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New Canaan Letter: Teacher Bullying Is Unacceptable

Teacher bullying is becoming a growing problem.
Teacher bullying is becoming a growing problem. Photo Credit: File

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- The New Canaan Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Please send letters to newcanaan@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

New Canaan native Stephen Davis, a fifteen year old special needs freshman from Sherwood High School, was a target of mental abuse by a substitute math teacher.

According to The Daily Herald, a fellow student made a crude cartoon of Stephen on the whiteboard with large buck teeth and blood shot eyes along with a pair of antennas and bear-like ears in front of the classroom.

Even worse, Instead of scolding the student, the unidentified teacher reportedly joins in the ridiculing. He wrote, “Stephen's ugly ass” on the right side of the image.

Stephen was clever enough to record the teacher bullying him on his smartphone and showing it to his family as well as posting it on YouTube. Consequently, the substitute teacher is currently under suspension for taking part in belittling the freshman.

Stephen Davis may have been a victim of a teacher's abuse, but he wasn't the only one who was targeted. In the state of Connecticut, this type of bullying is certainly possible.

A recent NBC Connecticut News article displayed a case of another teacher accused of verbally bullying one of her students in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Mary Lou Addona, a Duggan Elementary School reading teacher, got herself in trouble after she was caught lashing out about 13-year-old Jesus Valez. The eighth-grader's classmate Aaron Stewart secretly recorded with his iPod of Addona saying, “Me and him one-on-one, I'd punch him right in the face and break that glass in his eye.”

As a result, Addona was placed on administrative leave, suspended for three days without payment and reassigned to work in the adult education department. ?

Bullying has long been a common issue in public schools, especially in Connecticut. True, it is typical for students to harass each other. But when it comes to a teacher bullying a student, it is in a word, unacceptable.

Not only that, this sort of behavior from an educator is undoubtedly unprofessional and immature as well.

As a student who experienced mental bullying from a couple teachers, I definitely sympathized the humiliation Stephen and Jesus felt.

I even felt enraged reading their stories as I was instantly brought back to the times when I used to be verbally ridiculed. But their smart choice to take quick, sensible action in response is admirable.

The best way to handle the situation really well and do the right thing is to follow both Stephen and Aaron's example. Recording through a cellphone is possibly the most effective way to capture the teacher's bullying and raise awareness among others. Video recordings serve as legitimate evidence since those who hear stories of teachers committing emotional abuse may find it hard believe.

Any student would agree that no one should ever be ridiculed. They do have a choice to take action.

Young children and adolescents require encouragement and positive attention from teachers who are supposed to be supportive role models and set good examples that are expected to be followed. Any instructor who thinks it's alright to belittle or dump their frustration on them should be keep in mind that each have eyes and a cellphone.

Margaret Park

Park is a junior studio art major at Southern Connecticut State University from New Canaan. Her parents both work in Norwalk.

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