were so shell shocked at her outburst that we silently endured it during the conference. Partly we were in denial that this could be happening from a teacher we had great respect for.

    I am wondering what can we do? Report this to the principal? I want to get an impartial opinion that I am not over-reacting and making a mountain out a of mole hill here.

    We did meet with her twice after that and showed her research that indicates gifted often prefer kids of their mental age rather than same age peers. She wasn't buying that. Since then she has stopped responding to us. I sent her two emails and a hand written note but she ain't talking/responding.

    Incidentally she is the only GATE (gifted program in CA) certified teacher at school!

    My son is very resilient he was down for a few days but has bounced back but everytime we refer to the incident tears just can not stop. It upsets him too much to even think or talk about it.

    What do you folks think we should do ?

    Thanks for reading

    #45152 - 04/20/09 07:01 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    Katelyn'sM om Offline

    Registered: 10/22/08
    Posts: 1085
    Loc: Austin, TX
    Wow ... I am not in your shoes but I wish you could have stood up during the meeting and said in a calm tone that abusive comments such as hers will not be tolerated and walked out to go find the principal immediately. But I am sure you were shell shocked to say the least.

    Given she is the only GATE certified teacher and on top of that she is not responding to your emails and note means you really need to voice your concern to people above her. There are channels and definitely go up the chain. Plain and simple: No teacher has the right to treat a child in that manner and if she did that with the parents in the room I could only imagine what she does in the classroom when it is just her and the kids.

    #45154 - 04/20/09 07:20 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Katelyn'sM om]
    Oliver Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/20/09
    Posts: 3
    You are right Katelyn's Mom, we feel bad for not standing up at that moment. This was so unexpected plus a bit of cultural baggage - where I come from teachers are given utmost respect. So it took time to sink in what had transpired.

    We are also trying to get our son accelerated at this public school and this teacher's testimony I suppose would be important. I was initially hesitant to rock the boat too much but this i snot sitting well and we feel we need to make some noise.

    #45156 - 04/20/09 07:24 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    elizabethmom Offline

    Registered: 04/13/09
    Posts: 146
    Loc: East Coast
    I am just sick over this story. My DD's teacher said to me privately that she "wasn't so perfect" in a mean, degrading tone, but your story is much worse. You must rock the boat and "make some noise" - please let us know what happens.

    #45157 - 04/20/09 07:41 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: elizabethmom]
    Austin Offline

    Registered: 06/25/08
    Posts: 1840
    Loc: North Texas
    That's some pretty violent phraseology to use for a third grade teacher much less directed at an 8 year old. ( She sounds like a drill sergeant or Sonderkommando, and not a teacher.)

    No doubt she has said as much to other parents about their kids as well and may now realize she has stepped over the line. (Which she has. She might as well have slapped your DS. )

    I'd consider going over her head to the principal with your emails, but keep in neutral.

    If you do get a F2F with the principal and the teacher is present and starts to shade or mistate the truth, then I'd have another letter with the violent phrases she has used and give it to the principal, then read it aloud. Then conclude with the statement, "That I have lost confidence in Ms XX ability to treat my child or others with respect."

    #45161 - 04/20/09 07:58 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Austin]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Dear Oliver,

    If it were me and my kid, I'd get him out of there, immediately.

    But it's not me, and it's not my kid (nor do I know what you might want from the school in the long term), so I don't know if that helps any. I don't think you are making a mountain out of a molehill, however, not by a long shot.


    #45162 - 04/20/09 08:15 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: minniemarx]
    minniemarx Offline

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Sorry, I'm going to get too blabby here, after making a concerted effort to keep it brief in the previous post--and, again, this is just me, and only you know your child, the teacher, the circumstances, and so on...

    But what really bothers me about this, in many ways, is the fact that if another child had spoken to a child this way, a school in all probability would have a mechanism for dealing with it; certainly this type of verbal abuse would be considered bullying in our school system here if one child said it to another. How is it different when the teacher is doing it, except that the child is even more powerless to stop the bullying behaviour from happening to him?

    What worries me about potentially letting it slide is that the lesson might be communicated to the child that he is in fact powerless in the face of such types of abuse, which is not a life lesson I think kids should be learning. (I don't mean to imply that you have been letting it slide; indeed, your repeated attempts to reason with the teacher are admirable.)

    I taught for many years myself, and cannot imagine ever, ever saying such things to a student. She shouldn't be in a classroom.

    #45163 - 04/20/09 08:25 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: minniemarx]
    Oliver Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/20/09
    Posts: 3
    I appreciate all the responses, we are probably too circumspect. Minniemarx I really liked your point about a bully. I will use that! Time to make a bloody hell.

    #45167 - 04/21/09 03:11 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    chris1234 Offline

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1897
    I agree with one and all - those remarks are totally out of line! And especially with Minnie's comment about showing your child what is a good/correct reaction to this kind of thing, even if it took a while for you to sort your reaction.

    Unfortunately this might not be the only time he and you have to deal with such negative remarks intended clearly to "take him down a peg". Which is, of course, ridiculous.

    The lack of warning is especially bizarre! I guess these are her real feelings, but it certainly makes you wonder why she got in to gifted work at all...maybe this if the first time she's encountered a student really off the usual charts?

    Sorry to hear about the problems, but you are in the right, she is wrong and she's messing up your kid frown. I definitely think it's 'time to make a bloody hell'.

    #45168 - 04/21/09 04:03 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: chris1234]
    Mamabear Offline

    Registered: 09/17/08
    Posts: 354
    First of all, I commend you DS on being resiliant!

    When my dd was bullied by a Teacher, she was devistated for a long time, even after we pulled her out and put her in a situation that was wonderful.

    It is time to take it higher, just be sure that you talk with your DS about what you plan to do and that he did NOTHING wrong. Be aware that as long as your DS is in that class, he will be subject to backlash from that teacher.

    It's a horrible situation! Best of luck in your battle!

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