UGH!! MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL!
A news station in West Virginia (WTRF) posted this teacher’s note which told parents to clean their children before sending them to school. “TELL US: Do you think the teacher is out of line? A DIRTY LETTER: A school teacher took measures into her own hands. She sent out this note, and now she’s facing disciplinary action.”
The teacher wrote it’s a “health and safety concern” and complained “It also makes it difficult to be close to them or even want to touch them”. The parent AND the child were told to sign and return the letter. Kids with dirty clothes are KIDS! Little KIDS that need help and compassion!
I’ve taught kids with this sad problem. I’ve also noticed how their classmates treat them differently which breaks my heart. Since kids look up to me as an after-school teacher and entertainer (I hear lots of comments that I’m a rock-star, a teenager [yes really], a super-hero and a hula-hoop queen) I consider it an obligation to be a positive role model and show the kids by my actions how to treat one another and EVERY child gets high-fives, encouragement, hugs and love.
The ugly Facebook comments far out-number the kind ones. One weirdly twisted comment said: “What I’m sure a lot of people don’t understand is she is trying to protect these children from being bullied!!! This is where it all starts. I think she handled it great.”
WRONG! TEACHERS WHO OSTRACIZE CHILDREN GIVE THE MESSAGE TO OTHER STUDENTS THAT THIS UNKIND TREATMENT IS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR. STUDENTS LOOK UP TO THEIR TEACHERS AS ROLE MODELS AND WILL EMULATE WHAT THEY SEE AND LEARN.
Singling out dirty children and writing you don’t even want to touch them then demanding that they acknowledge how you feel by having the child and parent sign and return the form is NOT protecting from bullying. That is bullying!
Bullying is the act of one person using strength or status to infringe on another person, whether with insults, threats, physical harm, ostracism, or infringing on their boundaries in any way… although much bullying is peer-to-peer, bullying can be inflicted by an older person on a younger person…. Although school bullying is commonly taken to refer to students bullying each other, teachers can also be party to school bullying. Source: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-teachers.html
The ugly Facebook comments included:
- “She (the teacher) deserves and award”,
- “Parents just don’t care anymore”
- “Being clean does not need money”
- “If a Mother sends a child to school like that, she obviously doesn’t care.”
- “It’s ok to be poor but there is no excuse for dirty”
- “Awesome!! We need more people like her.”
- “I wouldn’t want to interact with a child either if u can’t stand to be next to them for 2 minutes.”
- “It’s the parents fault.”
- “If these kids don’t see that hygiene is a priority at that age, then they will always be the “smelly kid” growing up.”
- “She just said what most people don’t have the nerve to say. Good for her!!!”
- “You go teacher!! Take care of your kids for Christ sake! I raised 5 alone, & it was hard, but they were always clean! Parents are the idiots here.”
- “Even homeless can clean themselves in a restroom somewhere.”
- “There are public toilets with soap and water in stores, gas stations, rest stops on highways etc. You could sink bath a child or take an empty gallon jug and fill up a bowl and bath in your car, not the best but dang there is no excuse to smell.”
- “People are lazy I don’t blame her!”
- “Finally a teacher that says screw politics and stands up for what she believes in, KUDO’s TO HER!!!”
- “Don’t see anything wrong with it. Better than the child being bullied later on because they aren’t clean. Soap isn’t expensive so it isn’t an excuse. You have money for cigarettes and beer …you have money for soap.”
- “Welfare can’t do everything! They can’t come and bath your kids.
- “She shouldn’t have to touch a child like that… Parents, do your job and clean up your kids!”
In my city there are 4,922 students identified as homeless in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (source A Child’s Place). Homeless children are living in unstable living conditions that include shelters, motels, doubled-up with others and cars. Because of the instability they experience, these children are:
1) Hungry twice as often as other children;
2) Sick four times more often;
3) Two to three grade levels behind and twice as likely to repeat a grade; and
4) Experience emotional & behavioral problems three times more than their housed peers
5) The national graduation rate for homeless children is below 25%.
The poverty rate for children in Charlotte is 26% (in West Virginia it is 25%). The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In calendar year 2012, a family of two adults and two children fell in the “poverty” category if their annual income fell below $23,283.
As of October, 2013, average apartment rent within 10 miles of Charlotte, NC is $937. One bedroom apartments in Charlotte rent for $809 a month on average and two bedroom apartment rents average $975.
So I’m going to quote this teacher in a different context:
CARA ZARA / HULA-HOOP ENTERTAINER AND TEACHER
CHARLOTTE NC / 704-540-1456 / CARA AT CARAZARA.COM