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Some People Shouldn’t Work With Children

, , , , , | Learning | July 4, 2021

I am a single father with an eight-year-old son. My wife was killed in a car accident when my son was three. My son’s second-grade teacher is the kind of teacher we all pray that our children can avoid; she takes great joy in yelling at children for such heinous crimes as “writing with your left hand” (which my son deals with every day, because this is the twenty-first century and I refuse to force my son to be uncomfortable when he’s writing) or “girls playing with boy’s toys” and vice versa, or “having a nickname that is different than the name on my class roster” (such as going by Katie when the class roster says Katherine).

Not only does she regularly yell at children for these oh-so-dangerous acts, but she also calls their parents afterward to ask what they will do to “fix” their child, and she often belittles their parenting skills. Several parents, including myself, have petitioned the school board to have her removed, but the school board keeps giving her “one last chance” to improve. The school principal has also voiced his belief that [Teacher] should not be in class, but he cannot fire teachers without the school board’s approval, so he’s in the same boat we are.

The final straw is when the teacher calls me with this.

Me: “Hello, [Teacher], how can I help you?”

Teacher: “Hello, Mr. [My Name]. Is Mrs. [My Name] available?”

Me: “No, she’s still in the grave, as I’ve told you many, many times now. If this is about [Son], what is it?”

Teacher: “Oh, well… [Son] was fighting with another student today.”

Me: “[Son]? Today?”

Teacher: “Yes. I have informed [Principal] of the fight, and [Son] will be given recess detention for one week as punishment.”

Me: “[Teacher], I can guarantee you that [Son] was not fighting anyone at school today. He—”

Teacher: “He certainly was! Now, please speak with him tonight about his behavior, because this is clearly unacceptable. You know, you really should find a wife. [Son] clearly needs a mother figure.”

Me: “Goodbye, [Teacher].”

I hang up before she can say another word, and the next morning, I head to the school to speak with the principal. The principal calls [Teacher] down to his office, as well.

Principal: “[Teacher], I understand you called [My Name] last night about [Son]’s fight?”

Teacher: “Yes, I did. You have my report on the fight.”

Principal: “Well, then we have a few problems. First, are you aware that [Son] was not in school yesterday? According to [School Secretary]’s notes, [My Name] called in yesterday morning because [Son] was sick and would be staying home.”

Teacher: “That’s impossible! I very clearly remember yelling at [Son] for fighting.”

Principal: “[My Name], can you verify that [Son] was at home yesterday?”

Me: “I can go get the T-shirt he puked on while we were cuddling, if that works.”

Principal: *Chuckling* “Understood. Please accept my apology for [Teacher]’s behavior. I’ll let you get home and take care of [Son]. I hope he feels better soon. [Teacher], can you stay behind for a few minutes, please?”

I said my goodbyes and headed home. A few hours later, I got an email from the school to the parents of all students in [Teacher]’s class. [Teacher] was finally fired! I later heard from other parents that, while there had been a fight, [Teacher] had knowingly falsified her report by including my son’s name, despite her own attendance records showing that she knew my son was absent that day. This prompted the school board to investigate other reports she had filed, and enough reports were found to contain false information that she was fired.

As of my writing this story, my son has recovered fully and returned to school, and his class is being taught by the school principal until they can find a long-term substitute.

This story is part of our Best Of July 2021 roundup!

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