The words “school bully” usually evoke images of means girls or towering brutes. But what if your child’s tormentor was her teacher? That is the unexpected dilemma Greenville, S.C., mom Chartrese Edwards faced.
She had no idea something was wrong until she was dressing her 6-year-old daughter Taraji for school one morning.
Taraji began to cry and said, “No mommy, I don’t want to wear those sandals.” After probing for a reason why, the little girl explained that her teacher had thrown the shoes in the trash because she wouldn’t stop fiddling with them.
“I was messing with my shoes, and the teacher told me eight times or seven, and I never listened,” Taraji admitted. She went on to tell her mom the strap had been bothering her.
The teacher then threw the shoes away and forced Taraji to walk around barefoot for awhile before allowing her to retrieve them. For her part, the teacher admitted what she did. “She easily confessed,” Edwards said.
There's no doubt that corralling a class of 6-year-olds can be frustrating at times. But is this reaction too extreme? Were there other options besides humiliating Taraji in front of her classmates? Perhaps sending her out into the hall? What about asking her to remove the shoes and place them under her desk until the lesson was over? Then send a note home that the shoes are a distraction in class.
Greenville County School officials are investigating the matter and, in a statement, said that they will determine if discipline is needed. However, Taraji’s parents are reluctant to send her back to the school.
“I feel like it was malicious behavior,” Edwards said. “I’m angry about it because you could have used a better method.”
The incident has certainly left the little girl shaken. “I don’t want to get treated like that,” she said.
Now the family is contemplating private school and have started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for that extra expense. In the meantime, the school district has approved a teacher to work with her at home.