The emotional abuse of our children: Teachers, schools, and the sanctioned violence of our modern institutions.

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I want to start this article by doing a little thought experiment. Imagine for a moment that you are in a group of twenty people. In that twenty people there is a defined leader and that leader is responsible for motivating you, teaching you, and otherwise organizing group activities.  Things are going along OK, but then at some point the group leader decides that they are not happy with the activities of the group. Some of you are going to the bathroom too much, some of you are too easily distracted, and others are simply not following the rules. You, in particular, are a problem for the group leader and so in an attempt to control your behavior and enforce “the rules,” the group leader singles you out and forces you to sit in the middle of the group on the floor for a week.

Forms of emotional abuse: ISOLATION Physical confinement; limiting freedom within a person’s environment. The group leader says it is for your own good and that it will teach you life skills, but for you it is an emotional horror show. I mean, can you imagine the emotions that you would feel? Singled out in a group of twenty, publicly labeled as a loser too stupid to follow the rules, the subject of derisive and degrading attention, isolated, even terrorized by the psychological horror, you would be traumatized for a long period of time, maybe for life. And this would be true even if the group you were in was relatively supportive. Even if they downplayed the social isolation and public shaming, you would still feel it at a deep level. We are social beings after all and as the great Robert Merton said, we get our self-image in part by the way others see us. And if we think others are seeing us as some stupid loser (which is the intent of socially isolating someone in this fashion) then that is how we are going to see ourselves. And that cannot help but have a negative, disturbing, impact on us.

Forms of emotional abuse: DEGRADATION – Of course, chances are the “classroom” you happen to be in is not so supportive. Your illustrious leader has isolated you and degraded you in front of his or her charges, and they are likely to do the same. Human beings, children, adults, learn what is modeled to them. If an authority figure models isolation, degradation, and abuse, chances are that the people watching are going to do it to. Sadly even when you leave the confines of the classroom, even when you leave isolation and re-enter the social fabric, degradation is going to follow you. This means that the deep psychological, emotional, even spiritual trauma of the initial event is going to be revisited on you over, and over, and over again. If this sounds like hell on Earth, you would be right. Even adults buckle and break under the abuse of degradation. And it has just gotten worse. Adults model emotional abuse to children, and children take the hammer and bring it down even harder. New social media like Facebook has made emotional and psychological terror a ubiquitous, and, sadly, inescapable, phenomenon.

Forms of emotional abuse: REJECTION Refusing to acknowledge a person’s presence, value or worth; communicating (by word, deed, or example) to a person that she or he is useless or inferior; devaluing her/his thoughts and feelings. Of course, the sad thing is, it is a lot worse than just your personal feelings about it. The reality is most groups would not be supportive. A lot of psychological research in the sixties (look up Zimbardo’s prison experiments) showed very clearly just how ugly it can get for people who are publicly separated and isolated. People, even close friends and family, turn on you when an authority figure labels, isolates, and rejects. There can be a snowball effect. First, you sit in the middle of the room and feel bad, while the authority figures treats you with derision and disrespect. Then the people around you start to treat you differently. They laugh and point fingers and find other ways to isolate and exclude you. They avoid you at recess/coffee break, talk behind your back, titter and laugh and extend the boundaries created by the initial isolation.  Pretty soon you become a bonafide social pariah, avoided by all and excluded by many. From a social control perspective, the whole things works very well because having experienced that kind of trauma once, you will never want to go through it again, and so for sure you will jump into line and tap along with the tune provided (either that or you will conform to the anti-authoritarian stereotype). But of course, once you have been labeled and humiliated, rejected and degraded the long-term emotional damage is done. All that is left to do is find a good therapist.

Talking about it now you can see, it just cannot be a good thing and as an adult experiencing something like that you would probably (hopefully) recognize the abuse for what it was and leave the group. I’d certainly encourage it.  Research (see below) shows that people who experience emotional abuse have problems with anger, attachment, bonding, emotional responsiveness, and have problems applying even basic social skills. How damaging would that kind of public isolation and rejection be for you if you put up with it? So if you are experiencing something like that, get up and walk away. And if you see someone else experiencing it, stand up and challenge the behavior.

Forms of emotional abuse: PUBLIC HUMILIATIONExposing a person to unwanted attention; using social exposure to manipulate and control; encouraging others to exclude and harass. Now, of course, saying it like this makes a solution to the problem seem relatively easy, just get up and walk away. But now imagine that the team leader has authority over you. Imagine that your group leader had the power to confine you to that “box” in front of twenty of your friends and colleagues. It would be bad enough to begin with, but it would be even worse under conditions of force and duress. Not only could you not get up and leave no matter how you were feeling, but all the negative emotions would be amplified to that point that even a tough, independent, adult might succumb to the damaging effects of the abuse. It is not even too much to say that a sensitive adult may experience post-traumatic stress. After all, being shamed in a public space is a traumatic event by any standards.

The outcome of emotional abuse: Emotional abuse of children can result in serious emotional and behavioral problems, including depression, lack of attachment or emotional bond to a parent or guardian, low cognitive ability, and educational achievement, and poor social skills. One study which looked at emotionally abused children in infancy and then again during their preschool years consistently found them to be angry, uncooperative and unattached to their primary caregiver. The children also lacked creativity, persistence, and enthusiasm. Indeed, children who experience rejection are more likely than accepted children to exhibit hostility, aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior, to be extremely dependent, to have negative opinions of themselves and their abilities, to be emotionally unstable or unresponsive, and to have a negative perception of the world around them.

So, if you are following along with me now, you probably think that this form of bald-faced abuse of power and authority is something that we, as a civilized modern society, should be able to do without. There are lots of ways to motivate people without resorting to either physical or emotional abuse. In fact, as anybody with a clue will tell you, physical and emotional abuse are horrible motivators leading to far more problems than they solve. So imagine now that we take this box thing and do it to children in school. Imagine you have a twelve-year-old daughter and imagine the teacher has threatened that child that if they do not behave and live up to expectations, they are going to have to sit on the floor for a week. You remember what school is like, and how horrible children can be to each other. I imagine that a psychologically and emotionally defenseless child would be TERRORIZED by even the thought of that sort of public display and humiliation. You can imagine the damage done should the child actually be forced, by the teacher, to submit to the public humiliation. Self-esteem would take a hit, their social network would probably crumble, and the effects would no doubt trickle out into the schoolyard in ways too innumerable to enumerate in this short article. Schools have a hard enough time dealing with bullying to begin with without teachers painting a target on a child’s back in this fashion.

Now I know what you are saying, no school would ever do something like this. I mean, we now know that emotional abuse is bad, and we know that isolation, rejection, and public shaming is emotionally abusive, and we would never allow our teachers to engage in it. Shockingly, however, emotional abuse is a problem in school. As a parent, I have had to go to bat for my kids several times. For example, my son’s teacher put his name on a board and publicly humiliated him for not doing his work properly. When I told her that her public humiliation was making him feel bad, all she could say was that if he wanted to avoid the bad feelings, he’d have to perform to her expectations. I was shocked that she seemed so unconcerned about his feelings, and when I pointed this out to the principal, and when I said that as an adult post-secondary teacher it was against the law for me to even post student ID numbers in a public space because I was not allowed to violate their right to privacy and safety (in Alberta FOIP laws protect adults from this sort of public exposure, so why not children??), he said that the classroom was hardly a public space. But of course, it is a public space! Not only does everybody in the school get to see how my son is doing, but parents of the kids that go to the school can have a look as well, so I do not know where he got his “not a public space” comment, ’cause clearly it is. And that is not even the worst of it you know. Last week my daughter came home and said that her teacher told her that if she didn’t perform as expected, she might lose her desk “privileges” and have to sit on the floor for a week.

I am not kidding.

If my twelve-year-old daughter cannot “make the rent” in her classroom, her teacher is going to identify, isolate, ridicule, and publicly humiliate her by taking away her desk and forcing her to sit on the floor in the midst of thirty of her school-age peers. And while her teacher says that it probably won’t be a problem for my daughter, I am horrified nonetheless that even the threat has been issued. I mean, this same teacher, and this school principal, would never ever in a million years think they could pull a stunt like this with adults (can you imagine how upset the teaching staff of the school would be if I put their names and pictures here, put them in a box in public, and held them up for public shaming and ridicule? Furious they’ll be. I am sure it will be bad enough that I have just pointed at them in this fashion, so why are the feelings of our children so irrelevant that they do not even register on their radar? Frankly, I feel sorry for the three kids she’s done it to in the past. I mean, I have read the research, I am aware of how profoundly damaging something like this can be and frankly I am shocked that professional teachers seem unaware of basic psychological research. I hate being such a boisterous critic, but this is important. The research shows this kind of thing undermines creativity, damages productivity, and causes all sorts of mental, emotional, social, and behavioral problems (Sosteric, 2016). As a society, we are always looking for ways to save money, so if these practices undermine our global competitiveness and cost us in terms of damaged creativity, lower productivity, and the cash dollars it takes to deal with social problems, then on those grounds alone we should be up in arms over this kind of nonsense. If you ask me though, protecting our kids from psychological and emotional harm is reason enough.

Bottom line?

If our education system is turning out teachers and administrators who do not think twice about emotionally abusing our children, and if as parents we cannot see that abuse, and do not stand up to stop it, then we as a society, got a problem.

What can you do?

Since writing this article I’ve got a lot of email from parents whose kids are experiencing emotional abuse at school, and teachers witnessing their colleagues perpetrating abuse. If you are a parent, here are some things you can do.

  1. First thing you should do is educate yourself about the horrible consequences of all forms of child abuse. The fastest way to do that is to read this article on Toxic Socialization. That article outlines, in striking scientific detail, the long-term debilitating consequences of all forms of assault.
  2. Share your story. My daughter Vayda, whom this article is about, recently wrote a poem recounting her earliest experiences in school. As she says, her bully was her grade one teacher.
  3. Talk to the teacher. If that doesn’t work, talk to the principal. Teachers and administrators often don’t see their actions as harmful so part of your job is to educate them about it. Print out this article, print out the article on toxic socialization, and show it to them. Be confident when you approach them and make it clear to them that you feel they are hurting your children and you will not accept it.
  4. Pay attention to the initial reactions of teachers and principals. In some cases, they’ll be sympathetic, but in other cases, they will react in strange ways. If you sense a note of weirdness, I strongly recommend recording any conversations and keeping any email transcripts you have. Tell them you want to record. If they refuse, refuse to meet and insist on email. And don’t let them tell you that email is no good, and they’d rather do it in person because in person is better, because in situations where the school is toxic, meeting in person is dangerous. When the school is toxic, email is the best way to discuss things happening because it allows you time to calm down, think, and consider, and (more importantly) it provides you with a legal record of anything they say to you.  It is because of the record it provides that some school administrators don’t like it. At some level they know what they are doing is wrong; don’t let them hide that reality away.
  5. If the school doesn’t allow you to record the conversation, do it anyway, but check your provincial and state laws first. In many locations, it is totally legal to record conversations as long as one person knows about it. In some states, no. Don’t do anything illegal in your area, but do whatever it takes to protect your kids.
  6. If you can’t get no satisfaction, and if you are able, or if your kids are old enough to be home alone, pull your kids out of school temporarily. Send an email to the principal telling them what’s happening. Tell them to arrange for your child’s work to be sent home and then allow your kids to do the work at home.  Tell the principal and the teacher that your child won’t be coming back until they have sorted out their abuse. If the principal threatens you with truancy action, tell him to “bring it on.” Say you’re happy to go talk to a judge and tell the judge why you’re pulling your kids out. Nothing stops an abuser faster than the possibility they might have to explain their abuse to others.
  7. If that doesn’t work, and you have the option, pull them out of school permanently and home school them. You’ll have to check the options that are available to you but it is becoming more and more of a viable possibility. My kids are now fully homeschooled and they love it. They aren’t exposed to the abusive students or the abusive teacher, they are happier, healthier, and are doing way better than before. Now that they’ve been home for a few years I can say, my kids are better adjusted than most adults. There are no behavioral issues, no emotional issues, they don’t act out like traditional teenagers, they don’t cut, they don’t engage in risky behaviors, they aren’t depressed, there is no OCD, no eating disorders, no physical illness, nothing. Of course, if you are going to home school them, your home environment has to be one hundred percent safe one hundred percent of the time. We have a “no abuse” rule in our home, meaning that there is no physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual violence allowed. Our children are thus totally safe in their home environment, so they don’t need to escape from it. Protecting them from violence in the outside world, and keeping them safe at home, has made a world of difference in their development. Full-time safety has allowed them to pour their energy into physical and emotional development and they are strikingly intelligent and mature for their age. One person who met them expressed total shock that she was speaking to a twelve and fourteen-year-old. There are challenges, of course, and as a parent you have to have the time and the resources to do this, but if it is an option, consider it. The more people who do this, and the more we are vocal about why we are doing it (abusive schools), the more schools will be forced to think about, and change, their actions and behaviours.
  8. Publicly humiliate your school. Download this article, write a short paragraph about what is happening to your children, and send it to your local media outlets. We all know the outcome of chronic bullying can be horrible violence, either self-inflicted in the case of suicide, or inflicted on others in the case of school shootings. Remind your media contact of the long-term consequences of emotional abuse and see if a little media attention doesn’t shame the bullies into stopping. At the very least the media attention will draw other concerned parents and teachers out of the woodwork.
  9. If you have the resources, talk to a lawyer. It is becoming increasingly easy to build a case for serious long-term damage caused by teachers abusing in schools. More importantly, precedent is slowly building. Just recently a Wisconsin town passed a law giving police the ability to fine the parents of bullies!  More and more people are waking up to the consequences of abuse and, word to the wise, it is only a matter of a short period of time now before a teacher, a school, a jurisdiction gets sued for emotionally and psychologically harming a child. Hasten that day.

Of course, sometimes as parents we don’t see what’s happening to our kids at school, but teachers often do. If you are a teacher and you witness emotional abuse, here are some things that you can do.

  1. Say something about it, to the teacher if you can, to the school authorities if you cannot, or if they don’t listen. And make sure it gets into the person’s HR record, if there is one. You may not get any traction to begin with, but if all people who witness abuse learn to say something instead of remaining silent, it becomes impossible to dissemble and deny, we’ll stop the abuse much faster. And fast we got to be. The short years of childhood are an extremely sensitive period and children should experience no abuse at all. We’ve got a long way to go, but the faster people speak out, the sooner we will get there.
  2. If you can, let the parents know. If you want to remain anonymous, get an anonymous email account from or something. Let them know their children are being bullied. Sign it “Anonymous Teacher” to give it a little more weight.

Finally, litigate. Litigation is starting to emerge as a response to schools (and eventually parents) who do nothing to protect their children. I’ll keep a list of actions below. If you have examples, send them to [email protected]



Since writing this article a few years ago it has attracted a lot of attention from parents, students, and teachers. Recently it has been picked up by Educational Testing Service in the U.S.A. It is to be used in their teacher certification materials. The contract I signed specified a license for 50,000 teachers over the next ten years! A lot of student teachers will be reading this article over the next decade. I have to say, when I wrote the article I had no idea the life that it would take on.

Up until now, the discussion generated by the article has been, I feel, constructive. However recently it is attracting some very negative commentary, always from teachers (or people claiming to be teachers) in the K12 system. These teachers display anger, hostility, and defensiveness, act like I am attacking them personally, suggest that I have a particular vendetta against teachers, and even call me names like “idiot”. I can see why some teachers would be angry with this article. However, I would like to assure any teacher reading this article that I have nothing against teachers. Like everybody, I’ve had both good teachers (I actually ascribe my success in University to the intervention of a single, caring, English teacher) and bad teachers. I have had teachers who have supported me, and I have teachers who have engaged in profound and devastating acts of emotional and psychological abuse. I even had a teacher who sexually molested the girls in my grade eight class. He went to jail, but the damage is done.

I think teachers as a whole often do an amazing job within the political, economic, and social limits within which they must act. However, unless one wants to make the case that the school system as it is works perfectly for all those involved, unless one wants to argue that all teachers are necessarily perfect in all respects and never hurt children, and unless one wants to dismiss the growing list of student/parent accounts of bullying by teachers listed in the comments section below, there is no ground for defense.  Kids suffer in schools just like they suffer at home. To deny this is to deny the victims a voice and to undermine and subvert the possibility of open discussion and necessary change.

Of course, parents and students also have to be accountable. Abuse and neglect in the home often translates to misbehaviour in schools. Parents can deny it if they want, but it happens. I am a parent and unfortunately, I cannot claim perfection. I had my first child when I was nineteen and I was not emotionally or intellectually equipped to deal with that. I myself was dealing with the abuse and neglect in my own childhood, I was immature, and as a result the poor child experienced years of abuse and neglect.  I feel bad about it even to this day, and even worse because there is nothing I can do to fix it, but it happened. I have two teenage children now and even though their childhood is a vast improvement over my own, or even my firstborn, we still struggle as parents. We are not perfect and we make mistakes. I feel bad about the way we treated my firstborn, but we are very proud that we grew and did better with a subsequent cohort.

Anyway, I don’t want to ramble on. My main point here is that we’re all perpetrators of abuse at some point. There is no sense in denying that, no sense in judging each other as a result, and no sense in getting worked up over an open discussion. I became a better parent, and a better teacher, by admitting to my failures and weaknesses (denying was such a waste of energy anyway), by talking to therapists, teachers As this summary entry on <A href=””>Toxic Socialization</a> amply demonstrates, abuse of all forms hurts us in deep and profound ways. Isn’t it time we stopped hurting our children, and ourselves? , even my own children about it, and by searching around for ways to improve my understanding of human beings in general, and children in particular. We worked hard to translate greater awareness and understanding into better behaviour. I am hardly perfect in this regard even today, but I am a much better parent now as a result.

If this article amounts to anything, I would like it to be a catalyst for awareness, discussion, and change. Whether you are a parent, a student, or a teacher, take what you read here and listen. Listen to parents anguish and confusion over the abuse their children experience. Listen to the teachers struggle as they try to do good within a system that is underfunded, under-supported, and arguably broken.  Listen listen listen and when you are satisfied you have heard, discuss, think, and make change.  We need to do it and we need to do it now because our children are suffering, and we are to blame. We are raising generations of damaged children. It is horrific to think about it, but every single girl that my daughter has connected to since she was ten has revealed an emotional disorder to her (depression, cutting, suicidal ideation)!  She has friends as young as twelve who are already on antidepressants. This is not normal; this is a sign of serious societal dysfunction. True, parents and teachers are not the only ones to blame here (we can draw in the media, corporations who continually pimp products, a political system that privileges every other form of spending over education, and so on), but we are still front line agents of socialization and we have a duty to make it better for our own children, and for all future generations. There is no excuse.

So, if you are a teacher and if reading this article makes you want to lash out at me, take a deep breath. I am not blaming and judging anybody, and I am certainly not wanting to shame and punish teachers for “misbehaving” in the classroom. I know the negative emotional impact this has and I think we all got to stop doing it to each other. I am simply saying, there’s a problem and we need to fix it. We fix it by a) becoming aware of it, b) talking about it, and c) coming up with positive, inclusive (for parents, teachers, and students) solutions. It is time to end the suffering and abuse. Our children and our children’s children are depending on us getting this right once and for all.


Michael S.
November 2, 2015


Brendgen, Mara, Wanner, Brigitte, & Vitaro, Frank (2006). Verbal Abuse by the Teacher and Child Adjustment from Kindergarten Through Grad e6. Pediatrics, 117: 5.

Hyman, Irwin & Snook, Pamela (1999). [amazon_link id=”0787943630″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dangerous Schools. What we can do about the physical and emotional abuse of our children[/amazon_link].

Krugmen, Richard D. & Krugman, Mary K (1984). Emotional Abuse in the Classroom: The Pediatrician’s Role in Diagnosis and Treatment. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 128: 284-286.

Moeller, James R. (2002). The Combined Effects of Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse During Childhood: Long-term Health Consequences for Women. Child Abuse and Neglect, 17(5): 623-40.

313 Replies to “The emotional abuse of our children: Teachers, schools, and the sanctioned violence of our modern institutions.”

  1. “f my twelve year old daughter can’t “make the rent” in her classroom, her teacher is going to identify, isolate, ridicule, and publicly humiliate her by taking away her desk and forcing her to sit on the floor in the midst of thirty of her school age peers”

    Indeed, step out of line little girl and you will face the dire consequences of exclusion, isolation, public humiliation…what else? Our eductation system trains our children well for their future as submissive adults. It’s like a subliminal mental coercion to obey at all costs or else indoctrinated at an early age.

    1. Hi my name is Kimberly I went to school in Des Moines Iowa named Clarkson Elementary. I am now a lot older but I remember very well being physically,verbally, and mentally abused my teachers. All I remember is being in my put in a closet where they would bite me with their teeth in my scalp. And slap my face with a ruler or a book. I would urinate on myself in the closet because they would not let me go to the bathroom. I can’t help but think that my life is so messed up just because the teachers abusive Behavior. I live my life now ashamed of who I am. I can’t read all right very well. I lived my life with lies trying to hide the fact that I could not read or write. Now I live with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar. To this day I would like for someone to just say I’m sorry. I was just a child I did not deserve that kind of treatment regardless of my color. The bullies in school with black white yellow green purple the teachers that are in the school no matter what color a child is should be loved and respect it. and teach them Because that’s what we depend on and when we don’t know that our children are being abused. And they grow up not knowing what or who or how important they are in this world. it’s a sad thing. All I can say is love them believe understand them and care for them. But I know that there’s a God and that He blesses me everyday love you children. Kimberly

      1. never be ashamed of who you are or for the skin you were born into. that teacher does not deserve to be called human. biting is an inexcusable form of punishment and no one deserves that treatment ever. I hope that there are no teaches around the world doing this to our children. xxx

        1. Kimberly braddy….I AM SO SORRY THIS HAPPENED TO YOU. your story brought tears to my eyes. How can a person live with themselves and look at themselves in the mirror knowing what they did to you (and I’m sure many others!)!!
          Why didn’t your parents step in?!
          How did know one stop this?!
          My heart breaks for you. It’s not your fault and I pray God gives u peace inside and a feeling of self worth. Look in to tapping (eft) to help progress past this indescribable hurt. Listen to Joel oSteen on Sirius radio ch. 128 or on you tube to heal.
          Kimberly please know that you’re in my prayers for healing. Hugs mama you are very loved.

      2. Kimberly… It truly broke my heart to read your comment, about the the trauma, and abuse you experience as a child. Especially in a place where we as children should feel Safe… I had Nothing to do with the horrible acts done to you during the Most Fragile Years Of Your Life, but I as a Mother, Female, and Most Importantly A Compassionate Human Being am Truly Sorry You Had To Experience this at such a young age. Nothing in the world could change your pass, but your absolutely right Our Good Lord has Blessed You, and found You Worthy to continue on this Life Journey. I hope you can somehow find comfort in knowing that although I am a total stranger to you, I find you to be a very important human being who will, and has quite possibly helped others with Love, and Compassion. May God continue to Bless You, Today, Tomorrow, and Always

      3. The article hit a very sore nerve with me. I was riding u led a lot in school. A teacher in elementary school took a project am I was working on, a puppet for a play, and when I got sick she gave to to someone else to finish and the ruined it. She ridiculed me for my response to her heartlessness in class. Another beat me with a ruler on my hand when I missed a spelling word. I ran out of the school and got my mother. I was sick a lot, always the new kid, Had to wear braces cause I kept breaking my ankles, we didn’t go to church so we were heathens, I missed a lot of school so was always trying to catch was very tough for me , the treatment I got was worse. I was bullied, tripped, ignored, left out, you name it.still I always tried my very best to excel and fit in…didn’t matter.the worst thing that happened was graduation day. I had been going to counselors , doing everthing they told me to to graduate but they never told me about drivers ed. So when it came time to graduate I was told I would not be graduating because I had not taken it. I was devastated!! They also said regardless I had to wear a hat and gown and be there for the ceremony. Day of the ceremony I was there in hat and gown feeling so conspicuous and sad. They called the names as I watched then they got to me. They called my name and I thought oh they must have changed their minds or found an error…I got up so 😌 and started to go to the stage when someone ran out of the wings , grabbed the diploma and on Mike told the Principal I was not graduating. I stopped dead tracks as the who graduating class gasped and looked at me. I died. I froze. I did not know what to do. I ran out of there in tears more humiliated than I thought my heart could stand.that hurt has never gone away.what made it worse…when I went to talk to a different counselor about scheduling drivers ed he asked me how old I was. I said 18. He looked at me and said I didn’t have to take drivers ed only those 17 and under. I should have graduated with my class and my graduation was destroyed because of a stupid counselor. Even now I can barely breathe thinking about it. That was in 1968 in Whittier Ca….all these years later it feels as is as if it were yesterday on so many levels. And no one ever said they were sorry for what happened.

        1. I too am a survivor of mental and physical abuse while attending an elementary school in 1972. This 2nd grade teacher used techniques similar to Stanford studies at the time, which became known as Stockholm syndrome. I am only now at 56 realizing fully what happened to me and how it has impacted every aspect of my life. I have had 3 abusive marriages, PTSD of course, and can’t hold jobs that require math skills because of panic attacks. I just contacted Del Rey Elementary where this child abuser, Mrs Cline, tortured children for years, in hopes that my classmates can be located and hopefully talk about our experience, and how our lives were impacted. I’m also curious about any behavior modification studies that may have been conducted on children during the early 70’s in the San Francisco Bay Area. I feel your pain every day too. Amazing how these monsters got away with murdering children’s trust and self esteem.

    2. That is not excusable, you should never isolate children to be ridiculed by their peers. I have a similar situation with my 5 year old, that has been in the public school and it it had been is pain and torture for all of us, He is a lovely boy. They love making hims the centre of the bad things that embarrass Him deeply
      I could go on forever about the actions of the school, is the time right to take a potest against this kids bullies (teacher and management\?

      1. What ever I read it happened to my son for 5 years from kindergarten to 4th grade. Additionally I was foreign who didn’t know what the heal is that.
        What going on? now I am not alone.

    3. I had a teacher today pick me out of group talking and said out loud for me to shut up and I was annoying and everyone was laughing and felt empty instantly I couldn’t believe that so I told her she was annoying then in return I got wrote up but I didn’t know what to do just sit there and get laughed at..

      1. Hey Zach,

        I’m so sorry that happened to you. I am 25 years old now, but I will always remember the times I was abused by my grade school teachers.

        I remember I was often singled out by teachers and adults when I was a part of a group. Adults can be cruel and judgemental. Maybe it was something about the way I looked or maybe they had a bad impression of me? I could never figure it out when I was young, but I think I have an answer now that I am an adult. There are awful people in the world 🙂 and many of them become adults in positions of authority. Even though you are young, you are allowed to have negative feelings towards the adults in your life! Some adults and teachers are trash. Trust your own opinion on these abusers, and try your best to avoid them until you can escape their classroom

      2. I too am dealing with recent long term professor public emotional abuse. I am depressed and have anxiety for too long now. I am a good student. I am kind. I am an achiever. I loved school. She had control issues and her own hangups that she took out on mostly myself. She will never know how badly she hurt me. I will suffer until I get professional help to recover. It makes me angry and sad daily. I didn’t turn her in, because I just wanted to leave the abuse so badly and heal at some point. My husband doesn’t fully understand my plight, but he tries to be sweet and supportive. My kids are my light. I am already fearing them going to school next year and leaving me alone all day. I will recover, but I don’t know after how long. I quit her class with a 95% grade and with just three weeks left in class because the whole thing was soooooo toxic. How do I start to recover at home?

      3. Good for you for standing up for yourself. It makes me very proud when I hear someone stick up for themselves. We are on this earth to lift each other up and to know our worth and value as having all the potential in the world.

        1. I was just let go from my position as a teachers assistant because I stuck up for the kids since teacher was not teaching them properly and I informed the principal of teachers wrong doings and I was let go !

          1. It’s a sad reality that those with the integrity to do the right are often punished for it. Unfortunately, many who experience this succumb to the mantra “if you can’t beat them, join them.” But I would rather suffer this, than see someone else – especially a child – be abused and do nothing.

          2. It’s a sad reality. They don’t want people with integrity. It seems that the people with a moral ethic are the outcasts.

    4. I had the same teacher for my 7th and 8th grade years. From the start, he would single me out constantly. Originally, he just appeared to want to “help me” academically, if you will, but I by no means was a bad student at this time and felt severely diminished by his ‘concerns’. He made it seem like I couldn’t graduate his class with average marks. Here in Canada, elementary schools legally HAVE to pass you.
      In 8th grade the psychological abuse began. He would stare at me intesenly for long periods of time while he either sat in his desk or taught, he would listen in on my conversations with friends and throw wild accusations at me and my friends without knowing anything. He degraded me, made me feel worthless.
      One time he called me a ‘waste of space in his classroom’ because I couldn’t answer a question.
      It’s been several years since I graduated high-school and the affects of this abuse still linger on today. I blame him for a huge part of the reason why I have such poor social skills and generalized anxiety. I was a high achiever before this abuse took place, today I am failing almost all of my courses. I am currently in the process of getting my life back.
      I’m only beginning to come to terms with how bad the abuse was, and how greatly it has changed me, shaped me and ruined me.
      If your child has a predisposition to depression, anxiety or is in any introverted, be warry. Manipulative men and women who are dissatisfied with their own lives love to hurt anyone is a threat to their authority, their status quo.

    5. As I am writing this I am overwhelmed, helpless, devastated, heart broken, powerless, exploited and I am her MOM. For her it is exponentially more difficult and futile. She has not been able to attend school because she can’t hold up in school unsupported. She is the target of adults who are engaging in unethical, deceitful, manipulative and bullying behaviors. It is HORRIBLE for her. Every day she comes out of the doors with another piece of her gone. They have totally destabilized her and are the cause of her mental anguish, struggle, anxiety, and paralyzing panic and fear. She is ALONE totally alone. Every trusted adult betrayed her one by painful one. She cries for her classmates who she has seen mistreated as well. They destroy her, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, and sociologically to the point it has affected her ability to sleep, function, or have the ability to learn. She is in survival mode at school and every ounce of energy defending the next issue/incident that happens. Now that THEY have mentally destroyed her they absolve and deny and say she needs therapy as if it is her problem and not the abuse and mistreatment. The school was a great place once. It was under a different leader as well as some long time older teachers that have retired. All of her teachers were caring, loving, compassionate, supportive and made her feel as if she belonged and she was accepted for being her unique fantastic self. The dignity of difference was honored.

      I had a vibrant, charismatic, energetic, enthusiastic, bouncy, animated, secure and confident thriving child. Her teachers spoke glowingly about her. She bonded and attached with them and the environment was positive, healthy, and she was learning so much and having fun. She ran in the door with a huge smile and came out of school beaming, sharing her fantastic moments of each day. She was curious, excited, energized to learn and was sucking up each and every morsel of the information that was causing her to become increasingly expressive and creative. Her sketchbook was filling with the most creative ideas you can imagine. She developed characters and dialogue and made fascinating journeys and her imagination was taking off like rockets. She had been forming the stories and sketching for three years! It was not a behavior it was an activity she did in her free time. One teacher changed EVERYTHING. First a full out belittling, berating, shaming, blaming, ranting, raging, screaming, intimidating and threatening tirade that lasted more than 5 minutes straight as my child stood there being abused. The class above her witnessed, her class witnessed, she was still yelling when the classes changed, the younger grade afraid to enter the room as the tirade continued. “YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING! YOU ARE JUST A KID, I AM THE ADULT, YOU ARE THE KID! YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS, I AM THE BOSS.and on and on and on. eventually the younger grade slunk quietly into the room and took their seats as the yelling and screaming continued as my child stood totally still waiting for it to be over. It was horrible. She made a statement. Three words. The teacher handed out a magazine. As soon as she saw the cover she knew it was a magazine she had read before, she remembered all of the contents and articles. She was excited and said “I already know this!” That is what caused her teacher to go nuclear. A quiet inside voice informing her she read the magazine. As the word “this” rolled out the teacher went nuclear, lost all control, and into an immediate defiant rage. “YOU DON’T KNOW THIS, I DON’T KNOW THIS MRS. SOANDSO DOESN’T KNOW THIS AND YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!”

      My child has never raised her voice, never talked back, never misbehaved. I complained and the PRINCIPLE of the school BLAMED my child for the teachers bad behavior. It was my child’s fault because she had an attitude because so and so said so and they witnessed the conversation. There was NO conversation. My child three words and the teacher non stop diatribe. The teacher continued to lie about her, set her up, catch 22’s, collude and collaborate with others to disparage her, label her and judge her. She stopped creating and drawing it’s been over a year, she cries everyday, she doesn’t talk, she is filled with dread and worry, can’t relax, can’t concentrate and trying to survive each day. Smiles and laughter are gone. An entire bus ride home from a movie she fell apart. She cried the entire way back and not a single one of the 5 adults on the bus cared. It is horrible. To care that little for a human being because you judged and slapped a label on them and now you can lie continue to lie and treat them like they are less than human. It is devastating. We are really struggling and suffering.

      I went in knowing what I had to do to break up the collective mind set. It was 5 people. I got one letter done and was working on the rest. The principle called the police, filed a false claim of harassment and she had them buying her entire victim statement and lies before I even entered the building. I entered to a emotionally volatile angry hostile yelling sheriff. He bought her emotional manipulation, lies, and damsel in distress all the way before even asking me a single question. He said if I spoke to anyone other than her the bully principle i would go to jail. He WILL ARREST me if I speak to anyone at the school other than her making it impossible for met to protect my child or fix the collective mind sets one at a time. My child is terrified I will go to jail and hesitates telling me about the manipulation and set ups the causal teacher continues to do. Calling her non responsive when there is no way to respond to someone who is out to get you and no matter what you say or do she will nail you and make it appear she is the problem.

      I miss my thriving happy child. Suffering for two years now. It’s awful. The principle is also the superintendent so that’s as high as you can go. Nobody is above her. All requests to speak with school board have been denied and they refuse to put me on the agenda. No where to go but down. Loosing faith in humanity one person at a time. She’s a child! What they have done to destroy her should be illegal and criminal. Nowhere to turn. River of tears, and seeing my child loose piece after piece she is almost empty, drained and to exhausted to continue.

      1. Why don’t you get her out of that school and home school her?
        you’re trying your best and you can do much better than those teachers

      2. Wow. I would absolutely hate to have you as a classroom mother. You sound very unstable. But that seems to be the current intelligence level nowadays. No wonder so many teachers hate teaching nowadays.

    6. TRACY- There is no reply arrow by your commment. My daughter is 14 as well. When my child was in 2,3, and 4th they had a point system for reading. My daughter read the books. They had to take tests at a computer to earn the points. We do not push, shove, intimidate or manipulate others. There was never a computer for my daughter she stood in line never getting a turn. If she did sit down at a computer a gaggle of girls started up this dramatic scene, shifting feet, hands on hips, exasperated sighs, groans, telling her she is hogging the computer, then another, let someone else have a turn, hurry up the gaggle of girls before my child could even answer a single question. She would get up just to make them stop and the teacher glare because she believed the gaggle of girls complaints. The computer screen and time would prove my child never took a test. On point award day she sat on the bleachers and was not allowed to play with all the rest of the kids for two hours as they celebrated the points. She lost interest in reading. When we went to the next school a wonderful teacher encouraged her and she read 82 books that year and took all the tests and finally loved reading. This is the great school that is now HELL. It only takes one bad teacher, then she spreads her false projections on your kid, colludes with other teachers, labels are smacked on and she is now rude, liar, non compliant, non responsive, and has attitude. NONE OF THOSE ARE TRUE it was slander, smear campaign, colluding, spreading virus that decided my child is who they say she is and nothing can change the negative. Not a single below the line behavior, not a single warning, not a single fix it plan, well behaved child is now totally destabilized and paralyzed with fear and anxiety. They deny and will never accept responsibility for the damage THEY caused.

    7. Hello Michael,

      I came across your article because I was researching the phenomena of teacher bullying. In my child’s case, the teacher went running to the principal for protection and the principal refused to ever speak with me alone. I went up to the school board who only pretended to want to help but ultimately defended the principal’s actions. I documented incidents but they were only dismissed. The the administration turned it around to the teacher being the one who felt threatened. Basically, a parent is not allowed to advocate for an 8 year old child but the principal advocates for an adult teacher. I initially kept my child home for a few weeks but ultimately pulled her out of the school. After the child has been pulled out, the principal has requested a medical certificate for her previous absences. I think they want to protect themselves from possible litigation. If they have a medical certificate on hand, they can say that her reason for absences was due to her own problems and not because she was being threatened. It is extremely disturbing how no one cares about children.

  2. Great article. I really appreciate the soc journal there is a lot of interesting articles on here that make me think and have opened my eyes.

    It is good you stand up for your kids like that but you must get so frustrated and want to pull them out. The teachers probably look at you as being the crazy one. It’s so obvious to me now how much abuse we get subjected to at home, at schools etc, everywhere we should be protected.

    The singled out kids are treated differently, I remember one boy when I was 6 or 7 maybe, who always got in trouble. When he swore, the teacher would disrupt the class, take him into another room and wash his mouth out with soap. He would cry. Everyone looked at him to be a trouble maker and I know everyone had an opinion of him without really knowing him. I am pretty sure we probably laughed about it sometimes. No one would have thought about the impact this kind of treatment would have had on him.

    I was a ‘good’ kid, but I even look at how teachers treated me which would have made other kids feel bad. Sometimes a teacher would require two students to go to every classroom in the school to get a card signed by all the teachers, I got to do this a lot because I was a favourite. This would have even made other kids feel bad, or jealous, or even have negative thoughts about me. This kind of activity should have been rotated around the whole class.

    But then the children abuse each other. You are singled out if you perform well, singled out if you perform bad, teased if you don’t look a certain way, teased if you don’t do certain things. Kids want to fit in so you want the ‘cool clothes’, the expensive name brands. You might start smoking in the toilets, or one stupid things kids used to do at my primary school is get a wad of toilet paper, wet it and throw it up on the ceiling where it stuck. I got teased for being flat chested, and for having big eyes. I used to hate public speaking aswell, doing book reviews when you are about 10, having to stand in the middle of the class terrified me.

    Then in high school I got teased for apparently having a big fore head. Not by many, only a couple who were supposedly ‘friends’ but you never want to feel different when you are school. Then you have your cliques, the nerdy groups, the popular groups. I was an in betweener, I spoke to everyone I didn’t care if they were nerdy or popular. None of that crap matters once you leave school, except the damage it causes to the individual in how they view themselves.

  3. Hi Kristy, that crap does matter when you leave school. It is what you have learned in school about hierarchy, exclusion, the formation of groups, differential rewarding (i.e. only the “winners” get trophies) that forms the basis of The System. I had a talk with a vice-principal a couple years ago about this and I’ll write an article soon about it.

    1. Hi Dr. Sosteric,
      I just today am reading this article (finding my way here as I have come to my wits end on how to “control” my 3rd grader about his classroom behavior; apparently it is assumed that I can somehow telepathically do this from work and when I’m not around him), and was curious to know if you ever did publish the article highlighting your discussion with a vice principal which you you make reference to above. If so, please let me know the link – I’m pretty anxious to read this. Thank you and thank you for your commitment to society and these causes. Only through learning our faults and shortcomings as human beings can humanity progress in a positive way.

      1. I am Ophelia…All this has been going on with my 8 yr old for the past 3 yrs..abuse by teachers, lunch ladies, bus driver…and everyone else in between, takes turns with my 8 yr old’s emotional stability, so much so as a result of all the abuse, he has developed a nervous tic…
        Please try reaching out to me as soon as you can via my email…I am ready to seek legal help? I have been taping these people for the past four years…they will not be able to explain any of this in court…I thought I was crazy, I went online, only to find out after reading your article…that I am not.

          1. My daughter was physically pushed down and has scratches on her back and a lump on her head, a teacher pushed her down.. what league RIGHTS do we have ???

      2. Missy Green, we teachers do not assume that you can control his behaviour from work/ telepathically! What concerns us is the reasons your child acts like this in school, where the majority follow the rules. Have you looked at yourself and actually realised that you can’t wash your hands of his behaviour. His behaviour is a result of your parenting and your parenting alone! It is a shame that you are at your wits end but don’t give up hope. From experience, both husband and wife being consistent in their approach to discipline works. Actually using the same rules at home as at school really does work – many parents of children I’ve taught over the years can testified to this. Work with the school, not against them. I know it’s easy to get frustrated, but if your son knows that you, your husband and school are all in communication, working together to support him and change his behaviour, it will help. It really will. Best of luck.

        1. I totally disagree with putting the blame of student behavior 100% on parents, Ms. Roberts. I’m speaking as a former abused child in school who suffers from PTSD as a result, and it took me a sizable proportion of my life to recover from the bitterness, lack of self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts I had as a result of the incessant bullying I had to deal with from teachers and students alike, often with the latter taking their cues from the former.

          There are a few things you need to understand: students are forced to spend long hours per day and week under the authority of teachers, during a large proportion of the year. The people whom the students are forced to interact during their time in the school environment, including teachers, the principal, and other adult staff members have a significant effect on the kids, and this cannot and should not be dismissed or downplayed as you seem to be doing here.

          What you call “discipline” is very often a euphemism for abusive emotional behavior, and oftentimes physical abuse. Doing such things doesn’t make your students respect you, it only makes them *fear* you, and one should never be mistaken for the other.

          Further, it’s well known that human beings all too often tend to become bullies when placed in positions of power. Politicians, CEOs, and teachers are all good examples. Teachers under the current system have a lot of power over the students in their charge, and too often they benefit from operating under rules which declare that in virtually any conceivable instance when they have a conflict with a student, they are always right by default. This type of power imbalance will clearly “go to the head” of many teachers, who will believe it’s their right to abuse students they develop a personal dislike for. Students are pretty helpless before teachers, and they have a standardized curricula imposed upon them that many are not suitable to learn from. Because of this, it should be no surprise that the current type of school system is not conducive to many students. Why do the majority follow rules, you ask? Because a good majority of them do not have exceptional creativity, nor the ability to exercise the critical thinking skills, to “think outside the box” and take a truly objective look at the environment about them. They simply do as they are conditioned, much as the majority of chattel slaves didn’t question their place and position on the old Southern plantations. Creativity and critical thinking skills are greatly devalued and discouraged in the current authoritarian school system, with conformity of thought and a standardized form of “learning” imposed. Students who do not, or cannot, fit into this cookie cutter image are the ones who are most often singled out by the teachers for bullying, who demand unquestioning obedience to a very strict regiment rather than fostering true thinking skills. In other words, running a school system like a military camp is going to have serious consequences on those who do not fit in. The majority of students whom you praise often become bullies, or simply go through life questioning nothing about the world around them.

          Work with the school and not against it, you advised this parent? No, if the school has teachers who are bullies, then this needs to be opposed, not rationalized . The school system should be recognized for what it is, and how the top-down relationship between teachers and students, and how “respect” is only demanded from one side, creates an environment in which it’s easy for teachers to dehumanize students and treat them as something less than human. I experienced it, Ms. Roberts, and the backlash you’re seeing with recent studies and movements are making it clear that many others have as well.

          The schools need to be democratized, and students and teachers need to work together in an environment of mutual respect, where the basic humanity and feelings of students are recognized as valid, and teachers do not underplay the effect they have on the kids they teach, as you do here. Once schools become a place where learning is fun and interesting, and under a system of mutual respect rather than granting teachers the power and (all too often) the mindset of a tyrant, then we will see far less problems. Do not be in denial about how much of a problem teachers, including you, Ms. Roberts, can be when they are operate from a position of power and unquestioned authority.

          1. I just wanted to say that Christofer Nigro’s comment is one of the best, and most accurate, things I have ever read in my entire life. And, I’ve read a lot.

            There is wisdom in his post for anyone who wants to benefit from it…

          2. I love this comment and I can 100% agree with it! It is easier to blame parents than think that a child’s behavior is the mirror of the teacher’s teaching style. A lot of teachers do not choose to be teachers for the love of children but for the benefits of being a teacher. There are a lot of good teachers but there are many who does not have the talent or the effort to reach some of the students the way they can benefit from. Kids need to feel that they are loved by their teachers , if they feel the opposite, they will behave differently in school. Many kids, who behave well at home but not in school, feel the love of their family, but cannot find their place in the classroom.

          3. These comments only strengthen my resolve to quit teaching. The “rewards” are not worth the effort. I feel for those that see our school system is absolutely fucked, because it is. But, to blame teachers for being disciplinarians is ridiculous. Its like saying you don’t like cops who are strict. I hear lots of criticism and no solutions. If you don’t like the school, take your kid out. If you can’t, take responsibility for children’s education in another way. Im so sick of parents bitching about teachers… ITS THE GOD DAMN SYSTEM. The internet is full of busy bodies who most likely have not taught school. I could be a assistant manager at Chic-fil-A and make more money.

          4. My son has not been diagnosed but I feel has a learning difficulty, at present he was absent and I had to face welfare council. Before I had two home visits by coordinators. One said he had low self esteem, but he doesn’t want to attend, nor work says its boring. I have encountered anger in trying to help him work. The doctor said he’s being bullied. But he says not. The school is blaming me as a single parent, yet now school is the only social contact apart from media he has. This shows he is not happy at the school, and what is going on there is affecting him. Last night a teacher rang regarding his lack of work towards exams and his college application. She was quite irate and blaming. Iexplained he refuses to go to after class nor work at home. I told her I have never been so upset with the school as now, she went quiet. Later I spike with my son and we did some work. I joined in with the work. But he has a fear of work which stems from the school definetly. I got him with the help if the head of year back in school after 6 days away. To be patronised and made to feel worthless. I am so upset to be treated such as a single parent and feel my son is a scapegoat for a now failing school.

          5. Awesome response Christofer Nigro! I agree that it takes a village to raise a child ( a village that teachers are a significant part of) but I also agree that it can take just one person to ruin them. My son, 6, is being bullied by his teacher. I also feel as though she is bullying me! I’m at a loss right now… I think sometimes when people assume things about your home life, they automatically assume that the issue stems from at home. Our home life is normal and we very rarely have issues at home with my son. However, his teacher says that he cries when frustrated at school to the point that she has been having a behavior specialist observe him and report data back to her. It’s sad because I am only slightly clued in to these interactions. I don’t have any data reported to be other than he is having tantrums… tantrums that he doesn’t have anywhere else. Teachers have a tough job, I agree. But not any more or less than parents in these situations. If teachers were as willing to work as part of a cohesive team in conjunction with parents, as opposed to simply observing, reporting & pointing the finger, I bet schools would be shocked at the change in student behavior. Parents (Mom & Dad) should create the united front … and teachers should JOIN!

        2. Fuck you and your public school rules. Your an Epic failure if you think our current public school system is the best we can do. I embarrass and challenge the school when ever i can. I stay within the guidelines of the law but if you fuck with my kid i will demoralize you in front of him. I will show him how much of an epic failure you are andvthat we must fight against you. Not only for the kids but for the handful of good teachers that go home burnt out everynight. Public school ahould not be controlled at the federal level and we are stupid for allowing this.

          1. Hi Eric. I understand your frustration and anger, but an eye for an eye just makes more people blind. You are no different than the parents/teachers/authorities who hurt you if you respond in kind like this. When you do, they win because you are clearly a product of their System.

          2. I wish I could be able to say and do what you wrote. I had a meeting today for my daughter. She has suffered from terrible anxiety since the death of her dad at age 6. Terrible separation anxiety and school phobia. In her early grades she was carried forceably into school. I was told by the experts this was the right thing to do. She would procede to huttle in the coat closet. Her lovely teacher would tell her “you better come out the police are going to come and take you away.” She is 14 now and suffers from terrible social anxiety, depression. I did take her out of school for a while. She wanted to try and return to school. We found an alternative/tharaputic school for her. We had a meeting today, her teacher had asked her to read out loud and she told the teacher she was feeling really anxious and thought she might start crying if she read. The teacher persisted. Emma was unable to read so her “points” were taken away. I stated I felt this was punishing her for expressing anxiety. I was jumped on immediately and told that was not a punishment. If you don’t have a certain number of points you cannot participate in the field trip. I felt like I was being gas lighted. I was told over and over that loosing points was not punitive. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I’m starting to believe school has been the down fall of our society.

        3. Rachel Roberts did you even read the article??? Your attitude is the precise reason articles such as this even need to be written. To say, “His behaviour is a result of your parenting and your parenting alone!” is the epitome of ignorance. I strongly suggest educating yourself regarding the effects of environment on behavior; manifestations of learning, psychological, medical, and emotional disorders; and the importance of empathy.

          Furthermore, to suggest parents adjust their beliefs and home environments to satisfy your need for control is asinine! You do realize that teachers within the public school system are employed by tax-payers, right? As such, you have no business dictating the implementation of your counterproductive methods to your employers.

          I am appalled that a teaching certificate was ever issued to you in light of your sub-standard spelling and grammar skills. Please, for the sake of the children and the future of society, find yourself a different career.

          Lastly, after receiving such negative feedback from other commenters, you should take some time to self-evaluate your feelings and consider the implication that similar feelings have for impressionable children.

        4. Did you ever consider children with disabilities such as emotional, ADHD, depression etc? This is no one’s fault it is a medical condition which some kids take medication, go to counseling and are still treated so poorly because the teacher ignores the legal IEP needs… you as a teacher are part of the problem, every situation is different but rarely handled appropriately

          1. Ok, again I’m no Dr and i don’t know if this new law is in your country but almost every teacher in my child’s school tells parents their child had Add, no joke that’s how bad my child’s school is and other parents agree. I’ve had a teacher last year torture me saying my child needs medication and has add. Oh and he’ll never grow out of “it”. I said what is “it” she was extremely vague and said well he sometimes looks out the window and doesn’t pay attention and his grades are the worst in the class. Ok, what child doesn’t get board at some point or look out the window. I found out at the end of the year she was moving up a grade to 5th and wanted to show how all her students she so called taught received excellent grades. Well if your child is put on medication such as Ritalin where I live they can not become a Police Officer, Fireman or anything to do with military etc. Some push medication so hard because they want the kids to be zombies as well so they are not disturbed while playing candy crush on their phones instead of teaching, yes I have proof that’s been happening. I’m getting on every news channel and letting parents know teachers are Not Drs. Of course if you feel your child should be evaluated and think they may have add or a delay please do so. I don’t want to see any child’s dreams end because they were on medication if it truly was not necessary. My child is getting 100’s on everything and is in 5th grade, so even if they say your child can’t snap out of it they can do better as years go by, just takes the right teacher. TO ALL PLEASE GET 5 OPINIONS IF YOU HAVE TO BEFORE PUTTING YOUR CHILD ON RITALIN, look up the side effects as well it does permanent damage down the road!

        5. I can’t believe you blamed the parent. If the parent isn’t seeing the behaviors at home, then clearly the problem isn’t “bad parenting” The problem most likely is at school with the teachers, other students, admin and other staff.

        6. gosh big assumption that you know it the parents fault and that they are not working together at home and this is the reason for son’s behaviour. glad my child is not in your class

        7. LOL, CLASSIC! Blame the Parent! Maybe that works for ya sometimes. Except how about when the child’s misbehavior is not a problem at home, because his family is consistent with discipline at home?! In our situation the behaviors occur primarily at school, where there is inconsistency, and bullying (teacher-student), and a general lack of training in positive behavior-management strategies; Where IEPs are not followed and requested FBAs don’t happen timely. So try again Rachel Roberts. The schools are broken; We are litigating. Teacher bullying is real, be careful not to break those IDEA laws now, it costs $$$

    2. Hi Dr. Sosteric,

      If my son has been an individual of all the things listed above (Isolation, Rejection, Public Humiliation) would/could this be grounds for suing the school (private school)? Also, we are also dealing with the ill effects that you have written above. It is very close, if not the same, to what you have stated.

      Thank you so much,

      1. Hi Denise

        In order to sue the school you would have to prove that your child was harmed. There is a rapidly growing body of solid research that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that forms of abuse cause serious long term damage to the human body. I am working on summary of this research here (it is still a work in progress). You can use that sort of resource as a basic starting point but you’d have to prove that the actions of the school caused the sorts of harm identified in the summary article. If your family doctor is onside they may be able to write an affidavit for you associating physical or emotional distress with events at school, but you also need to document. You need to document dates, times, events, teachers involved, and also you son’s emotional reactions. You need to document if he doesn’t want to go to school, if his marks are falling, if he’s sick, etc. etc. You should also record any meetings you have with the school (don’t tell them you are doing it, because they won’t allow you to do it if you do).

        It is going to be tought. AFAIK there are few legal precedents for taking teachers and schools to task, but I think it is only a matter of time. If you look at the my article on Toxic Socialization (see link above) you’ll see the scientific evidence is overwhelming.

        1. That’s not justice. Damage proved, our not, the teachers and staff are committing abuse. That is enough for an arrest, if our society cares about its actual laws and children.

    3. Wow, this was so de-jour at my elementary school that there would be many “names on the board” each day. If you didn’t run around the block fast enough each morning (in flat shoes mind), expect to be shouted at. Expect to be humiliated in other ways just because it was some fun/stress relief for the teacher, and whatever you do, don’t so much as touch the computers (less you get a reputation as in any way competent with them and face blame for problems you have nothing to do with). Expect that because any unevenness in academic ability is not understood, struggling with certain subjects demonstrates laziness rather than a need for assistance.
      The thing is, it worked. In an entire school smaller than Dunbar’s number, nothing was unknown and the teachers had complete social control (It would have been a great place to make a study of sociology). Then we turn to PE and sport. Even if you kept to the rules and were just suitably above mediocre academically to be left alone, athletic ability is something you have far less control over.

      It’s not about the winner getting a medal, it’s about those few dead-last being publicly humiliated (why, forced to participate in front of the whole school). Team sports are worse – you’re letting the whole tem down (aka. the peers you spend the rest of the year with), and being benched is not an option. Withdraw from the main play and expect to be the target of the teacher (for singling out and forced participation), bringing even more attention on one’s skills (or lack thereof).

      The fact that I 20 years on, suddenly recall all of this after reading your article has really surprised me, I guess it had more impact that I thought. It was all just normal everyday life to us at the time.

      Parents back then, felt they had no authority to challenge a schoolteacher, so even if they didn’t agree with it, little was done.

      1. Not that it was exceptional. There were no straps or canes, there was no (to my current knowledge, and word would have traveled fast) sexual abuse, and incidents of physical abuse were mostly delt with. (Although a few cases of students being directly shouted at into their ears mid-class probably count and were never addressed).

    4. depression in school from teachers i’m 17 years of age an a depressed person an when a teacher call u the biggest bullshitter in the whole school an keeps going on about it what happens to this teacher they always start with me i always talk to a councilor i have an I.E.P an seems like they don’t care.

  4. If schools reflect society in a micro level it may be “normal“ to see the kinds of realtionships that we see in society right there in the classrooms. Be that as it may, schools use a well known system of prize and “some kind of punishment“ for the ones who discard rules or are not able to follow them or are bad at some way. Inequality is the problem we come across at schools and it is something that is not adjusted with democratic values, ideals of free society, society of free individuals where children have the right to be free and sponetaneous as much as the grown-ups allow. Fortunatelly, children always try to push the limits but , on the other hand the grown-ups must give their best to provide them opportunities to express themselves and their, somewhat juvenile ideas and needs. This hostile enviroment that is latent in schools manifets itself in some ways that are described in this post. But what I think is more important is to see whether the school and the education system achieves socialization even with these kinds of negative phenomena, that are indeed real manace and trouble for the young. Namely, children can behave very cruelly and some teacher can perform inadequatelly or even negligent, or worse, but let us not forget that every school is a “society’s nursery “and the group life and coexistency we have there mostly mimic “real“ life relations. School is not the perfect place to send our kids but the best we have in a sense that it provides the variety of actions, relationships, happennings and experiences that would otherwise stay unavalibale to the young. It is a harsh world we live in and concerning this fact, schools are doing very well, in my opinion. Of course, emotional abuse and any kind of suffering that can be felt by the young should be dispelled out of schools. The word `school` come from the Greek language and it means leisure or free time, it is the time when we choose what to do not being tied up with obligations and systematic pressure. Maybe the problems lies in bureaucratization of scholls and industrial-like principle that seeks products and production process, in this case knowledge and people. People are just factionally and i some respect susceptive to these kinds of influences, and up to a point. This crisis is surelly the crisis of identity amonst teachers and pupils , as well, but nobody must not ruin anybody’s life for mere trivial reasons or caprice. Let us ask, what is the power the grow-ups have regarding the youngs, and what kind of division is that. School as an institution has its dark sides, just as any other factor of socialization, it is all left on behavlf of individuals who behave in a proper manner and reasonably and the vice versa.

  5. hi dr. sosteric!! how about this. emotional abuse against a studdent who is forced to stand up in a high school math class, and told that he is stupid. or a college professor telling me to shut up because I talk to much. High school in michigan, is like being in prison. how about sitting in the principles office all day, for no reason at all. you pile up alot of these and you have an emotionally abused child. sometimes you can be isolated, even though you are part of the group.
    great article. Robert

    1. Yes, that is absolutely correct. Robert, we all very sensitive beings, living in a very sensitive body, and that body (while quite resilient), is nevertheless very easy to damage. Even ugly words undermine its integrity. Hurt the body a little and it activates defense mechanisms to protect itself. Hurt it enough and the defense mechanisms are undermined, and real damage occurs. you can ALWAYS heal the damage, especially if you know what you are doing, but it takes some time. The biggest obstacle to healing is often simply trust. Take your typical abused child, who are they ever going to trust? Their parents failed them, their teachers failed them, the psychologists and other professionals failed them, and now they don’t trust anybody. I can understand why. They don’t want to open themselves up to more hurt, they don’t trust that “professionals” have anything useful to say to them, and they are most often right. But at the same time, if they cross paths with an authentic healer (and not juts one of the millions of charlatans out there) who has a clue, then there is a danger they’ll skip right on by. Any authentic healer knows, the first thing you have to do is establish trust.

      p.s., what do you think of this song by Taylor Swift. It is called mean and it is about abuse. it is such an amazing song.

      1. Also, Dr. Sosteric,
        I am located in the New York metro area. I really like your way of thinking. I would be interested in and open to my child talking to a “professional” about what might be bothering him. He has in fact started having some behavioral issues at school. I suspect this is because his teacher is always on his case, makes note of his behavior in front of his classmates and so on and so forth. I have yet to see one example of positive reinforcement (no smiley faces on his homework, no encouraging notes home, nothing). I do get the sense that he feels singled out. He is a bit chatty and over-excited some of his peers have even called him weird. He is a highly intelligent child, but as is often the case with this population, also highly sensitive. Please, if you yourself are in the NY area and are in practice please let me know. Otherwise I would be grateful if you could make a trusted recommendation for a colleague or two in the area that you think might be able to help. FYI – I don’t believe in medicating so I want to avoid that route. So much can be accomplished through digging into and working through one’s feelings.

        Thank you!

  6. Are any of you teachers? Have any of you gone through teacher training in this country? Just curious as to what an educator’s perspective would be…

    1. I teach in the UK and find most pupils want to do something intellectual, creative, academic in class – it might not be the defined syllable with Learning Objectives they don’t understand ranted at them, but as long as it’s using their brains – FINE. But then you get the few pupils who have become loud, aggressive, arrogant, disruptive, unpleasant and they can selfishly dominate the room by loud noise, swearing, physical violence so that no-one else (pupil or teacher) can do anything. I read through the comments – we should do something………….build bridges……….encourage them to talk about their feelings………..take a more dominant stance…….use humour………..etc. etc. but what does that actually mean? I resent spending time on one of these pupils at the expense of all the rest – I don’t want to humiliate them

      1. Correct
        Its easy to ridicule teachers who are trying to educate students. All my time as a cover teacher is spent with five or six students who are probably wonderful people but who wont allow others the decency of a point of view in the classroom. Every student has the same rights in the classroom and a teacher has a right to facilitate learning. Some students just need a ten mile run in the morning because they are made up that way I feel. They have loads of energy. Some students get no attention at home because their parents have no time so they use class to socialise and catch up with the gaps in their life. Some students are lazy and have never engaged from their early years because of their early home life.

    2. I am a teacher and find Dr. S. is spouting cult-like rhetoric and making sweeping statements about educators. You, Dr. S. are exactly what is wrong with students today. Overly worried about your children’s happiness that must be attained and held 24 hours a day and that you are the only one who can provide it shows how narcissistic you are. There are things in school called rules that are designed to keep students safe. Students are made aware of these rules and if they choose not to follow the rules, there are consequences. Many students come to school fully aware of their ability to crap all over the teacher, knowing full well the teacher can do nothing in retaliation. Spare me. Your child’s name on the board “makes her sad”? Well, now she will work to make sure it does not appear on the board again. Get off your moral high horse and wake up. Not every child who has negative experiences in school ends up in jail.

      1. Tanya, I think you need to reevaluate your approach to discussion. Your response here is an angry ad hominem and honestly if one of my colleagues responded in this fashion, I’d be embarrassed for my whole profession. If this is your approach to disagreements in your classroom I can only say I pity the children in your charge.

        I also think you need to reevaluate your position on public shaming. When I was doing my undergraduate work, university professors were not allowed to post marks and names. That is, university teachers would be sanctioned for putting up a public list of the names of their students, and associating those names with marks. It is the same now. When it comes to adults, teachers are not allowed to publically shame. I mean, if I posted the marks from my class on my door so that anybody could just walk by and see what student got what mark, I would be ordered to take it down and if I didn’t take it down I would be disciplined. I wonder what makes you think that if our society won’t allow university professors to publically display the marks of adult university students, why it is OK to do so with children. We don’t do that to our adult students because they don’t like it, because it shames them, because it undermines their self-esteem, and because they have a voice and can fight back against waht is an obvious and blatant violation of privacy. Children cannot. Children are entirely dependent on the good will and beneficence of the adults in their life. Children are far less capable of defending themselves against such an obvious emotional assault than are adults. But just because children can’t protect themselves doesn’t mean they should be victimized by those in power over them. In fact, quite the contrary. Because they are such easy targets, agents of socialization (teachers, parents, etc.) should protect. Anything else is just a case of strong adults harming defenseless children.

        As for “ending up in jail,”, that is hardly the only consequence of childhood abuse. Recent research is demonstrating quite conclusively that even mild forms of emotional abuse can have serious long term negative impact. You can see my entry on Toxic Socialization for a summary of this research ( I would only note that the research is fast piling up. Of course, we don’t have to rely exclusively on research since I’m sure we’ve all had experiences with teachers who lack awareness, empathy, and even basic psychological skill. My own daughter had an experience with an incompetent speech pathologist when she was four and it totally undermined her self-esteem. We’ve been struggling with her for over a decade trying to get her to see that she is in fact smart, and not dumb as the speech path conveyed to her in a single session. The entire course of her K12 career was damaged by a single instance of (not even public) shaming. I’m sure many people can provide examples of how single instances of emotional assault caused them long term, sometimes irreparable, damage.

        Anyway, contrary to your statement that I am the problem with kids today, I actually think teachers like you are the problem. You arrogantly dismiss parental concern. Not only that, but you lack even a basic psychological awareness and you are empthy of empathy for the children in your charge. You are just the kind of emotional bully that so many parents write here about. You ridicule me, ridicule my daugther, and display a total lack of concern for the children you hurt. Given your position of authority over young children (I assume you teach elementary), this lack of awareness is unacceptable and frankly offensive. You have no right to assault children with your antiquated and violent ways. You have a responsibility to the children under your care, the parents, your fellow teachers, and society as a whole. It is not for you to spew unsubstantiated vituperous ad hominem attacks or unsubstantiated folk wisdom about what kids really need, it is for you to listen and learn. It is in your best interests. Word to the wise. Nowadays teacher go to jail for sexually assaulting children. With the way research is advancing these days, it won’t be long before teachers become liable for the emotional and psychological damage they cause to the children under their care. It is unfortunate, but whenever a teacher like you posts a diatribe like you did, I pray that the day comes soon.

        1. I agree that it is possible that there are some teachers who may psychologically and/or emotionally damage children in the classroom; however, I think this is not done as often as you are leading people to believe. Every teacher I know went into the field of education with one goal: help children grow. Teachers are certainly not in it for the money and appreciation (because both are in short supply).

          I think it also needs to be noted that teaching children is one of the most demanding and under appreciated jobs in our country. Teachers are expected to be the parent, nurse, counselor, time keeper, and a multitude of other roles, each day. Each year we get a fresh batch of new children and spend our time understanding their tics, analyzing their progress (socially and academically), and trying to cultivate strong relationships with them and their families. When we’ve finally perfected it, the year is over and we have to start all over again.

          This is a different day and age than when most of us were in school. I can remember being in elementary school and there being one or two students who habitually got into trouble for speaking out of turn or being mean to other students. The classroom today is a whole new world. Students have been exposed to media and conversation that we never heard as children. They are learning things at a younger age and getting comfortable speaking inappropriate things to adults and kids alike and also being disrespectful to anybody they choose. They think that this is their right.

          Parents tend to think that teachers should be able to handle their child’s behavior (even when they will admit that they are loud, rude, inappropriate, etc) because they can do it at home. Parents struggle to realize sometimes that we could absolutely handle it… if it was just that one child. We have classes of up to 30 children sometimes and often a quarter of those children have attention deficit disorder, another quarter are receiving special services from special education (requiring the teacher to memorize steps to handle everything the child says or does), and a third quarter of those students have emotional issues that did not root from their treatment in the school. With all of these behaviors to handle, you have one quarter of students who aren’t getting the attention they deserve. I can see the panic in the parents’ eyes when they come for school parties and truly get to see the kids in a setting altogether. They know they couldn’t do it, yet they have little patience for teachers who are trying their hardest to respect their students while still teaching them boundaries and life skills.

          I have had one child this year who had to be removed from mine and my partner teacher’s class. I spent the year trying to draw this child out of her shell. She was extremely shy and often wouldn’t speak up. I went out of my way to speak to this child, to make sure she was comfortable in her setting, and to make sure she didn’t have any questions while not embarrassing her or bringing too much attention to her. It was exhausting, but I was glad to do it because at my core as an educator I want to help children. My partner teacher, while not quite as sympathetic, was certainly never abusive towards this child. She never raised her voice at her, never called attention to her in a negative way, and was often seen speaking positively to her. This child’s parent consistently went to the principal with complaints about us. She claimed that my partner teacher was being disrespectful to her daughter and always bragged about how she had put a recorder on her daughter and had evidence. Of course, she could never furnish this evidence. She ultimately pulled her out of school (the child was crying when she did this) and threatened to home school. The principal finally moved her to a new class. I’ve spoken to her new teachers, and they are already having problems from the mom. I feel as though the world is now full of parents who believe that educators are incompetent. They have no respect for teachers, therefore leading their children to believe the same. It’s hard being disrespected day after day by kids and their parents while trying to remain cool and collected. Most adults would not take the kind of emotional destruction that teachers are subjected to without fighting back.

          You say that you are not painting all teachers with the same brush, yet you fail to mention the impact a great teacher has on a child. Where would any of us be without educators? You certainly wouldn’t be a doctor. Also, you criticized the above educator for stating her opinion, calling her an “emotional bully” yet you lashed back in anger at her opinion exactly as you accused her of doing to yours. I would say that this also makes you an emotional bully. Shame on you for praying that the day comes soon where teachers like her will be imprisoned!

          Human beings are flawed by nature. Teachers are human and therefore will make mistakes. I wish I would never hurt a child’s feelings or make them doubt themselves, but I cannot promise that it will never happen. All I can do is try my hardest to be a positive, empowering influence to kids and apologize when I know I am in the wrong.

          I think we should spend our time teaching children that the world has negativity in it and showing them how to overcome this negativity and adversity. If we shield them and coddle them through every obstacle they will never grow into successful adults. These instances of “abuse” that you keep throwing around are what made me the person I am today. I am strong because I persevered through adversity as a child, a teenager, and now as an adult. Should teachers publicly shame students? No, of course not. I doubt any teacher will say that is their goal. Should teachers not offer children any criticism or negative impact in their school careers to save their feelings? Absolutely not. These are necessary steps for advancement. Failure is a part of success. Negativity is a part of positivity. Don’t throw the word “abuse” around so lightly and accuse teachers of not trying their hardest to care for the emotional and psychological well-being of their students.

        2. I think I need to clarify that I do not believe it is OK for any teacher to ever D grade, reject, publicly shame, or abuse a child in any way, shape, or form. However we cannot dismiss the fact that there are indeed children who do come to school and abuse the teachers. I think that teaching is a very challenging job and I also think that there is more put on the teachers because of lack of parenting. It sounds as if you do a lot of parenting to your own children because you sound very involved. I am sorry if you think that I was demeaning to you or to your daughter. But it is this kind of thinking that parents to do that put teachers in a very difficult position. I am sorry and always shocked when I see a teacher miss treating a child on the news. It is never a behavior that I can’t even begin to understand or condone.

        3. I think I also need to clarify that I had a very bad experience when I was a teacher. While teachers are always in the spotlight for abusing children, I had children in my class who are extremely abusive towards me. So I think that my comment was definitely directed toward my negative comment. Prior to this bad experience I was always a very favorite teacher, I was very warm and caring, but the population that I happens to be working with that year did not preach appreciate my approach and it turned out to be a very abusive situation towards me. That said I will not be checking into comments anymore on this article because I find you are very one sided and choose not to see anything but what your own experiences have taught you. I appreciate that you are so passionate and your line of work but I like to look at all sides of the coin and of the issue. and if you were a true professional you would not condemn people and pray that the day comes soon. [name calling deleted]

        4. So, how about this? When a child is disrupting the learning of others and is demonstrating that they are not in the classroom to learn, they leave? No humiliation. No embarrassment. No education. Only the children that are there to learn get to stay and learn. Problem solved!

        5. This is the largest piece of hug a tree, head in the sand, bullshit, I have ever read. You have never taught. How can you possibly take a perspective that directly holds educators responsible for your child’s shortcomings socially. Give her another trophy for last, tell her shes a winner too and watch as her friends go to four year universities as she stays behind to make my coffee as i retire at the local granola coffee shop that has organic beans. If you felt so strongly, go be a para pro for half a year or be a teacher for one, you’ll delete this article. I guarantee it. Just another parent who thinks they can solve it all with a phone call and being upset at the teacher. Fuck you and everything you stand for. You are a disgrace and quite frankly you are a fraud. Wheres the research? Wheres the fact? Just another media monger. Go away already let the real adults teach and take a back seat to your child’s education in the walls of school and a front seat at home. Otherwise home school them, or quit your bitching.

          1. You ask for research. Well, here it is.

            Here is a large research study that demonstrates a link between “exclusion” at school and long-term psychiatric illness


            I also keep a relatively up to date list of numerous studies that demonstrate a link between all forms of violence (emotional, psychological, physical) and various forms of physical and mental illness here. Its interesting because its not just psychological illness. Various forms of physical illness have been linked to toxic childhood experiences. I would think even cancer will eventually be linked to toxic childhood experiences.

            For example, violence has been linked to depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, suicide, lower IQ, lower grade performance in school, dysfunctional personal relationships, brain damage, conduct disorder, antisocial behaviors, psychopathy, increased incidence of physical disease, and heart trouble. A lot of this research has only become possible in the last few years, with advance brain imaging and advanced diagnostic techniques.

            Have a look at the evidence. If you want, I’m happy to dig out specific studies for you. Important thing to keep in mind, toxic socialization leads to physical, emotional, and mental disability. I don’t know if you have children or not, but I do and I don’t want them to grow up damaged in any way. The evidence is there and growing more convincing every day.

          2. Why don’t YOU stop b*******. You are just an angry person with no evidence, who is afraid of the truth. And if you try to fire back at me, that will simply prove my point. If I were you, I’d take what little credibility I had left and homeschool my children myself. This is a wonderful article, thank you Michael S.

      2. Tanya,
        Not all children are the same. Where some may not care of their name is on the board, others may be horrified. BUT, I am not talking about putting a kids name on the board, or even calling them down in the classroom. A child should not be singled out and totally humiliated or embarrassed in front of all of his classmates, especially if he is already socially awkward. I have a 28-year-old son who was isolated and was not taught anything in the classroom. He was isolated at lunch for not doing his classwork during the day. He had a learning disability that was caught after the damage was done. At age 19 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s. Thank God he has overcome that abuse to the most part and is a wonderful husband, father and hard worker. He still talks about the teachers and how they acted toward him. By the way, his name was never put on the board because he caused now trouble in class. But they let him sit and do nothing without trying to help him and then penalized him for not getting his work done.

        1. I think I need to clarify that I do not believe in degrading, shaming, or miss treating children in anyway shape or form.

      3. Tanya, if you don’t engage in that kind of behavior then you have nothing to be defensive about. If you do, however, then you are exactly what’s wrong with the school system and society, in turn. I had some wonderful teachers that displayed none of the behaviors that this article highlights and had no problem controlling the class. But I got treated like a dog in school by teachers with your attitude and students as well. I got singled out for ridiculous things. I had a teacher in the first grade break my pencils for not finishing timed math tests, and one that sent me to the front of the class at a separate desk humiliate me because I didn’t finish eating my lunch one day. I was 6 years old. I got yelled at constantly for being disruptive… unfortunately I have tourette’s syndrome, so as an adult I think it’s safe to say that being yelled at didn’t fix the problem since I still have tics.

        I honestly never bothered anyone. I was absolutely morally opposed to and disgusted by abuse and bullying from a very early age because I spent a great deal of time at home getting beaten and screamed at by one of my step-parents and their offspring. Being abused at school was just icing on the cake. It wasn’t uncommon for a teacher to blow up on a kid of their choice because they were annoyed, frustrated or having issues at home, etc. I know that no one is perfect, but that is unacceptable. Don’t expect kids to control their behavior when you can’t control your own. Besides, any other place of business would fire someone in a second for treating coworkers and customers the way some teachers treat their students.

        I’m 30 years old. If I were to run into any of those teachers tomorrow, I would not hesitate to tell them exactly how terrible they were at what they did for a living. It took years of therapy and retraining to repair the damage that was done to me and I still deal with social problems on a daily basis that stem from that. So if you think it’s not a big deal or it’s part of growing up then you have a pretty sadistic view of teaching and childhood development. That’s exactly why I refuse to send my children to public school. I won’t force my kids to go through what I went through. For all the great teachers out there, there are some spectacular morons in the field and they’re dangerous when they’re given power over kids.

        1. I think I need to clarify that I am not in favor of any teacher mistreating, degrading, or publicly shaming any child. I am really sorry that you had a negative experience in school. I can assure you that I am not a teacher who ever mistreated children. But I did have children mistreat me. And like you would never say hello to any of your teachers you ever saw because you’re through to 30 years old now. I would not say hello to some of the students I had in the past if I saw them now. Teacher abuse is a very real thing just as child abuse is a very real thing. So I am really sorry that you were mistreated but I was also mistreated as a teacher. I never said anything about it. And I never went to the administration. I left that job and this is what I bring with me just like you have baggage that you have brought with you from your experience in school .

          1. Dear Tanya,

            I’m sorry you encountered rude or allegedly ‘abusive” children at work. I”m sure you may be overreacting to behavior you did not understand from kids who came in with problematic behavior related to pain they themselves suffered elsewhere…

            (see how painful it is to have someone downplay your experience? that’s what kids encounter all the time, sometimes for years on end after one teacher spreads “poisonous” reports about them)

            Teachers – like all humans – do encounter people – adults, youths, children – who are difficult or nasty. BUT…teachers have this silly “presumption of perfection” protecting them, along with unions, administrators, fellow teachers and some preferred parents who rant endlessly about the poor, poor suffering teachers. Too many teachers don’t even blink when a colleague goes off about the general stupidity or awfulness of the average student, nor about the presumed idiocy, unfairness, and utter blind devotion of “most” parents. This is biased and ridiculous, and causing immense agony that never fades, and can hardly be healed no matter how hard caring therapists and struggling “students” try. Please try to realize that there is little trauma that can impact an adult with choices as much as a child constrained by age, law, and custom to endure first torment, then denial that such torment matters.

            Thank you for re-reading and re-thinking your first missive.

      4. Tanya,

        You need to stop teaching & take time to deal with your severe anger issues… Think I just don’t anything about your job? I do a lot of teaching…but am an RN. In the state I work in we don’t have unions that will save us if we get out of control…we do it right or get fired. I’ve had patients spit on me, swing at me, cuss me out, and accuse me of things I did not do etc… I can not talk back to them, argue with them or humiliate them. We do not have a principal! They pay my salary as WE PAY YOURS! Nursing is just like teaching…working very publicly, & up close with people from all walks of life. I’m happy to say that in 95% of the bad experiences listed above, I have been able to talk and work with that patient, resolve the issues, and am thanked by the pt. by the time of discharge. It’s like teaching-it’s either a skill you have or will never have.

        Think, if you will, why some teachers are much more popular with all the students, whereas others are disrespected and feared even by the best of students.

        My daughter is a very good writer, and as a HS Freshman was accused in front of the entire class of plagiarism on an assignment. She simply stood up and told the teacher “All my sources are stated as instructed. If you would like to explain your charge- You may do so now or I am happy to give you until class tomorrow to review your reasons. I obviously don’t agree with you and believe as I’m sure my classmates do, that such a charge must be accompanied by some kind of proof”. The teacher, who was young and inexperienced, entered the room the next day, admitted that she had not initially checked my daughter’s sources and formally apologized to her. They then had a class discussion about the issue. Although inexperienced, she was a smart and very effective teacher. Believe it or not, she became one of my daughter’s favorite teachers! She has the “skill” and more importantly likes to teach.

        Last but not least, teaching is a JOB, which includes WORK and sometimes unpleasant scenarios. I’m sorry you expected it to be a walk in the park.

        1. In support of teachers and those who work with them is the increase of physical violence toward them. Almost 1/2 of teachers aides have reported being physically struck, and a large percentage of office staff and teachers have had the same experience. When there is no respect accorded to teaching children pick up on it (and there are a large number of studies about how children pick up attitudes) and then they behave accordingly. Parents and teachers need to work together but also this needs to take into consideration that teachers study how learning takes place at different levels. When teachers call about school work not being done, it is both a required duty, but also done out of concern for the child. When they suggest that you as the parent need to take some steps, it is not done to shame you but to get your child the help that they need to succeed. Hopefully this is coming from a good place on both sides, working together to have the child learn techniques such as personal responsibility, time management, and accountability that will help them for the rest of their lives.

    3. I am a kindergarten teacher. It is rewarding and challenging. Sometimes I make mistakes. I am human. I step back, reflect on the day, and think about what I can do differently next time. every situation is different. every student is different. some show many signs of emotional abuse – for example, from two working parents who neglect the child in the early years – few hugs, touch, laughter, etc. because they work long hours. I remind myself to always come from a place of love. emotionally neglected children push my buttons. i try not to react. they need/crave a reaction even if negative. i resist. once in a while – mostly when i am sick and run down, i make mistakes and my response to the neglected child is not always positive. I am thrown off balance. i feel ashamed. I feel bad for the child. i ask for forgiveness. I work on my self control in stressful situations. i think about it. i try again. i never give up. no child is to blame when parents neglect them emotionally.

  7. I have taught young undergraduate students, and you can see the emotional peril on their faces when they start universities. At Wayne State University, a lot of time is taken up trying to make the student comfortable, with an initial university experience. I might be wrong but maybe #3 should read Erving Goffman’s books “Presentation and self in every day Life”, and maybe “Stigma” Maybe Dr. Sosteric (a Great professor) could help me with number #3. As far as teacher training, everyone goes through it, when you step into that classroom for the first, second, third time. Robert

    1. Yes, like going to college and having to tow the liberal political line or risk not matriculating: like not wanting to step a the name of Jesus written on a price of paper. You’re part of this same crap: only when it suits you is it postcolonial imperialism, but if it’s to trod on the values of conservatives, it polictically correct. Shame on you. And yes, there is a difference between winners and losers.

      1. Hi Winston

        I would never ask anybody step step on a piece of paper with the name of Christ written on it. That’s disrespectful and sacrilegious and whatever prof. or student asked you to do that should be ashamed of themselves.

  8. I’m reading this article for my sociology class, and I just want to say that I don’t agree with it at all. Sure, isolation can be emotionally abusive, but only to a certain point. The idea that it’s humiliating to have your name written on the board for failing to complete your homework is a bit ridiculous. I mean, c’mon. When I was in second grade, my teacher did the same thing, but nobody in my class felt humiliated about it. For one, no one really laughed at or pointed fingers at someone whose name was on the board, and even if they did, it was nothing to be ashamed about. I had my name on the board at one point, but in no way did I feel embarrassed.

    Also, did you ever stop to think that teachers only tell students they’ll lose their desk privileges in attempt to motivate them to do well? It’s better to threaten someone so they perform well rather than to baby someone and have them continue to do poorly.

    I’m sorry, but people who feel humiliated and emotionally abused from such minor incidents such as the ones stated above need to toughen up.

    1. Gregory, how the hell do you know that “nobody felt humiliated by it.” How the heck can you speak for everyone in your second grade class? Better yet, how dare you speak for all the children in your school in this fashion. How do you know what your classmates might have felt? I certainly know you’re not speaking for my kids because they have felt humiliated and hurt by these sorts of practices. It hurt their feelings and unless I want to be insensitive and uncaring towards their feelings, ignoring them or telling them to “toughen up and not have feelings,” then that’s enough to stop it. Its just like hitting somebody else. It hurts, it should stop. Just because its “emotional” doesn’t mean its any less hurtful. In fact, quite the opposite. Emotional neglect and emotional abuse is far more damaging that physical abuse. The consequences linger on for decades.

      As for losing their desk privileges, that’s just barbaric. You would never do that to an employee, or a colleague, or anybody else, and if you did you’d be charged. Fear of abuse is not an acceptable motivator and if you think it is, then as a therapist my questions go immediately to your family of origin and I wonder what sorts of emotional and physical abuse you have experience, and how it has been normalized in your life. Its is simply not better to threaten people to perform. That’s abuse, abuse, abuse. Hitting someone, hurting them, hitting them, calling them names, or publicly shamming them to get them to perform is abuse, abuse, abuse.

      You know, when I did my undergraduate degree two decades ago university professors could not put names on boards in this fashion. Marks used to be available on doors (back before computers) but names could never be put up. Why? because people found it offensive, unnecessary, embarrassing, and invasion of privacy, and unnecessary. Nowadays when it comes to adults, its even enshrined in law. In Alberta where I teach FOIP laws make it illegal to share private information about people in public spaces? Why? Because it is offensive, unnecessary, embarrassing, and an invasion of privacy. Professors can get into real trouble for doing the sorts of things that you are suggesting as a matter of course.

      So my question to you Gregory is, if we can’t do stuff like this to adults, who are presumably more emotionally mature than children, why do we think its OK to abuse our children in this fashion? What makes you think its cool to tell a six year old child being emotionally abused by their teachers or parents to “toughen up.” Why is OK to threaten innocent and defenseless children with horrible exclusionary practices like losing their desk? If you did that to an adult, you’d be sued. But if you do it to children, who are weaker, who have no legal recourse, who haven’t got the power to speak out, and who are in sensitive periods of development, it is worthy of a medal.

      Are you serious?

      I’m sorry, but people like you need to take a good hard look at yourselves and why you feel its OK to engage in emotional bullying of little children. The last thing our children need to hear is to “toughen up” and to stop feeling. I don’t care if you’re male or female, your feelings count and if somebody is hurting them, you have to make them stop. And if you ask them to stop and they tell you to “toughen up,” “man up” or in any way encourage you to put up with the abuse, then that person is probably a bully finding excuses to blame the victim (oh you’re so weak you can’t handle a little punch here and there) in an attempt to make themselves feel good about their bullying practices. But call a rose a rose, and a bully a bully.


    2. Gregory, I am not as well educated as many of the people in this thread; I am still in community college. I just want to say that I remember feeling like I was going to throw up every time a teacher put my name on the board for missing an assignment, or publicly scolded me, or made me miss recess because of my poor attendance, which was due to my dad’s work schedule being so difficult that he had to take my brother and myself to work with him. The education system treated us poorly, though we had no alternative to the situation. My teacher sent me home with a report card at the end of the years saying I would be held back for 2 Fs, even though all of my standardized testing was good. I remember standing in the school yard with my friend and her mom, crying while my friend’s mom looked at my report card (my dad couldn’t be there due to work). She pulled me behind her and marched into the classroom, yelling at my teacher. He then said he only put that there to “shock” me into applying myself, and that I was being moved to the next grade due to my test scores. I was in 3rd grade, and my poor grades were due to the previously mentioned lack of attendance. The next year I had no friends in my grade, due to being made to sit in for every recess I was at school for in the previous grade. I begun spending my recesses in the library reading books alone, as the other kids had begun to find taunting me fun. I had gum stuck in my hair, I was pushed, my things were stolen, and I was seen as a problem kid even though I never spoke out in class. When a boy physically attacked me on the play yard, I kicked him in the ballsack, and his mom (yard duty) ran up, and threw me to the ground. I don’t know where she was when he started the altercation by throwing a basketball at the back of my head, and pulling me back by my hair, but apparently she missed all of that, and wouldn’t believe otherwise. Another yard duty rescued me, and asked me if I meant to kick him. She said if I said I hadn’t meant to hit him, I wouldn’t get in trouble. I told her I meant to kick him, I just didn’t mean to hit him in the privates, since I kicked at an angle and couldn’t see him well. A week of suspension, and the boy got nothing. His mom got fired though. Jump ahead to middle school. I have no idea how to socialize with other people, and I am scared of them. In a crowd, I start feeling like I may throw up-I am still in school with all of the classmates who used to tease me, and it didn’t stop. At least my friends from my after school program were there (They were in different elementary schools before). I am no longer quiet when a teacher tried to shame me about my work, though now I am not doing it by choice. I argue the point, I even ruined an English assignment on purpose by informing my teacher that The Giver is part of a series, and that the boy and the baby live at the end, and have a village where Jonas is Mayor. I then ask how she could possibly not know that about her own assignement- did she assume we were all too illiterate to have possibly read the books? Anyway, now I am an active conflict. In high school I find friends, join a nerdy club, etc. Life is getting better, but the bullying from other classmates gets worse, and I drop out of school and switch to independent study. Ironically, it seemed that the only problem for me with school was that everyone else was there. I shoot up to a 4.0, graduate high school a year early with Honors. My entire problem was the fear and social stigma that started with how my teachers and superiors treated me in elementary school. I no longer automatically respected my teachers, and basically distrusted everyone new. I kept the exact same friends I met at 5 at my after school program, and stayed sheltered in that friend group for my entire public school education. It took me years to slowly work my way out of that garbage. I feel like I am no better for my experience, I don’t think I got stronger for the hardship. I feel like I lost something important. Now I have to try hard to remember what is socially acceptable with new people, and I have to deal with panic attacks in crowds. Side note: there were 3 suicide attempts during those high school years. Two were close, but I was found and had my stomach pumped, etc before I died. A lot of self harm, etc. I used a fake name and a burner email to write this, as I don’t actually want this information public about myself. I just want to say that bit of story to the guy who says I should have toughened up. Screw you, sir. I made it without ever really fixing the problem. I do my coursework in college, I have a good GPA, but I don’t know anyone else’s name in any of my classes. I take all the online classes I can, and I work from home. I have to take Ativan just to play at a local Magic the Gathering Tournament now. As a side note, again: My brother suffered from the same problems, even though he tested into the gifted program in elementary school. They kicked him out of the program for lack of attendance, and then he just gave up on everything when he finally got back to school in his 6th grade year. He said it was too easy. Why bother? He managed 5 Is and an F one year. He only got to move on to the next grade due to his end of year STAR tests scores. Kids attacked him and teased him as well. One time two boys intended to shove his head in the toilet, and he socked one in the solarplexis hard and made him kneel down, gasp, and throw up. My brother ran out of there and got a teacher, but he’s the one who got into trouble, even though it was two boys against him, and they started it. Luckily, my dad understood that, and let my brother play video games the whole 2 week suspension. Anyway, He gave up. He dropped out of high school, and didn’t get his GED for years after that. Now he works retail, to pay his rent, and basically lives on the internet. He just sits alone, every day. Great use of his gifted mind. Thanks school system! That’s the worst part of it. I know he has so much more potential than me, and they killed it in him.

      1. I have a son in a public school in a town of 3,200 people. I wish I had time to write down here everything that has happened to my child in the past 3 years. My child is a Jr in High school this year and 3 years ago when I noticed that he was the only player not to play one single play, game after game, and even after told he was going to start or going to play or they would make it up the next game becasue they forgot he was there. Then he decided to go out for track since they cant single you out, he started months before manditory practice and the principal /coach/ athletic director/ booster board member/ parent of a student athlete told my son he could do both sports baseball and track, and then the first day of baseball practice called me yealling where the hell is your son? “He’s at track practice” Then I was told he has to chose….after I spent hundreds of dollars on both track equip and baseball. They begged him to play baseball because he can play very well. It turns out he reluctently chose baseball and then sat on the bench all year. Never started one game after again being promised he would start and play that week, coaches asking me If I was going to the double header 150 miles away and I did go, he did not start, he didn’t even get in one single play in either game. This went on for the first half of the season. Then the one time they asked if I was going he did start and played the entire game. Next week he was told agin he is starting, i wask asked if I was going so on and so on. He didn;t playe either game again. So I talked witht he coaches again, asking if he was ever disrespectful, dud anything wrong, no no no he is just inconsistent . Oh so he is inconsistent and your son just makes mistakes ok. prior to the season the team was warned if they were ever caught drinking after a game or even on weekends that the consequences per district policy is automatic 5 game suspension, one week from school, second offense wuld be removal from the teamexpulsion from any other sports for that calender year…so not only were they caught onece and nothing happened, they wer caught again IN UNIFORM and noting happened becasue the coach/principal /athlectic directos son was one of the intoxicated players in uniform. His son was also caught with pot in his locker and that was covered up, 3 weeks after the second party my son made a mistake and had a tobacco pouch in his mouth at the school gym at a non manditory weight class one hour prior to the first bell. A questionable suspendable offense but he was sent home in 2 minutes. No consistent consequenses just nepotism. Parents are supposed to be notified if their children are caught drinking for good reason and intervention is supposed to be imposed. This crap goes on and on and this is just part of what is going on. I went to the coaches and talked politley with them, I went to the principal and spoke with him about fixing what is broken so I dont have to make his abuse and actions public. I just requested it stops. A week alter another incident. so I went to the superintendent and told him of the issues…..both of them tell me its a grey area. YES A GREY FUCKING AREA I GET IT! If you parents are in boosters your kid plays. We have the smallest 11 man football team in the satte of CA, a toatal of 17 players….yet my son who is the fastest athlete in the school does not have a starting position on offense or defense. %0 to zero in the foouth quarter and after again he was told he would start and play this game he did not even wehn loosing 50 to zero in the fourth quarter with 7 minutes left. Can anyone see the mental, moral, emotional and social abuse here ? Abuse of power at its finest.

        My son also donated 600.00 to the same organization these idiots run. He donated it wanting the funds to go to players who could not afford a lettermans jacket. Not only have the hid the funds and where they went, nothing was ever reported to the board about the 600 dollars, nor was my son ever given one single thank you from anyone in any form nor was I. Not that I want or need one but my son worked his entire xmas vacation cutting, splitting and sellng firewood to help out those in need. But nothing was ever said about his good deed. Not impressed yet? Not bad enouhg for you? There is so much more it would make you sick. my sons mother died 10 years ago. the local sheriff detective went to his school and pulled him out of class. Nobody notified me at any time, then the detective did not read him any rights, but asked his some very disturbing questions. Ready for this one? I’ll bet you that you are not.

        The detective got a report from a guy that went to school with him that I killed my sons mother and buried her body and they never found her. The detecive found out before he questioned my son that this was a ridiculous story. however the dective asked my son “Do you know where your mother is?” My son said yes sir the same place she has been for ten years,” Where the deteive asked…my son replied “HEaldsburg cemetary.” ARe you sure?” “yes my son said why the …are you asking me this?” The deteive said ” Have you ever been told by your father that he murdered your mother, burried her body and NOBODY will ever find her/” NO! GOd no! WHY are you asking me this? ”
        are you sure your father never told you he murdered your mother…………..?”

        So I ask you who to trust? My son is a very respectful young man. Even after he wuit football 2 weeks ago, he continued to be respectful and apologised to the coach for letting him down….the coach replied to my son “you know too bad you are a quitter, you would have started this week.” One week later he told my son “this would have been twoo weeks in a row you would have started….”

        Sure when pigs fly….these incompetent bastards are all cowards. It is a vile vulgar display of hiding behind the “GREY AREA” of district policy and having the power to do the shit they do with no consequences. other parents have moved thier children to other districts. I am disabled and dont have the ability nor will I ever run from incompetent bullies that think they are going to win an army veteran in any form of combat. And that is what this is……cat and mouse abuse of power combat.

        I will win….I will find the right agency or news station to investigate on sink this corruption once and for all. I have no idea when…but I have been calm….and the storm is coming……this is just part of the things too ther is much more….I dont need more…but I have it.

    3. REALLY! Gregory, honestly you must be one uneducated person and I’m sure you don’t have kids and if you do GOD BLESS THEM! My daughter is in the second grade and is never in trouble and can handle her own if you understand that expression. She is tough as I have ever seen tough and still has tremendous anxiety about getting her name on the board in any way. It is embarrassing to these kids it’s not teaching them anything but how to humiliate others and single others out in a negative way.They need to figure out another way to get these kids to cooperate,it’s called CALL THE PARENTS! They are supposed to be able to handle students in a polite respectful way or they have no business at all in the education system. I’m tremendously,curiously, wondering if you are a parent or you are a part of the education system and trying to stick up for teachers like you all do?!?

  9. When I was in Graduate school, if I did not complete a seminar requirement, the professor sometimes uses humiliation as a way to embarrass the student into doing the work. Emotional isolation from these incidents, causes problems, that awakens the person to the isolation found in prior events. As an instructor, I never let my students become isolated from one another. Dr. Sosteric a kind and caring instructor, never would do that either. Wake up greg, your past experiences will direct your feelings and behavior in graduate school, when your work is trashed, and you feel two feet tall. So Gregg will ask himself, where did that come from? Toughen up is like the ignorant in psychiatry saying snap out of it. If I had Gregg as a student, a little compassion would replace the deniability he feels. Robert

  10. if you don’t work with kids Gregory, and I’m guessing you don’t even have kids of your own, then what makes you think that you have anything to say about their emotional or developmental needs? And a poll of young adults, or adolescents, asking them about the emotional trauma in grade two, isn’t exactly a reliable measure. If you are serious about this question, what you need to do is ask a seven year old how they feel in the moment, not years later when they’ve been told, directly or not, that their feelings are not legitimate and they should toughen up. When I asked my seven year old how he felt, he said he felt uncomfortable and ashamed. When I asked my daughter about losing her desk, even the thought of it frightened her.

    So ya, our opinion about where to draw the lines differs. But what is your opinion based on Gregory? You don’t work with children, but I do. You don’t have children (I assume, because if you did you’d be much less likely to be taking your position), but I do. In fact, you’ve probably never research the impact of the things you’re talking about here, but I have. And FYI, the school agrees with me on this one. It didn’t take them more than on hour to pull their ridiculous program of public shaming after I said, stop it or my kids aren’t going to your school. I had a talk with the principal of the school who admitted it was emotional abuse. He even admitted that my public shaming of his teacher made him and his school look heavy handed. I mean, the first version of this article pointed a disapproving public finger at the school, the principal, and the teacher. It made the principal and the teacher feel embarrassed and uncomfortable (and maybe even a little shame) and so, honoring their feelings, I removed the identifying marks because it clearly made them uncomfortable. Huh?! Look at that Gregory, the adult comes to me and says “Michael, please don’t publicly evaluate us like this because it makes us feel bad” and I say, of course Mr. Principal, let me remove the identifying marks because I don’t want you to feel bad. You on the other hand still think it is OK to publicly shame a child, even though I’m sure you’d admit the child is much less likely to speak out, and much more likely to just bend over and accept whatever the “trusted adults” choose to do to them. Uck. But just because the child is less likely to speak out doesn’t mean the child isn’t feeling bad, just like the principal and the teacher. Only difference, we’re much more likely to listen to an adult when they ask us things and much more likely do disregard our children when they say something. Its easy to dismiss the child who says “that makes me feel bad.” If a total stranger says it though, well then we listen. Twisted.

    In any case, and frankly, Gregory, you don’t know what you’re talking about here. You’re obviously insensitive to the developmental needs of children. You think you can comment on their psychological or emotional needs, but that is pure hubris on your part. You have no qualifications as far as I can tell, or even basic sensitivity to the needs of children. I mean, how old are you Gregory? Twenty? You say you’re not damage by your process at school, but I think you are. Had you not been subjected to shaming practices, had you not got the message to “toughen up,” maybe you wouldn’t have cut off your emotional responses like you did, and maybe you’d still have the ability to empathize and understand children. You are good example of what schools do to people. They make them insensitive, cut off their ability for empathy, and encourage them to misunderstand, disregard, and devalue the emotions around them.

    My son said it hurt his feelings. My daughter was terrified at even the thought. What would you have me do Gregory? Tell them their feelings are “wrong,” or that they shouldn’t have them, or that they should change those feelings into something different? Would you have me threaten them with public shaming, or mete out some physical abuse on them for not “being tough” in the way that you think they should. Forget you Gregory. My children’s feelings are relevant and important and I won’t let teachers, schools, or anybody else for that matter, hurt them in any way. I’m sorry your parents didn’t defend you, but that’s no excuse to allow it to happen to others.

    The bottom line, the school practices make them feel bad about themselves. What else is there to say except, that’s not right, let’s fix it. Schools and teachers have a responsibility. Children learn what they model. If their teachers don’t care about how they feel, if the teacher model public shaming, students will pick it up. Why do you think children bully Gregory? It is because there parents and teachers have taught them, through word and deed, that’s it OK to hurt another person. Gregory, it’s never OK to hurt another person. If you do, you need to stop and if you don’t, even after you’re asked, you’re a bully. That’s what bully’s do, they hurt others even after they’ve been asked to stop, and they come with excuses to blame the victim like its there fault for the abuse.

    Kudos to my daughter’s school for admitting they were wrong and stopping the abuse.

    Shame on you Gregory for drawing a line that allows it to continue.

  11. For one, don’t be so quick to judge my upbringing. I have a great relationship with my family, and NEVER was I abused by my parents while growing up. And secondly, to answer your question, I’m far from an emotional bully trying to justify my actions. I don’t even work with children. I’m just an undergraduate student fresh out of high school.

    As I already said, I understand and agree that humiliation can lead to isolation and result in negative consequences, but I disagree that such minor practices cause emotional damage. Do you remember the red light, yellow light, green light discipline in grade school? If you behaved badly, your name was moved from green to yellow. It’s purpose is not meant to scar you. It’s meant to warn you to behave, so why should you feel humiliated when you’re name is isolated? There’s no reason to. Only once was my name moved to yellow, and my reaction was “Oh crap, if I keep behaving badly I’m going to end on red light and get sent to the principal.” I didn’t feel humiliated, bullied, or scarred. This is the same as with having your name on the board. It’s a form of discipline that works, and it’s not harsh.

    I’m not saying you directly tell the kids to “toughen up” if they feel humiliated. All it takes is, “Hey, it’s nothing to feel bad about. These things happen, nobody’s perfect.” On the contrary though, I know I’m not alone in saying that it’s nothing to feel embarrassed. I conducted a small poll in my group (9 people) as part of my project. 8 of 9 said they did not feel humiliated by such forms of discipline, and everyone agreed that the consequences didn’t leave a long lasting scar.

    I am a compassionate person, and I am not in denial as Robert says. My opinion on where to draw the line between what qualifies as emotional bullying/abuse is just different than yours, plain and simple.

    1. Gregory, you have a lot to learn. While you are doing your research you may want to read up on Narcisistic Personality Disorder . The very fact that you are so sure that you are right or even that your opinion matters even though you just got out of high school shows your lack of emotional intelligence . Truly intelligent people are never this sure of anything. They question everything, discuss and listen.

  12. I just got served. But can you PLEASE stop bringing my parents into this, because FYI I just asked them about what they thought about these public isolation methods and they both agreed with you. They think these practices in schools are humiliating and, above all, completely unnecessary. The only reason they never defended me is because I was never embarrassed by these public humiliation methods and thus never had to go to them for help. I admit, I’m being intolerant and only basing my opinions on my personal experiences/feelings as a child. But can you accept the fact that some people (such as myself) are simply less emotional than others? This doesn’t always have to be the result of schools’ poor disciplinary measures like you keep assuming in my case. I’m just not as sensitive as some people and never felt emotionally abused the few times I was isolated in grade school. However, that doesn’t mean I’m “damaged”, nor does it make me any less compassionate, for I am a humanitarian and I truly enjoy making people happy.

    I’m 19 years old, so no I don’t have kids. Like I said, I was only basing my thoughts on their development from my personal experience as a child, which wasn’t painful for me. I’ve never had to experience a child coming home to me emotionally hurt because of a practice that could’ve been avoided, but I imagine I would feel the same way as you.

    Again, I admit I was wrong. I guess toughness isn’t the issue, but the fact that everyone reacts differently to isolation, and that needs to be respected. I was being ignorant of others and not thinking outside my own head. Why should the whole class have to know when a student has failed to complete his or her homework? As you and my parents have stated, it is really unnecessary. That issue could just as easily be handled privately, and no one would have to face humiliation, whether it hurts you or not.

    Sorry for the hassle.
    Thanks Doc.

    1. Hi Gregory. No hassle. This is what university/teaching is about. If I thought this was a hassle, I probably would have picked a different career.

      Anyway, I get that you are basing your opinion on your personal experience, but even that’s not good enough. We’re talking about emotions here, and feelings, and oppression, and bullying (by teachers), and abuse and the thing is, as a male, your socialization desensitizes you to this kind of thing. At birth you are given a blue blanket and subsequent to that you get the message that boys are different than girls. Boys are tougher, less emotional, less sensitive, and so on. And it’s not just words, you (well maybe not you, but boys) get punished for having emotions. I see it all the time, from the daddy who tells his little boy to “soldier up” when what he really needs is some kindness and a hug, to the wife who says she wants a sensitive male but then gets all crazy and abusive when the male actually dares to speak a feeling, boys are punished for showing emotions (which are deeply associated with “weakness” in our culture, for some reason). Heck, I was socialized male and I still remember all the shit and abuse I got whenever I crossed gender based emotional boundaries. So I don’t know? Is it that you are just tougher than others, that you can handle ridicule and public shaming, or is it that as a male your natural emotional sensitivity has been suppressed and repressed? It is a fair question. Boy and girl babies don’t display much difference when it comes to their sensitivity to pain (they are all pretty darn sensitive), and I know my own male child is extremely sensitive and easy to hurt, and my big alpha male rottweiler is the biggest suck of them all. He just wants to be touched all the time. So I don’t know? Are you just “tougher” or are you the same as all the other young adult males out there, cut off from their emotions, and forced to scrunch up their sensitivity to avoid the abuse that comes when you violate gender-based emotional expectations.

      I can’t answer that question for you. It could be either. You’re young though so I suspect you’ve never considered this kind of thing before. But you should, especially if you’re a sociology student ya? It might be OK for a psychologist, or a physicist, or somebody else in one of the lesser sciences to miss the significance of gender, or to use their own life as unexamined evidence for things, but sociologists need to hold themselves to higher standards of sophistication, IMHO. It is the only way we’ll ever hope to truly understand this thing we call society.

      Nice chatting with ya!

  13. Gregg. Relax and take it easy. You are just like many undergraduates who bring their frailties to the door step of the university. Why use self justification as a way of denying what you really are. A troubled undergraduate who does not understand that you will learn to sift out all that hatred and frustration. In my classes, students are allowed to deal with inequities of their upbringings, by diving into the vast field of sociology. If Dr. Sosteric is your instructor, pay very close attention to what he does. Take the blindfold off and live your life, because you will be changed by the experiences of a new realm. Robert

  14. My 15 year old son has demonstrated some pretty severe behavoral changes this school year, most significantly in his extreme reactions to doing homework. This is a child who loves to learn, and even loves to teach. He went from being team captain of the science bowl for the region, to failing biology, refusing to do assignments, and sleeping in class.

    This is the only class he has his kind of trouble in.

    It’s not possible that this is the due to something like lack of sleep or drugs. On the other hand I get the distinct feeling that the teacher is single ing him out. She has a very frantic type of personality, which is already hard on my son, who has aspergers. But to make matters worse she holds him accountable for things over which he doesn’t have control. In a meeting just the other day he said he is sleeping and it upsets her because she sees it as a behavior problem. ( I see it as his reaction to her but I didn’t say that to her.) I told her that he responds better to a gentle, tender, nurturing type of teacher. She was very mad at our meeting, and I believe she took it out on him that day, including forcing him to stand during class for falling asleep, holding him accountable for an optional assignment that she did not give him time to complete, and generally having a harrassing attitude towards him.

    Fortunately I have irrefutable record of the details of our conversation, so now that she retaliated against my son, I have evidence.

    I’m not sure about her to go from here but I know I have to protect my kiddo, and get her away from the others.

    Any help would be appreciated… Wish me luck!

    1. She was very mad at our meeting, and I believe she took it out on him that day, including forcing him to stand during class for falling asleep, holding him accountable for an optional assignment that she did not give him time to complete, and generally having a harrassing attitude towards him.

      If i were you I’d be screaming blue murder at this point. I’d insist that he be removed from her class and I’d also be threatening legal action. What she is doing is emotionally abusive and if you don’t stop her from doing it, the effect on him will only get worse. You got to do something.

      Go straight to the principal of the school with this. and see what that does.

  15. It would be interesting to see how this abuse varies by class, race/ethnicity, gender, local culture, etc. My experience in a middle/upper-middle class suburb of a major, Midwestern, American city is drastically different than the one my children are having in a rural, lower-SES southern town. The same goes in comparing their experience with same-aged cousins back near by hometown today. Just as parenting styles vary by social class, which by some scholars have been explained by parents’ occupation and children’s expected occupational outcomes, this is perhaps just another way of preparing young people for the class-based realities, occupation and otherwise, of adulthood.

  16. Beth A comparative study would be an excellent idea. The commentaries on this article are excellent. Robert

  17. Thank you for posting this. I had recently come to the realization that most of my life I’ve tried to avoid making mistakes or being punished, because of the emotional abuse I faced at school. I realized I had become a bully because I never felt validated in school.

    I have Autism and sound sensitivity. My sound sensitivity was always dismissed as a phobia, I’m 30 so this was awhile before the awareness of Autism today. I kept trying to punish people for not obeying rules, not in real life, but on Tumblr.

    I really have learned so much about myself, and how I react to the idea of punishment, because in 3rd grade I was held after school. My teachers ignored me crying till my face was red, emotionally manipulated me saying I couldn’t go home. I associated that event, as well as other situations with being held against my will. I even had a teacher who found me asleep after school, I was lucky he found me or I’d have been trapped at the school for the night.

    Things were so upsetting to me, I can relate my fear to that of someone being trapped in a horror film. No one should have such a troubling childhood, they feel only horror film writers and directors understand them. I mean, my parents understood, and like you they went to bat for me. The stories my mom could tell you about the I.E.P meetings.

    I realized I probably never allowed myself to admit how bad things were because I have a otherwise good life. I own several game systems for example, so I felt I can’t complain when I have things this good. It’s become apparent how destroyed I was by the experiences I had in public school.

    I hope this article can help others realize just how damaging the experiences you mentioned really are to school children. You would have thought Columbine would have been a wake-up call to the idea something was seriously wrong with how kids were beng treated in school.

  18. So helpful! My 10-year-old daughter was singled out and kicked out of ballet class last week because she didn’t understand a particular dance move. In front of the class, the teacher asked if she practiced over the weekend (which was Thanksgiving Holiday.) My daughter told the truth and said no. The teacher said “leave.” There were no other adults in the building so my daughter was unclear on where to go – or for how long. She didn’t know if she was kicked out of the class forever – or what it meant. Who was supervising her during this time? Fortunately, she had her cell phone and called me. She will never go back to the class again. Unbelievable.

      1. Ya I agree, I was physically and emotionally abused by my grade 3 teacher, that was about 45 years ago and it still affects me to this day, I think about it several times a week, and way back them I had to apologize to the teacher and principle.

  19. I just found this article and wanted to say thank you for speaking out about abuse in schools. It is a tragedy that children have to suffer at the hands of teachers and other school staff members that are trusted to care for them. My daughter was verbally and emotionally abused in kindergarten by her teacher and the assistant, mainly over use of the restroom. There were several incidents including my daughter being denied use of the restroom, then punished for going to the restroom with permission

  20. Hello my name is marie and I am having troble with my son school. this was my sons first year at school and on his first day he had trouble adjusting their reaction was he needs to be medicated I took my 6 year old son to 3 doctors 3 phycologists and he now sees a theropist every week. Not one felt he needs medication but the school felt that was wronge pushed harder call child pertective services lied to them about abuse had my 6 year old coming home saying things like its my brain mom I can’t control my brain I need medication.. they would not allow us to change his class room nor schools within or outside of the school district now truency officers call me regularly and I am forced to return him to that horrible place. I have tried everything I can think of and fear for my childs wellbeing but seem helpless to protect him. We have been told his shear size is intimidating to other students and have had students calling him fat throwing thing at him ect. Yet when he fights back he get told he needs medication and is kicked out for the week or told the school will not except him unless he has seen a phycologist. I am at the end of my rope and do not know what to do if you have any suggestions that may help please don’t hesitate. We live in the country and internet is very exspencive or I would home school.
    Thank you for your time and hope for some help.

  21. An 11 year old found gouging out marks in a wooden desk with a scissor point. When asked why – he answered ‘because my teacher keeps ripping up my papers (worksheets) because some kid runs up to her and tells on me for ‘rushing’ (hurrying through it). ‘ As a parent, I just wrote a note to his teacher to ‘please stop ripping up my son’s paper for being accused of ‘rushing’ – this is causing him emotional distress. He has confided in his father and myself that this has happened 4-5 times this year. We must now ask that you stop this. Also, please refrain from making remarks to him in regards to my notes to you. Thank you.’ I can only hope it will end here. Any suggestions?

    1. My response to this kind of thing has always been to pull my kids out of school. Just say, you’ll send them back when the school gets its act together. IF you are confident then the school usually backs down, straightens out. The last thing they want to do is be answering questions from other authorities, police, etc., about why you’re not sending your kids to school. Just be strong about it. Don’t accept any violence against your children.

  22. I myself have been experiencing a similar problem with my 12 year old sons school. For some reason or another the school dean does not like my son and if any problem arise my son will usually be one of the first to be questioned. An incident happened just before Christmas break where he was accused of opening the girls bathroom door. Without any adult witnessing anything he was sent to the office where he was yelled at and verbally abused by this gentleman if he can be called that. He then called me and proceeded to yell at me over the phone telling me he wanted my son out of his school that no matter what school i took him to he was going to have problems because he would make sure he spread the word of what a problematic kid my chils was. All this was while my son sat in his office he then read my son an email by a teacher stating that she wanted to sit him outsite of her class and that if she could do to him what she does to her own kidsshe wouldnt be allowed to work with children. All this sounds like verbal abuse and threats towards a child who they are suppose to be protecting. He continues to stop my son in the hallways to question him about different things including if i was trying to get him fired. I have had two meetings with the school principal and no results. This thursday after our last meeting when i brought up him harassing my son strange enough the next day was called to the office again now being accused of bullying but the teacher who was in the classroom says my son wasnt feeling good and had his head down the whole period. When i went to gather signatures from the teachers to prove my son is not a bully i was only able to get 5 because they were told they were not to speak to me and before signing anything it would have to be approved by the same dean but that they were shocked when this man informed them about this since they have not had problems with my son just minimal trying to test how and what they could get away with. I really dont know what else to do i do not want to just transfer him out because that would just be giving up and allowing this man to continue what he is doing. Im originally from New York and now living in a small city i have found its very difficult to get anywhere with concerns because they all know and back each other up. I will be up for my final battle with this man tomorrow before i have to figure some different way to go about this. Any suggestions please im a desperate mother looking to help my son succeed and have a voice of his own.

    1. You know, I’m just overwhelmed by this. I know abuse in schools can be bad, but the level of toxicity, and the resistance to accountability and change, is overwhelming. For what its worth, I’ve experienced this pattern before. I brought up some serious allegations against a psychologist’s incompetent and damaging testing practices in the protestant school board, and those involved sent little private emails to each other reinforcing their own faulty world views the whole time and undermining the legitimacy of my concerns. Their strategies where as obnoxious and annoying as they were transparent and pathetic. The corruption and lack of concern went straight to the top and ultimately nobody really cared that the psychologist was incompetent, or that her testing practices might be providing erroneous and damaging date on the children she was in contact with, they just want me and my wife to shut up and go away. What was absolutely horrifying to me was that even the professional body of psychologists in Alberta (CAP) seemed unconcerned. I brought my concerns up to one of the top members of the organization (who deals with complaints and the “public” interest) and all he could say about my charges of incompetence and unprofessional practice was “well psychologists are busy and so sometimes we have to cut corners.” I was absolutely horrified that a professional psychologist in charge of a professional body that oversees other psychologists would treat my child with less respect than a hunk of metal. I mean, can you imagine taking your car to a mechanic and having the mechanic tell you they “cut some corners” on the brake job because they were too “busy” to do it right? You’re horrified even thinking about it and would never imagine saying that to anybody, yet how many people would look with the same degree of horror at the representative of CAP who said the same thing about their son or daughter, or think it is OK to treat human children with such a grotesque level of disregard and disrespect?

      What is perhaps most distributing is that they did this to me despite my stated expertise in psychometric testing, and my advanced graduate level credentials. I don’t have to imagine what they would do to a member of the “general public” without the same background and credential. They will do everything in their power to shift the blame onto you, your parenting, etc. Sometimes that may be true, but often it is the violence and abuse in the schools that is the exacerbating problem.

      Ultimately we had to move our children’s schools twice before we found a place, not perfect, but where the staff and administration were open and where they did not brook teacher abuse and professional incompetence. Until we get more people turned onto the crimes being committed against our children by the schools they attend (and of course most teachers are not like this, but then again it only takes ONE to do permanent damage), it is going to be a tough slog. There has to be some way to maybe organize and publish on this, bring people together to start talking about it.

      maybe a separate blog or something like that. Would parents out there right about their experiences if we set up something like that?

  23. I am sitting here in tears, reading this article.
    My daughter is 17 and has dealt with this most of her life.
    It begins with the students and then the teachers get on board, it is heart crushing to stand by and watch it year after year…I’m not sure how long ago this was posted but Please put a stop to this for your daughter, My child has been bullied, ridiculed, tormented and isolated by students since the sixth grade. She went a whole school year sitting alone at a lunch table cause no one would sit with her afraid of being a target a well. This started with a small group of girls and then growing.
    Once the teacher jumps on that bandwagon and not only condones the behavior but encourages it, then it is all over…..
    We have had several great teachers that have been great and a few with stories I could go on for days about the behavior and comments being like those of the students.
    My daughter has always been a little socially awkward, she is a loud talker, sometimes is overly excited and tends to interrupt when talking, She may have a form of ADHD and we have tried meds when she was younger, These only made her feel sick and she hated feeling drugged. She can be what some might say as annoying, but she is not mean to anyone and goes way out of her way to try and please people.
    We have watched year after year with her wanting to be accepted by peers and trying so hard but it seems like once you get that label then it’s only a matter of time before you are sitting alone again.
    My daughter has had many accomplishments through her academic life, Drill team president and officer but even then the girls would never respect her and almost not acknowledge her existence most of the time,
    She has tried almost every activity from theatre, dance, poetry, debate, ETC that she could find to try to prove herself worthy, eventually each of those begin to get chipped away as the school year wears on and it’s like holding your breathe this time every year hoping for the school year to end so my child can have an emotional break…
    So now my daughter is 17 and we are in the senior year of High School and here I am holding my breathe again.
    We switched to a school that offers dual credit programs for college last year.
    She went through last year almost unscaived.
    This year has been a little more emotional for her with several students coming from the same school she had gone to all through former grades and so the stories of don’t talk to that girl began to grow slowly like a cancer, now I am dealing with a teacher again that not only has two girls that don’t like my daughter but if my daughter interrupts the teacher (which I know is not appropriate) or may not have heard all of the instruction. This teacher proceeds to talk openly about her in class making fun of her saying I knew she wouldn’t know what to do, that’s why I called on her and laughing over excessively and nudging others on the shoulders in class to do the same.
    My daughter said this has been the tone set in this class for her most of this semester. Today was overwhelming for her and she left the class.
    My daughter will graduate from High school this June with an associate’s degree in science at 17. She will also graduate with cords for DAP in math, science, and hopefully Spanish, she will also have cord for community services.
    We are so proud of her. She will be the first woman in our family to graduate from High school. (as you can probably tell by my grammar). However she has been crying all morning cause she knows the torment she will receive in this class the remainder of the year, and wants to drop this class.
    I have e-mailed this teacher and she will be calling me this afternoon. I really needed to vent this, as well as finding myself back in her 6th grade year printing up articles to educate the principal about what my child was going through. I hope I will be able to put two words together when speaking this afternoon.
    I mainly worry every day that this is the set tone for my child through her adult life in maintaining jobs with stress, relationships and basic day to day emotional and cognitive issues. Its seems to have been thus far. I am desperate to help her cause it never seems to end.
    Thanks for reading.

  24. I desperately need advice. My son 14 y/o has 4 lates over policy so they will not allow him to participate in the end of school year 8th grade class day trip and the 8th grade dance. The 8th grade class will be entering High School this year so I feel these events are extremely important and that he is being socially isolated from his peers which I feel can lead to teen depression, social withdrawel, etc.. The principal says “no”. He says I can go to the superintendant. My son has zero behavior issues, nice kid, places football and basketball, gets along well with others..Please help, I know “rules” are made to be followed so I don’t want to undermine school policy BUT I feel strongly thAT this is extreme for having 9 lates school year, or just extreme period! Am I wrong?

  25. Parents need to be advocates for their own kids. If they saw their child struggling to stay above water in a swimming pool, they’d jump right in and pull the child out of the water. But throw that same child into an emotionally abusive setting at school, and the parents hesitate to trust their own instincts. Surely the teacher – or the principal – would never treat their child like that!

    In a parochial school, I’ve found that parents are even more hesitant to question authority. It’s like the god-like status of the priests carries over to the school personnel. Parents would never consider questioning Fr. So-and-so! Teachers seem to merit the same sort of unquestioning fidelity – to the children’s detriment. In a parochial school, parents end up questioning what what they see with their own eyes and doubt whether or not their child really IS having trouble staying afloat. Surely a priest or teacher will come to the pool’s edge and scoop up the child if he’s really on the verge of drowning – right? WRONG. But the parents won’t jump in!

    I’ve been a teacher for 16 years and have three grown children of my own. I’ve had to advocate for them from time to time, and I’ve done the same thing for my students who needed it. I’ve also taught the parents of my students how to stick up for their kids in school – what rights they have, for example, during an IEP meeting. Recently, I’ve seen grown men grow teary-eyes, their voices choked with emotion, when recalling emotional abuse at the hands of elementary school teachers.

    Emotional abuse hurts. It’s damaging – both short-term and long-term. Lives can be ripped apart by its effects. What do you think happens when a child learns that school isn’t a safe place? He shuts down. Stops trying. Some even drop out of school. The economic implications are obvious – but consider, too, the social implications. What sort of spouse will this person be? What kind of parent will this person be? Long-lasting pain is sometimes dulled with alcohol. Just visit an open AA meeting to hear what the consequences of alcoholism are. DUI, DWI, jail terms, revoking of licenses (hard to stay working without a way to work), etc. And these days, alcohol use is frequently paired with drug use. The nightmare goes on…

    For any school district, any diocese, any school anywhere to minimize the effects of emotional abuse on our kids is criminal. But it’s going to take lots of awareness and lots of active voices before schools get the message.

    I know our kids are worth the fight – I pray you do, too, and that you’re not afraid to jump in the pool while everyone else is content to look on!

  26. Geoffrey Harris
    Have found that the most important thing to know when dealing with people is that most (not all) of them are basically gutless, craven, cowards, including, and especially the blustering bullying types, who often have “authority” (teachers, managers, parents) etc. They are sh**ting blanks. Often when one challenges them and calls them on it one finds they have nothing and no one to back them up. For example, read in the sub teaching book the reason it was recommended that the instructors not make threats was because of the risk of being called on it and students finding out that the instructors basically had nothing and would not carry out their threats.

  27. Hi
    We are forcing our children to go to school and face all the insult by their teacher. I am a single mother and principle is threatening my kids.I tried my best but nobody helped me.I tried to call superintendent she fixed meeting but she didn’t come. Our trustee never bother to pick up my phone or call back. My kids are suffering. One day my daughter said I want to suicide because of this principle. No way out. Who can stop this cruel behaviour?

  28. I have been having the same problem with my son as well as witnessing emotional abuse by principal and teachers. For example one morning after I walked my son to his 3rd grade classroom I noticed a little boy sitting outside his classroom sitting on the floor crying. One of the other students alerted the teacher about the boy. Just then the teacher came out but she didn’t noticed me standing there. She told the little boy crying and I quote “Are you gonna just sit there and cry all day!” The teacher looked up and her eyes level with mine. She then darted back into the classroom unbelievable. As for my son his 4th grade teacher met me and my son after hours on the parking lot. (I pick up my son after school in my vehicle). The teacher says to my son “Do you have low self-esteem. Do you feel bad about yourself. His desk is a mess. Well my son was so distraught. I have reported the matters but now my son is in 5th grade and the emotional abuse is continuing by this 4th grade teacher who has spread false rumors to other teachers that my son is “hearing voices” and that he is “different” etc etc.. I called the principal this year and told him my son is being “harassed.” The principal went as far to say everyone is “frustrated” with my son there at his school. I am shocked how the educational system is run by incompetent people. They place no value on their students.

  29. Thank you for writing this. I am an adult now, and I still am severely traumatized by what my shitbag teachers did to me. I’ve always stood out (even though I never really wanted to), some idiot teachers would pick on me for that, but the worst one was sort of my surrogate mother who acted like she cared about me but would still humiliate me in public every few weeks whenever I didn’t behave exactly as she wanted (not necessarily breaking the rules). She would hold conferences with the whole class to address a single student, not even so the others could give input, just so everyone could watch. She deliberately ignored the abuse I was suffering at home because it didn’t fit in with the model of the strong, independent star she had for me.

  30. I have recently found that my son (8) and 2 other students in his class have been removed from a central grouping style seating arrangement for behavior issues. I can understand for maybe the remainder of the day if they are distracting the group, but this has been going on for over a month. He and the others are being excluded from group activity on a daily basis. The worst part about it, as I spoke with some other students at the bus stop, they have stated this is going on in every classroom. This is a model of discipline in our school district. How can this be allowed, and accepted? In our days the disciplinary methods were more on the physical side. Most of you may know what I mean. But it happened behind closed doors and not in front of other students. After reading this forum, i started to feel that he is being isolated for way to long. And it is show in his actions. He is starting to hide in his room and never wanting to go outside. What should I do?

  31. It’s difficult to take this article seriously when there are such obvious proof-reading errors in it. “Principle” and “principal” are two different things.
    I would also like to to read suggestions as to how to improve our schools, while enforcing the necessary rules and boundaries without subjecting children to humiliation. It seems like you have a lot of complaints, but not a lot of constructive feedback to improve things other than “homeschool” which is not attainable for many working families.

    Thanks for the copy editing assistance. I appreciate it. As for suggestions, there are some, but they all come down to either a) stand up and fight or b) get the hell out. What else is there to say, expect maybe encourage people to post their stories of how they fought back. Do you have a story to share?

  32. I really loved reading your article. Such a wonderful thing to read. Thank you for standing up for the abusive system in which this country and this world operates.

  33. This made me cry Today was my son last day of school and as I walk him in too his class room I see that is desk is literately like 10 ft away from the other children. Though his teacher seems great his associates I have had many problems with this year. I have also seen depression in my son that past 6 moths after reading this I think I know why? SO sad I don’t even know what to think right now, wish I could home school, but I barley have time so it is hard for me to imagine it. Thanks for this info its good but hurts to see.

  34. I have had it with my child’s teacher…a whole year of abuse and it has come down to this email after she hung up on me.

    Maybe if you did your job and graded the papers yourself, you would of had the papers all sorted out. Instead you berated my child all morning and threatened her with not going on her fieldtrip. It is time to retire when you don’t want to DO YOUR JOB. A teacher is supposed to help, nurture and motivate a student.  Not belittle, put down or scare a child. Good job on wrecking yet another one if my daughter’s days at school. P.S. You are sadistic to have allowed that group of brats target my daughter and her friend all year. Just because my kid doesn’t fit the type a student, does NOT give you the right to treat her cruelly or allow others to. Yes I may have dropped a curse word when trying to deal with you, but I believe it is nothing  compared to your actions and what you have allowed all year to be done to my child and her friend. In church you need to ask for forgiveness for your actions and the emotional mark you have left on children’s souls. You can never take those away, shame on you. YOU NEED TO RETIRE! If you even think of taking this out on my kid, I have NO problem having a nice get together with you and sorting this out in person. Unlike yourself,I don’t take my frustrations out on little kids and abuse them. I never felt gratification picking on easy targets unlike yourself. I have reported you to the dept. Of education for the emotional abuse and for treating my child who has an IEP in such a distasteful manor. I am consulting a lawyer and your name is being brought up. You are a tired,used up, poor excuse of a teacher. You give teachers everywhere a bad name. I pray for you to retire. I am making it my project to see you punished by as many organizations  and advocates for victims rights as possible. Good riddance to you, ya old warn out lousy Bitch!
    P.S. I am warning as many parents about you as I can, but please note that you already have the bitch teacher stigma attached to your name from many parents in the district.
    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    1. How incredibly rude of you! Berating the teacher while referring to her as b***h. You’d be better served by attending to your own atrocious spelling and grammar; perhaps then you’d be able to help your child in a practical way!

      1. Cate, that’s a very telling response. It is a transparent attempt to silence this parent through a bit of globalized public shaming. This sort of behavior is precisely why parents like Farah above get so upset with the system.

        Please understand, I’m not trying to justify Farah’s response. I think dialog is curtailed when emotions run too high. I just think anybody who is going to respond on this blog should take a deep breath and take the time they need to find positive ways to express their anger and frustration. Picking on each other isn’t going to help at all.

        Parents should understand that teachers face incredible pressure and this pressure often beats them down and, over the course of decades, breaks them. Teachers should understand that parents are increasingly desperate to protect their children from the long term emotional and psychological damage incurred in our current school system.

  35. I myself a high school student,we all have different kinds of problems,in general we face homeworks pressure and most importantly exam pressure but thats a different topic here its about abuse ,rejection and many negativities which is common among average students.These days there are laws being imposed so that we kids can get good education and develop into a well behaved and mature adult but if our teachers are supposed to treat us in this inhumane way then how are we able to be positive while learning?
    Lets take the example given of the twelve year old girl if she is humiliated and isolated in this manner then its sure that her classmates will try to comment and tease her which might have a bad effect on her mind and lead to serious consequences.Even in our school our teacher has her/his ways of punishment for not accomplishing the work on time but they don’t take away our desk priviliges our abuse us.If thats the case then the girl should immediately cross her line take actions against the teacher.I’m not telling to become rebelious or indiscipline but it is the common excuse given by many adults against us,the growing ones.They usually say if you would do it the other kids do the same ,why ?are we kids dumb can’t we speak up for the right thing when our elders are wrong?Ofcourse we can,when i showed my mother the above article she was just shocked and just uttered a sentence,”This shouldn’t be the case….”
    After giving a serious thinking i surprisingly debated on the topic with her and she even agreed that if it is necessary we should voice up for the justice.

  36. You are ridiculous, people like you are the very reason that children turn out so bad. Please do keep your spoiled brats home, and wow welcome them to the real world when they grow, unless as probably will happen they will continue to live at home past their 30’s. Such ignorance.

    1. Actually, it is you that is the ignorant one. Ignorant of the growing body of research that indicates it is abuse experienced in childhood that is the reason kids turn out with anger, hatred, mental health issues, etc. A growing body of solid research is proving that it is abuse heaped on children in childhood that creates monsters we deal with today. So thanks for being such a misinformed and arrogant part of the problem that you helped create, and everybody else has to deal with.

      I really hope you are not a parent or, God please forbid, a teacher. But if you are one or both, you need to know that personal injury lawsuits are always dependent on proof and evidence of personal harm. The research is growing rapidly and it is becoming increasingly easy to prove long term, debilitating, personal harm as the result of the abuse we experience in childhood. It is only a matter of time before an angry parent or child sues the “old school” teacher, principal, and the school that protects them.

      I’m so tired of hearing the nonsense that abuse “builds character” or that assaulting children with physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual violence is what they need to survive in the “real world.” These are just cheap excuses used by bitter and angry people to justify their spineless violence against defenseless children. I wish I could be there when the lawyers come for you. I wish I could see you eat your words. I wish I could see you pay for the damage you’ve done.


    2. Speaking of people creating monsters. John Lennons’ Killer recently admitted that he killed Lennon because “he had felt excluded since he was a child and needed the notoriety of killing Lennon to fill the gap that was in me.”

      read article

      So who is really responsible for the death of John Lennon. The man who pulled the trigger, or the society (parents, teachers, “friends,” and schools) that created the monster?

  37. Today my son was humiliated bc he forgot his homework. Week 2 of school and teacher makes him call me in front of entire class to tell me he is a habitual homework forgetter. I told her it is unacceptable to humiliate him and call me at work for this..why not send a discrete email? Why humiliate him in front of his peers? He is on autism spectrum with adhd, and has an iep, shouldn’t she consider he is doing his best? Sadly no. I’ve emailed superintendent and principal. I wish I could just home school my boy.

  38. My children go to a private school. Where the principal is the owner. My daughter was bullied the first week of school. The teacher provided an excuse for this behavior. The next two days my daughter refused to go to school because it’s the same girl who was a bully last year. I posted the situation on Facebook and I didn’t name the school, teacher, principal, or children’s names. The principal informed my children’s father if I don’t remove the post and apologize to her she will kick my children out of the school and report me to dcf.

  39. This is the letter I wrote to my child’s teacher on the third day of fourth grade. I did not have to write to complain about any of her teachers in the previous year. I am very emotional about this. Please let me know if I overreacted.

    Samantha came home extremely distraught today. She said, “Mrs. —— yelled at me a lot today.” She said you yelled at her for the following:

    1. She was told, in front of the entire class, that she received a zero for not having her cursive book. She felt humiliated because of this very public shaming. Her Cursive book was lost. It is not home and she insists she did not bring it home on Friday. Unfortunately, she did not write her name on it, so it will be difficult to determine whether another child accidentally took it. Please assist her in finding the book or supplying her with a new one. She will make up whatever cursive homework was not done. A zero will not help her complete the assignment.
    1. She did not have all the extra school supplies you requested. Those will be brought in in the near future. They were not in the 4th grade kit, which was supposed to contain all the supplies needed. Unfortunately, I am fully disabled due to MS and am not able to drive to purchase supplies. They have been ordered from Staples- your patience is appreciated.
    2. She did not bring in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Samantha has memory problems. She is extremely forgetful. If she is not told to copy it into the
    Agenda, she will not remember to do it.
    3. She did not write the full date on the top of her page and forgot to write a few words. As a result of this, you erased some of the work she had already done and told her to erase everything else on the page. This upset her greatly. In the 3rd grade she did not always write the day, month and year. She would have responded better to a simple request to complete the assignment, rather than the punishment of erasing and writing the whole page over.
    4. She wrote her Cursive assignment in her notebook, because she forgot you said to write it on loose-leaf. As I said previously, Samantha does have issues with remembering things. She is not doing this out of disrespect to you or maliciousness.
    When Samantha is yelled at, she tends to shut down. It is not an effective motivational strategy with her. In fact, it causes her to make more errors. Please call me to discuss this matter at your earliest convenience.

    1. I don’t think you over-reacted. You are quite reasonable and reserved. I would have been a lot less so if I found a teacher had verbally assaulted my child and humiliated her in front of a whole classroom.

  40. Your article is absolutely wonderful. I am currently completing a paper. My thesis is “Despite education and training, teachers should avoid bulling their students as this leads to long-term mental issues like depression, anger and acts of violence.”

    You articles have proved an immense amount of information for me to link teacher bullying to depression, anger & acts of violence. It has been an amazing journey to find such a lack of research and/or findings regarding teacher bullying.

    This must be due to the shame that the public schools would experience, the outrage of parents to know what they had originally thought to be true. Could you imagine the overwhelming letters, emails, phone calls & visits that schools around the U.S. would receive if this would be “truly publicly exposed”?

    I need to get back to my paper but I just wanted to say thank you for all your research and postings of your opinions and knowledge that you have done. Great info & very intriguing the way you link them!

    Great job & thanks again!


  41. Dr Michael,
    My granddaughter is 6 years old and attends public school in Redlands California. My daughter called me yesterday very upset because my granddaughter had come home with “poop” in her under wear. The teacher does not allow the first grade students to use the restroom and if they do, they will receive a “sad sticker” on the board. My granddaughter was so desperate to not receive the “sad sticker” she tried to hold her bowels. My daughter called the teacher immediately and the teacher defended her position on no restroom use. The teacher then asked to speak with the child. My daughter told her no and that this needed to be changed immediately.

    Today they have a meeting with the principal.

    I believe this absolutely abusive behavior from the teacher.

    What are your thoughts on this.

    Janet Jones

    1. i think that goes beyond abuse to torture. Even inmates in a prison are allowed to go to the bathroom whenever they need to. I think if you do a little internet research, or ask your doctor, they’d tell you that “holding it” is harmful. You should mention that in your meeting. Tell the school you consider the practice physically harmful and medically dangerous and back it up with some research.

      That teacher shouldn’t be teaching children. Clearly she has some emotion and psychological issues that prevent her from being a healthy educator and guardian. I don’t think she should be harmed, but she should be given a job as far away from children as can possibly be managed.

  42. I regularly volunteered at my son’s school for 3 years and the way some teachers, cafeteria staff and bus drivers would just scream
    and treat this poor elementary kids was horrible that I had to stop going because I would go home depressed, just feeling so sad and helpless for those little ones. It was almost as if they were in boot camp, my son struggled with 2 screaming teachers to the point of him having nightmares and stomach pains often. The constant bullying of kids is another problem that still in this day is a big problem that this school seems to not take serious. What happened to teachers who love to teach and actually enjoy doing it. What happened to those day’s when school was fun and even though kids didn’t want to wake up early they still looked forward to going. Sad

  43. Hi im a grade 9 student from Australia i am currently in my fourth term and this one teacher and group of head of years have been non stop picking on me but my main problem is my science teacher she repeatedly comes over to my desk grabs my study planner flicks through every page picks up my book and if i haven’t written word for word or haven’t completely finished something she will stop everyone and announce exactly what i did then tell me to start over again even if i wrote in pen instead of pencil or vice versa one such incident that particularity stands out is when she ordered me to sit at the front of the room to which i replied that i cant due to eye sight problems that i have to sit towards the
    back of the room in the middle of that row she then called me a liar and said if i didnt go up there she would be sending me to the office my mother then wrote a note kindly telling her to back off i have eye problems no need to be a bitch a then proceeded to start a small journal to record all her wrong doings until she went through my things that i had bought with my money and gave it to the head of year i have also been forced to further humiliation such as when i had sprained my ankle to “hurry up and go to the office for ice if its really that bad” and when i return to “Why are you here” instead of a friendly are you okay? Or feeling better” i cannot remember many more details as my records were taken and it pains me to remember i do however cry and become emotionally ill the night and morning before her lessons i am beginning to no longer feel sad upset and tired but angry awake and imagine her being killed in horrible ways even though i sometimes feel remorse after thinking that
    Ps i apologise for any grammatical errors or disjointed statements but different events came back to me and damn auto correct

  44. I am an RN. I ride on a school bus with a 10 year old girl with a seizure disorder. I don’t work for the school district. My young student has an aide at school because of the seizure disorder. This aide does degrade, try to control, and humiliates this very sweet girl. I really like this child, but when I first met her she was rude and defiant. Then her aide was absent for 3 months because she had fallen at school and broke more than bone. Her replacement was a young woman with a naturally ability to care about her student and also to teach her wonderful social skills. I was so happy that things were improving. Actually, until the child’s regular aide returned I never realized what was goung on. Within 2 days she was sticking her tongue out, and being rude. She often takes it out on me. I’m really angry, but I don’t work for the district and could lose my job; but something has to be done. (The reason I know what’s going on is because I go into the scool at the end of the day to walk her to the bus and I see the interaction between the aide and student. What can I do. This child’s life is being ruined.

    1. I don’t get angry because the child takes things out on me. I guess I am safe. I’m angry when I see this aide demeaniing her.

  45. My husband and I are putting together our documentation to take to the headmaster of our daughter’s high school concerning abuse and rampant inappropriateness (several teachers involved). We would really like Dr. S’s advice on how to approach this situation and if he believes we might have legal recourse with the information we have. Our child is leaving the school, but we are concerned for other students who will continue to be targeted. Is it possible to have a phone conversation or email conversation with Dr. S?

    1. My grandson is having problems with a particular teacher who without a doubt targets josh and singles him out by moving him to sit on his own. I am at my wits end because he is the type of child who does not like to draw attention to himself. Theres been an incident again today and josh has walked out of the lesson and rung me in tears to pick him up. Do I have the right to remove him from any lessons being taught by this teacher?

      1. I would remove him; then, if the school threatens to sic the authorities on you, explain to the authorities why you took him out.Say the police, or the judge, or to the media that the school teacher is bullying your child. Tell them if they threaten you to “bring it on”. I bet the thought of having to explain themselves to outside authorities will cool their engines.

      2. I am having the same problem with my grandson, age 15, but it is the principal that is bullying him. The principal took it upon himself to call and get a onesided story regarding a previous school district and now he is determined that my grandson is not going to do well in his school. He is trying to send him to alternative school for writing a swear word and the title of a public song in his notebook. He has searched his backpack four times and publicly humiliated my grandson in the lunchroom. My grandson was making very good grades until this started and I am just finding out what has happened. The principal called my grandson into the office and falsely accused him of placing stickers on walls and doors and when it was proven the truth of who it actually was the principal just had to find something to punish my grandson for. I have pulled him out of school by way of his physician for 5 days and if this is not remedied in that time I will be pulling him out of school to homeschool. It is ashame that the adults who are there to help are the ones doing the most harm. My grandson has not had a problem with any of his teachers, just the principal. As a matter of fact the teachers said he was a good kid.

  46. I thank you for this information it was very helpful. My question to you is what type of lawyer would I need to contact and I need all of that assistance. My 14 year old daughter was just kicked out of school for protecting herself on Friday May 15, 2015 due to a boy staring at her uncomfortably. She has a special case that the school is aware of at age 10 she was hit by a van as a pedestrian, and was diagnosed wit a tramatic brain Injury. While Mississippi has no resources to help her situation like Michigan has where the actual incident occurred she is just left without help. The principle said she had no right to pull any scissors even though she had asked to be moved away from the child and he still followed her to taunt her even more. the teacher had told him to stop but he didn’t so my child felt she needed to scare him away from her because she didn’t know what he was going to do. On another occasion with a different boy he had touched her breast, and another occasion a boy hit her and she retaliated by grabbing him by his throat, she was chastised and nothing was said to that child and it was prior to this past incident Friday. I am just tired of these little boys being protected by the schools and when my child acknowledges that someone is bothering her she can get none. I’m going through my own issues myself but my child needs my help so I know how to put my problems aside. I am in school, on section 8, receive snap benefits and receive only $70 a month for utility cost from section 8. Please email me back so I can help my child. Today she has an assessment with memorial behavioral health at 5pm just so she can return to school to take her 9 weeks test to pass to the 9th grade. I feel helpless and very angry that she is being punished for something that the teacher could have immediately stopped before it had gotten that far. I feel that after he didn’t listen to her she should have sent him to the office especially after he made it his point to follow her across the classroom, the child was being insubordinate to her which is grounds for removal.

  47. What parents need to realize is often the child they have at home is not the same at school. Educators must control behavior in the classroom in order for students to learn. Writing a students name on the board or placing them in time out encourages them to think about their behavior. Everything isn’t abuse but some teachers do exploit their power at the expense of the child’s feelings. Time out and other practices are meant to motivat and discourage undesirable behavior. Students know when they do something wrong but will continue to do it if they aren’t warned or realize there is a consequence. They should also be rewarded for commendable behavior.

    1. Hi Art. You are correct about the need for time outs. However, writing a child’s name on a board is not a time out, it is a public revelation of their inability to conform. It does not encourage introspection, it encourages self deprecation and, if its chronic and severe, self mutilation. It totally destroys an individual’s self esteem. It makes them feel bad.

      My son’s teacher did that to him once and I asked him how it made him feel. He said it made him feel bad about himself. I’m sure it is the same for all kids who are publicly shamed in similar fashion. Frankly, I don’t believe any teacher has the right to make my children “feel bad” about themselves. That is emotional assault, pure and simple, and it should be illegal because it causes long term damage to the individual, lowering productivity, causing social problems, undermining health, etc.

      You can teach/discipline children without making them feel bad themselves. It just requires a lot of time and individual attention, which is something that is hard to come by these days what with large class sizes and the skewed priorities of our modern world. We can do it, we as a society just have to learn to value our children a lot better.

      Dr. S.

  48. Dear Dr. Sosteric,

    I am having a issue with my kids private school and would love to have your advice on this matter. Let me give you some background before I tell you my issue.

    My husband passed away from cancer 3 years ago and now I am a single mother of two beautiful loving children. I have a 2 year old and a 13 year.

    Both of my children have been attending the same school since kindergarten and are doing very well under the circumstances. My 13 year old son is an honor student and is a very kind and considerate boy.

    He is now the Vice President of the school and was running for President until both positions were taken away from him as a form of punishment for what he said to a opponent. He just finished tutoring a 4th grade child and was escorting the child in the hall way when 3 girls surrounded him. Two of girls were in running for office and one was running for President like him. I will call her girl #1- she said to the child he was escorting “Vote for me for President’! The girl #2 said Vote for me for Vice President, girl #3 just listened. #1 girl said “I turned in my speech early”. #2 girl said “That is what a good president should do”. Then my son said ” Because you were unsure of your speech”. My son realized that the child he tutors wanted to escape the tension and left to exit the building and my son followed.

    Then my son was questioned by 2 teachers and was told that #1 girl went to the school teachers that were in charge of the elections because she was crying and felt hurt, paralyzed. This is what he was told by the principal. My son is not very good at expressing himself when he is confronted and gets very nervous and fumble his words, really does not remember what happen. The school teachers and principal feel that he is not telling the truth. The principle lashed out at him in private and made him to feel like a real loser and stated to my son that he damage this
    girl so much that it just made her hurt and caused her pain. The principle then said he had to be punished and suffer the consequences for his actions. So he took away the one thing that my son was looking forward to and had worked so hard to achieve…..his Vice President status and the future of running for President. My son is so devastated and beyond repair that we have seen a professional child therapist who said the punishment was “absurd”. Well report from the therapist is to follow. I have meet with the principal and because I am not in the best emotional state, I have a slow death while in his presence during our meeting because It will have such a severe impact on my sons welfare and well being. I beg for a better resolution because I am afraid how much damage this will incur on top of my sons grief. Life sucks!!!!!!

    Is pretty much what my son said. HE was a very confident, happy boy and has his plans made out to attend a very prestigious high school because of his good grades. The boy is such a pleasure to have in the classroom is always on his report cards and has never had a problem or conflict with his fellow students. If he did he would resolve them himself. Now the my sunken not bare the humiliation that awaits him when he goes back to school. Today we will meet with our school Priest and see if we can get any resolution. I am a very active volunteer in the school and everyone at the school is very supportive of us.
    I look forward to your advice.

  49. I work at an early learning center and I believe that the way the owner of the center treats the children is too harsh and controlling. She even talks about some children being smart and some are not. She treats the children as if they are soldiers and brags about how she is the “chief”. She thinks the children respect her but what I see on their faces is fear. She believes a teacher needs to push the students to learn to read and do math at the age of even three years of age. I believe in working with the child at his/her pace with patients and encouragement and building up their self esteem by focusing more on their abilities . What they don’t know , slowly introduce it . I believe young children learn through play but my boss wants them sitting still on a chair at a table reading and writing. I’m there cause I deeply care for my students and can’t give them my back and walk away.

  50. My son is being bullied very badly at school and after repeat letters and meetings with the teachers , my son is still being bullied just horrible. His coach even allows it to happen. My son is in the fourth grade and this has been going on for years. The last time my son was cornered by the buoy and punched in the back . When he got home and told me , I wrote the principal a letter stating that if he didn’t get this matter taken care of that I would have the local news investigate this situation. Well as a result of that the principal called cps on my and lied to them saying he believed my son was living in a house with no water and also physical abuse due to the fact that we had no water. For the record….. I have a waterwell so I never run out of water. I hired an attorney and the first meeting u explained to her that I believe it was the school because I threatened them with the news. Come to find out it was the school. The cos worker never showed up at my attorneys office and and have decided to close the case due to lack of evidence. My son failed school because of this. What can I due to get our lives back on track and how do I encourage my son to want to go back to school where all this evil stuff takes place and can anything be done to the principal for causing such grief to our family

    1. You need to document, document, document. You should document your sons moods, document his anxiety when he doesn’t want to go to school, document incidents, date, time, etc. Document exchanges with the principal, with the coach, and everything. You have to document damage, basically. You have to prove to a court that the treatment that your son is experiencing his causing him damage. So lowered grades, refusal to attend school, bed wetting, whatever you see as evidence. Right it down, date it, associate it with specific events if you can, and put it all in a folder. Then when you’ve documented enough evidence, go see a lawyer and see if the media will pick it up. It is no guarantee, but documentation increases your chance of legal success.

      I don’t know what you can do to get yourself and your son back on track. Sometimes schools handle it, sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately there are no accountability mechanisms, AFAIK, that allows independent observation of the activities of teachers and school authorities.

  51. Thanks for taking the time to produce this article, its very helpful for parents in distress about the trouble their little ones face.

    Is this abuse? My daughter was separated from her twin at primary school as the educational policy stated that it was better to split twins up rather than them be taught in the same class room. As a result she cried every single day she went to school. She is now in her second year at junior school, she has spent 2 yeas forming a friendship group, she is happy and doing well. However the school is now splitting up the classes so the children get used to change, mixing with their piers and preparing them for the big change when they go to senior school. She has been placed in a class with one friend and one girl who always picks on her. Her friends other ‘best’ friends have all been kept together in another class. She is absolutely distraught and a very unhappy little 9 year old.

    1. Hi Rob.

      Yes, I would consider this profoundly abusive. It is abusive because it forces an emotionally disruptive disconnection between your two daughters, and it is doubly so because it extends the separation over time, and does it in a way where your daughter’s are constantly reminded of the separation. You can see just how bad this is by simply observing your child’s distraught response. The school made your child cry over and over and over again.

      What kind of school is this? What policy did they cite to justify this action? And better why? Why is it better to separate your daughter’s.

      She is now in her second year at junior school, she has spent 2 yeas forming a friendship group, she is happy and doing well. However the school is now splitting up the classes so the children get used to change, mixing with their piers and preparing them for the big change when they go to senior school. She has been placed in a class with one friend and one girl who always picks on her. Her friends other ‘best’ friends have all been kept together in another class. She is absolutely distraught and a very unhappy little 9 year old.

      This is horrific. The school is deliberately traumatizing young children.

      Are you in a position to ask them why they think that “preparing children for change” by traumatically separating them from their attachments is a good thing? Can they point to a line in a policy document that gives them the authority to manipulate children’s emotional development in this manner? The school is harming your children,

      Attachments are critical to a child’s intellectual and emotional development. Primary attachments with parents are critical (and later, primary attachments with an intimate partner), but attachments between siblings or friends is important as well. You can search the internet for information on attachment, and what happens to people when their attachments are not secure. A good place to start is with the below article.

      or this search

      1. It isnt good to sever attachments from siblings especially if the children are already dealing with being removed from home. It can destroy the childs ability to bond and have healthy relationships in their life.

  52. Why don’t you all just pull your children out of these schools instead of cowardly hiding behind this website voicing your concerns. I know these teachers are over worked under supported and under paid and are trying there best to give everything they have for sometimes up to 25 children in the classroom, let’s see any of you handle that. Day after day teachers are being pulled on emotionally and physically by parents and students to provide different needs to multiple students. Instead of bullying teachers why not support them MORE so you can get the results that you are looking for, for your children that you care so much for in these classrooms. Parents only see there school agree children maybe 5 hours a day while teachers have the responsibilities of your children 9. If some of you had the responsibility that teachers had, you would have long committed suicide from the pressure. What is going to end up happening is there is going to arise a generation where no one wants to be a teacher and then home schooling will be the only option. Good luck 🙂

    1. Hi Abigail

      Yes, you are correct. Teachers are overworked and underpaid. They struggle with huge classrooms and don’t have the support they need to do a good job. Parents make demands, sometimes unreasonable, and this makes the teacher’s job even harder. Teachers are stuck in the middle, that’s for sure, and it is not a pleasant place to be. But this is not the child’s fault, nor is it the parents fault. I also think you are correct that parents and teachers should work together, but not in the way think. The problem is that school’s are underfunded, and schools are underfunded because the people who currently control our governments prioritize war, private profit, and ideological indoctrination over true and authentic education. This is a problem with social priorities and wealth distribution (see my Rocket Scientists Guide to Money and the Economy). We have more billionaires than ever before on this planet, yet our teachers and students are suffering under a yoke of increasing class size, and diminishing support. The AGT (America’s Got Talent) view of reality is a smokescreen for the increasing anguish and despair on the ground.

      As for bullying the teachers, I’ve heard this before. Every time a parent complains too loudly, the teacher’s call the parents a bully. It is a tried and true way of shutting the parent down. That’s not right Abigail. You can’t shut down this conversation by accusing concerned parents of being bullies. Being concerned about how my kids are treated in school does not make me a bully. Complaining about how my children are treated does not make me a bully. Demanding that teachers respect the emotional and psychological needs of my child does not make me a bully. Being upset by how teachers and administrators treat my child does not make me a bully. Of course, this doesn’t give me the right to be abusive towards teachers either. But when our children are involved, emotions run high and teachers and administrators need to acknowledge that, not try and suppress it. The best way to diffuse a parent’s anger is to listen and be accountable. If you don’t want to deal with angry parents, you listen to them.

      That said, we definitely need a dialog between parents and teachers, and between teachers and the children they teach. We need to talk openly about class sizes, government funding, and solving the problems we face. That’s a big dialog to be sure because it means shifting our priorities and putting the development of our children first, but we have to do it. If we don’t, children will continue to grow up damaged, and teachers will eventually explode under the increasingly onerous burden our politicians and corporate leaders are forcing them to bear.

      Mike Sosteric

      1. Hello Dr. S.

        Firstly, thank you for this article and your continued response to those who have posted. I applaud you for standing up for your children and demanding the best for them and from your (tax-funded) free education. That said, I am an educator myself and had a question regarding dealing with students who choose to not follow a classroom rule.

        Firstly, I’d lake to share my classroom management plan and the research that it is based on. General classroom management practice for educators is that students are taught the classroom rules and expectations the first two weeks of class, are asked to reflect on, share with, and comment on why we even have classroom rules and what the benefit to oneself, the other students in class, the teacher, and the school are to having and following these rules (Wong, Kriete & Denton). If a student decides to not follow a classroom rule and therefore puts them self in a situation where they and the other students in class cannot learn then I will let the student know the rule they have chosen not to follow in a quick private reminder that takes less than five seconds. This is done privately with the student at his/her seat or while they are with their group so as not to isolate them from their peers (ie – I don’t pull them outside of the classroom away from their peers, make them stand up in front of the class, etc) t is also stressed both at the beginning of school and when a reminder is given that this reminder is just that – a reminder of what the class expectations are for every student, and the student is in NO WAY in trouble or “wrong” or “bad”. If a student chooses to continue to engage in the same behavior for that class session the student will receive a reminder paper that marks the behavior that I am seeing and what I must do as the adult educator in charge of every students well-being and learning in the classroom. If the student feels that they need to talk to me privately at this time they may (the students are humans with real emotions and feelings and this chance to talk gives them an opportunity to share something that I may have not seen before i.e. – “Billy makes a face at me every time you’re on the other side of the room working with those students.” In which case I’d take the reminder paper back and talk with Billy about making positive choices) Again the student is NOT in trouble in any way at all. This is only a way of me letting the student know that I have continued to see them engage in a behavior that is disruptive to their own learning and the learning of their peers. If a student continues to engage in a disruptive behavior after being reminded verbally and later being handed a reminder paper and offered an opportunity to talk to me then I take the reminder paper and follow through with the action on the reminder paper. (Glasser “articles/books on Choice Theory”; Linsin, Michael “Positive Behavior Support”; Jensen, Eric “Teaching with Poverty in Mind”, “Turnaround Tools for the Teenage Brain” & Dweck, Carol “Growth Mindset”)

        I want all my students to continue to choose good supportive actions that will help them learn and contribute to our class. All that said, in your professional opinion and from a sociologists perspective, what would be an appropriate action for me to take in dealing with a student who has chosen to continue not following a classroom rule during the same class session/day?

        1. HI JD.

          Well, I guess the first thing to say is that, in my opinion anyway, a child does not “choose” to break a rule. Children naturally seek to attach to those parents and others they intuit/feel as protectors. I think its an evolutionary thing. Strong attachments to parental units (or parental type units, like teachers) has value for survival. I think if any child is “choosing” to not follow the rules, something else is going on. I think if all other avenues have been exhausted (i.e boredom or bullying in the classroom), then the attention must turn to the child’s attachments, i.e. parents. I would suspect that in most cases children who act out do so because there are issues with the quality of their attachments at home (or maybe inadequate nutrition, sleep, etc.).

          If this is the case, i.e. if a child is not following rules, acting out, or otherwise misbehaving because of attachment issues (or other issues) at home, there isn’t much that you as an individual teacher can do, especially with class sizes these days. Anything you could do would involve emotional work with the child (labour and energy intensive for you), and involvement with the parents at home. Our education system is not setup to reach back into the home to deal with family issues, and if it was, there would need to be a team of people dealing with it. No single person can fix the situation of broken/fractured/incomplete/inadequate attachments in the home. That’s such a huge problem, especially when you realize that when the child is coming to school with issues, the parents themselves very likely have major issues as well.

          This is a very general statement you know, though. Really just some things to think about. It would all depend on the severity of the child’s actions, what rule they are breaking, etc. It is risky to make general statements about specific child behaviours. Before you know what to do, you need to figure out what is motivating them. Are they modelling behaviour they see at home? Are the angry because of the neglect, disregard, and abuse of their primary attachments. Are they seeking attention as a desperate attempt to get their emotional needs med.

          I will say this though, if you punish the child in any way, you are exacerbating attachment issues they may have.

          Middle school is particularly tough. This is when kids start to act out all the bad behaviours they have learned from their parents, any attachment issues they have, etc.

          It strikes me that the approach that teachers are taught is very simplistic. You go over the rules and then reward/punish like they are dogs in a Pavolvian experiment. I don’t think that sort of simplistic approach is going to work with human children. They are just too psychologically, emotionally, and physically complex. It might present itself as an “efficient” process (but why is “efficiency” a criteria of K12 education), and probably works in most cases only because in most cases children are wired to “be good” (and not because the techniques have merit), but when child behaviour starts to really break down, fixing it requires far more that what behavioural psychology can provide.

          We really need a watershed shift here in how we view a) children, b) organize the education process, c) interface with families, and c) train and support the work of teachers.

          I think at the very minimum teachers have to realize than when children are misbehaving those children need extra attention from people with a sophisticated understanding of the human emotional systems. Who provides that extra attention, how we train them, and how it is all going to be funded, is an issue open for debate. For sure, class sizes would have to shrink dramatically, more teachers would have to be hired, and psychological and social work resources would have to be poured into the school system. It is not utopian. There is far more than enough cash floating around the world to fund the education system properly, its just being mishandled and abused (see my Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy for a grounded and simple poke at the global economic system).

          I guess ultimately what I’m saying here is a simple focus on the child is sociologically/psychologically/emotionally inadequate. I think that unless reality is changed, as a teacher you’re hooped. All you’ll be able to do is apply bandages to the problem. I imagine that would kinda take the joy and satisfaction right out of the teacher’s career.

          Anyway, does this sorta answer your question? I know this is very brief, and I’ve raised a lot of complicated issues, but it is a complicated problem


          1. Hello Dr. S.

            Firstly, thank you for your time and such a well written reply. It’s truly appreciated! I concur with many of your sentiments especially “raised a lot of complicated issues, but it is a complicated problem”. I’ve really wrestled this summer with how best to help students that struggle in school. While I feel that I do well overall, I think that you hit the “nail on the head” so to speak in that it’s not just kids making a choice, but in many ways the child acting in the way they’ve been treated and seen others treated, both at school and home. You’ve given me much to consider and continue to research. Again, thanks for your time and sharing your ideas and expertise.
            All good things,

  53. Nicely put.. and by the way I like being right :), so thank you for acknowledging that, (ijk). Dr. Sosteric you are a brilliant man, why are you just on this website and not in the public eye. What we all need is a competent leader with solutions that can pave the way for change. You sound like that guy, and fyi I will support you if you ever decide to go out on the front line. Thank you for caring about children the way you do because if I had to be honest with myself I suffered emotional and physical intimidation from a teacher when I was younger. Sometimes you can experience things that make you numb to the fact that what happened to you was wrong because you overcame the pain and damage. Something has to be done on a larger scale than just parent and teacher confrontation though, that is just a way that we become distracted from the real underlying issue. You know. . All that real smart stuff you just got finished talking about!

  54. What a fantastic article…saved it for long years to come…I have a son – 3 year old boy. Happy, bubbly, sensitive emotionally and “switched on” little man. I also have another baby on the way. I dread to send my children to school as early as 5 (my son will be just over 4 when he starts). It is far to early to put them into this pushy,competitive system and take their childhood away forever 🙁 Enough reason for me to pack my bags and leave the country. I am not English so don’t see possibility of home schooling as I would never feel confident enough to do so. My husband is English and he rather stays (the reason I am not packed yet 😉 ) but shares my worries. I can not imagine on top of early start having an abusive teacher who encourage others to damaging behavior. Children as a group can be bad enough without encouragement. I was just researching how not to let “mad schooling system” affect my son’s creativity and confidence and stop it fit him into the system. How to make him strong and confident enough to never let anyone cut his wings by dictatorship-like authorities (took me long time to stop believing what I was told as a child- all this wasted time to enjoy the way I am). That’s how I got to this article and I am very grateful for it…Thank you so much. It will make me more confident as what to do If things turn nasty for my children

  55. I am always searching for articles in an attempt to find out why this still bothers me after 40 years. Today I found your web site. I feel my trauma has words now. It was in 1973 my mother had suddenly died. I was raised in a home with lots of yelling. My father and mother never seemed to do anything together (other than run a business together) and alone they were a mixed bag of problems. My father took an interest in me. We camped and fished and took trips to see his part of the family. My mother was both good and cruel to me. She provided wonderful meals and kept a nice home, but I was beaten naked at 9 and 10 with a belt 2 twice. Once on my birthday for showing more interest in one of my gifts over the other at my party. She died several years latter and I was left with a grieving father. I had an older sister that was away at college.

    Now, at 13 and in the 9th grade I had a teacher Mr. George Carr. It was a language course and we never got past the 4 pages of the book we were discussing. It was a very odd class to me. This teacher said he could not hear me so I was asked to move-drag my desk to the front of the class and behind his. I thought I would just die that day. Each day was the same, to move my desk. It would have been easier on me just to have had a desk already there, but no. Just writing this makes me emotional and I am now 55 years old. He was also abusive in saying I never believed in Santa clause for some reason. I was asked to read to the class from up there and to speak up. Today, I dream that I would have gotten up saying “Can you hear me now” telling him I was going to the office to report him and to stop this. My classmates never heckled me because they felt bad for me. Remember this was 1973 and kids were nice then. Degradation and public humiliation. I now have words for this experience. I was still in shock over my mothers death then months latter to have this happen. I have another theory. In 7th grade I was bused out of my well to do neighborhood and into the projects. There, I met a nice boy, but his friend was not nice. He tried to touch me all the time and I reported him. This was quite a scandal and this boys’ last name was CARR. With black teachers being moved into white areas of public schools, this is how Mr. G. CARR came to teach at Coleman Jr. High in Tampa. I think there was a connection and this was sort of a pay back that this teacher inflicted on me. Damage done. He won. When it came time for my own son to attend this school, I went before the school board with my experience. They wanted nothing to do with it. My son was granted on the spot to attend a different school and I was refused any help in finding out the teaching history and where a bots of this man.

    My baggage increases with the emotional abuse by my father and multiple marriages before 25 years old. I never really did anything with my life but did finish college. The good doctors won’t accept me as a patient so I get medicated by the run of the mill variety. I have no real relationship with my only child, a grown son away at college. It’s uncomfortable to just talk to him or be alone with him. I find it hard to hug him. I am embarrassed that he, this great young man, got me as his mother. As a parent, I knew I had a lot to watch out for but I still failed. My husband has been both mother and father to him and 200% at that. I do rest easy that he has such a great father and this chain was hopefully broken.

  56. Please correct your spelling. Principle means a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
    Principal, in this context, means the person with the highest authority or most important position in an organization, institution, or group.

    1. Sigh. Thanks for that. I’ve made the edits. To everybody else writing here, “principle” is different from “principal”. Let’s try and get it right!

  57. I have been a kindergarten teacher for 23 years and am appalled at some of these posts. I believe in positive reinforcement. The more you build children up and acknowledge the things they do well, the better their self esteem. When you lift children up it creates a bond between student and teacher and they want to try their best. Yes, I have kids with behavior problems. But, if I stay positive and brag about their accomplishments, they realize we are on the same team. It takes 21 days to break a bad habit or build good habits. It’s my job to stay patient and guide my kids to those positives. We have a major gang presence and are 89% poverty. None of that matters when the door closes to room 116.

    1. HI Gigi.

      What a wonderful job you are doing. You are building attachments with your children and these attachments are forming the basis of positive behavioral change! Well done. However, I think though that how schools expect teachers to interact with students change as they go through the system. I noticed with my children that the initially warm and positive experiences of kindergarten were gradually replaced with colder, instrumental, approaches that emphasized performance uber alles. It was when the school priorities shifted from capturing children in the first couple grades, to “educating” them in later years, that teachers became less concerned with attachments. Do you think this is true? Do you think that children are treated differently as they move through the system.

      Curious, what are you specifically appalled at?

  58. I was one of the students who the teachers picked on and singled out. From what I remember, it was because I was talking when the teacher said that everyone needed to be quiet. Instead of quiet gesture or a friendly reminder, my second grade teacher made my life a living hell and turned my world upside down. She was verbally abusing me with name calling and encouraging all my peers in the class room to do the same. It was 1975, so kids were mean and cruel back then as well. This went on for the entire school year and even after that, and the bullying escalated through high school. When my second grade teacher was doing this, she would not stop after I told her to. I was under the impression that the school was aware of what was happening because this kind of thing was even happening when we would be in the hallways, and the in the cafeteria. It is really sad that with all the viable witnesses that were around, i.e. students, other teachers, the principal/assistant principal, and the cafeteria staff, not one of them stepped up for me or helped me. I played hooky for almost 1/3 of the school year because it was so unbearable. I tried to talk to my mom about it, but all she would say is “just ignore them”. I can tell you, that this method does NOT work, because when you ignore bullies, then they start kicking and hitting. I have no children of my own, but if I did, I don’t think that I would be sending them to any public school system. I am for recording and having surveillance in an environment and classrooms because of my experience with bullying. It may be that these bullies are so sociopathic that they do not see what they are doing, and the video and audio recording may be the way to show them what they are doing. I have to wonder if the bullying is one of the reasons why the public schools where I live are such a mess. Bullying is an unforgiveable act and behavior. When impressionable children are bullied, their trust level is so low that they don’t know who they turn to, and are not as likely to share anything that happens in their lives. I also believe that bullying can cause even racial prejudices. It may not be for all, but for some. I only say this because my second grade teacher who was a bully was black. At that time, I had not been around that many black people, and one of the first black persons I knew was mean and evil; not a good impression. Also, their sympathy level for others might not be as great as it could be.

  59. Let me start by saying this is an important discussion that deserves more attention. I am an educator; i work at an inner city high school in a large city with a 99% free and reduced lunch status and over a third of the student population is identified as in a homeless or highly mobile situation (many more if you count those not reported or identified) we have all the spectrum of special ed students and offer a vast array of services to students ie: therapists psychologists counselors aides educational assistants etc. We try to support each students’ individual learning by working together as a team to support student. My specific role is a student dean/behavior specialist/student advocate. My suggestion is to approach the teacher and ask for a conference to work together to support the student. iNCLUDE the student – his or her input matters. I try to build a relationship with each student based on trust. When the student, parent/guardian and staff support and trust each other it sets up a great support system. Work with the teacher as a team! I cannot stress this enough. Come up with specific interventions to support the student together; something that meets the classroom expectations. Ask the teacher for a copy of his or her classroom expectations – get specific answers to interventions and consequences before any incidents occur. (which i understand this all sounds great but may not happen in all schools). Sadly, i see this a lot. Students feel targeted and bullied by teachers and teachers feel the student is disruptive and the cycle continues. My goal is to advocate for the student- request a formal mediation with the teacher and be present to document and let your child and the teacher voice their views. Mediation have worked wonders. What I’m getting at is as best as possible, approach it as a team effort. If your child is in elementary and more likely has one primary teacher, include the gym teacher, art teacher, librarian, aides, lunchroom staff etc. You are not alone! Keep bringing up your concerns in writing with the team… Be specific. Leave the meeting w documented plan: if student A is tired, and might sleep in class (thus give the appearance of not meeting class expectation of _________ he she will request a pass to health office to nap. Student is expected to make up any work, teacher should communicate w parent weekly so parent can know the scope of the tiredness. Team will meet in 2 weeks to discuss intervention) please advocate for your child! We strive to have high expectations for every member of our school community..parent guardian, staff, students. our future generations depends on us!

  60. My son is not making his paces and became very lazy with his work this year his teacher take him away from his office and put him at the back of the classroom where his classmates cannot see him because he is distructing his classmates according to the teacher, and another incident was the teacher texted me one day telling me that my son is not doing his paces again and that she had done all her part already that all kinds of motivation were done but my son wont still obey her and she’ll just send my son home with a question.i for one as a mother was hurt how come she could make suggestion or think to send my son home?

  61. Without excusing actual abuse, it’s worth noting that many kids are being brought up in an atmosphere that doesn’t allow them to fail, and thus turns every correction experience into a feeling of abuse. Having consequences, even public ones, for wrongdoing is good both for the student and for those who see it. If kids don’t want consequences, then they should not do what’s wrong. The probably is like, first and foremost, a home problem where children are not taught basic respect and honor for others. They are usually given their own way, and disobedience is met with nothing more than a conversation.

    It is better to stop protecting the wrongdoer, even if the teacher might handle it in a better way. Remember, your child is not the only one in the class. The teacher has to worry about the effects on others as well.

    1. HI LT.

      You are raising a lot of points in your short comment. I think consequences are fine, but they should be reasonable, appropriate, and respectful. I also think that you can’t just blame the child. Kids learn respect and honor for others when it is modelled to them. When we respect our kids, when we honor their feelings, when we listen to what they say, when we don’t abuse them, when we don’t insult them, cut them down, make them feel bad or stupid, then they learn to treat others that way. OTOH, if we disrespect our kids, they turn around and they treat others exactly the way we treat them. So if kids are displaying lack of respect in schools, it is almost certainly because one or more of the significant adults in their life have already treated them with some level of violence and disrespect.

      I know this is true. I am constantly amazed at how my kids act towards each other in exactly the way I act towards them. Can’t say I’m 100 percent proud of the way I’ve treated my kids over the years, but then I’m human and I make mistakes. Nevertheless, I see my actions (both good and bad) reflected in the way they act (or act out, as the case may be). They are little mirrors of the way they I treated them. If kids are misbehaving, acting out, bullying, being violent, being disrespectful, or whatever, the problem is not just them. Children (and people) NEVER act in isolation from the reality they live in, and it is a big pedagogical error to think that they do. People act the way they do because of the world/reality that they inhabit. If you want to change their behavior, “simply” change their reality (ya I know how impossible that probably seems).

      If kids are not behaving in class, it is a problem; but, the kids are not exclusively (or even primarily, I feel) to blame. Having public consequences for things that are totally out of their control (like how they are being treated at home), is not fair, and not respectful, IMHO.


  62. Many thanks, for raising such a topic.

    It is very touching indeed. There was a paper that was written with regards to children abuse, I have highlighted some few important facts below for your perusal….its main concern was more about what and how us, as parents indirectly abuse our kids by simple ignoring them.

    This is a very interesting link, and very much profound stipulated about what happen within the class environment but my interest and fear is the abuse that happens in the home front.

    How Ignoring Your Child Affects Confidence

    When you continuously ignore your child, his confidence and self-esteem suffer, according to the Children’s Physician Network. Your lack of interest, affection and displays of love might make him feel that he is not worthy. He might begin to feel that nothing he does is good enough, which could cause him to believe that he is not good enough.

    How Ignoring Your Child Affects Behaviour

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are ignored by their parents tend to behave more aggressively than children who receive plenty of attention from mom and dad. If you spend more time ignoring your kids than you do playing with them, talking to them and acknowledging them, they might show their anger by throwing objects, hitting others, yelling and behaving with an overall aggressive demeanor.

    How Ignoring Your Child Affects His Future

    Children who are ignored by their parents are emotionally abused, and emotionally abused children are more likely to turn to drugs, alcohol or even suicide, according to the Children’s Physician Network. Additionally, ignoring your child can affect his ability to form lasting, healthy relationships with his peers, his extended family and his future spouse. He might be withdrawn and be prone to using illegal substances even as a young child as a coping mechanism.

    Other Ways Ignoring Your Child Affects Him Negatively

    Subjecting your child to the emotional abuse known as ignoring can cause your child to suffer from learning disabilities or prolonged negative habits such as bed-wetting or soiling her pants even though she is potty-trained, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When you ignore your child routinely, chances of your child developing some sort of learning disability or oppositional behavior disorder increases.

    These points have tough me so much, I am more vigilant…

    With kind regards
    Smangele Shange

    1. Hello everyone,
      my daughter and I are currently going thru a really sad situation. she is in 6th grade in a school for the deaf due to her deafness, she barely started at this new school and the transition was going fine until this past Friday as I notice something wrong with her at dinner time, she said she wasn’t hungry and looked sad, I thought she had a long week and was tired. later on we were having a conversation and I asked her why she looked sad and told me what her new teacher made her feel uncomfortable and sad because when she was in social skills class and that her teacher said that people that are not born in the united states are not allowed to work or go to school and my daughter said well I wasn’t born here I was born abroad, then the teacher asked her what color was her passport at what my daughter answered blue because I have an American passport. my daughter asked me if her teacher was right if she was gonna be able to work what she becomes an adult. I know her teacher was wrong to ask my daughter that but I feel really offended by the teachers attitude. All I need is an advice in how to approach her teacher and if someone things that her teacher was being unprofessional. I am speechless I don’t know what to do I am scared she will continue to bully my daughter. please help, I do not know what to do!

  63. My daughter was bullied in high school. Tormented by those she thought were her friends. She now is an angry child and I am worried about who she has become and who she will turn out to be. We don’t have a close relationship and she is very distant. She told be about her friends not including her in certain events or outings. They even included her boyfriend and somehow got him to obey their every command. He eventually broke up with her because of it all. They would hurt her during school and away from school. They would ignore her every time she was around them and they would pretend like her life didn’t matter. They would never listen to her when she would even sit with them at lunch. They would interrupt her even if she was talking to someone to start their own conversation. She got her car egged even her senior year. She was so kind and vulnerable. One time they even wrote she was a bitch inside a bathroom stall in the girl’s bathroom. She went to the counselor who went to the principle, but nothing changed. They would say she’s crazy with and without teachers around. The teachers never talked to the students because they were the “good” students. What I have learned is that anyone can be a bully. Especially the nice ones. But now my daughter hates everyone is always negative towards herself. She is doing poorly now in college and it has become very hard for her to make new friends. She is even getting distant with her best friend. Emotional bullying seems ver severe because it lasts a life time. It isn’t something that should be allowed. The parents of those who are bullying should be talked to. Did i mention two of the parents worked at the school and another parent was on the school board?! What kind of school allows this kind of behavior. I was very unimpressed and I wouldn’t suggest this school to anyone.

  64. Hello Dr.
    I have a quick question, what I can do 4 my 5 year old son when he is being accused of saying bad words when he doesn’t know these bad words, I know he doesn’t bc bad words 4 him is stupid and shut up, these two r really big bag words in my house and when someone says them, my kids run to me to let me know. So yesterday I say 1 of the “bad words” that the school said my son said in class and my son didn’t react to it, say anything, he just kept playing, why because he doesn’t event know that word. In the past if I say a bad word -stupid, he had run to my husband to tell on me. I don’t believe this acusations against my son, but I really believe is more a racial problem. A cording 2 his white teacher he is doing great, but a cording to his black teacher he is always in trouble. This is a constant problem, can you please advise me on what to do. Thk u!

    1. I personally wouldn’t worry about. Just tell the teacher you’ll talk to him and let it go. You might also tell the teacher your son is generally quite avoidant when it comes to cuss words (mine is too).

      I had a situation like this come up years ago with my daughter. My daughter had just done a WISC assessment and in that assessment the school psychologist had written that my daughter had been using bad words in class. The psychologist had actually written in her report that my wife had reported to her in a phone interview that my daughter was using cuss words a lot. I couldn’t believe it when I read it because my daughter just never used those words. When I asked my wife, she said that she had never even talked to the psychologist and never said that about Vayda. When I pressed the district psychologists, she admitted that it was actually the teacher who said that my wife had said that. I was totally shocked. When I asked the teacher she admitted that she had heard my daughter say a really minor swear (something like “shit”) ONCE on the playground. Yet here was the psychologists suggesting my daughter had major potty mouth. The psychologists basically LIED on the assessment of my daughter, constructing an image of her as a problem based on what her teacher had said. It was bad enough that the teacher only had one instance to refer to, it was worse that she added weight to her “assessment” by suggesting (lying) that my wife had been the one to report it. I cannot tell you how horrified I was by this. And it got worse! When I complained to the Alberta Psychological Association (CAP) they totally protected this incompetent psychologist! I can tell you as someone with experience in sociometrics that her methodology wasn’t just flawed, it was criminal. No registered psychologist should ever be caught putting words into parent’s mouths like that. Even worse was that the professional association in the province protected her incompetence rather than my daughter’s emotional and mental health. To this day I still shake my head at the brutal incompetence displayed by the psychological professionals involved.

      I should note that I absolutely don’t blame the teacher. It is the job of the highly paid psychologist in this instance to control for misperception, miscommunication, and forms of observer bias.

  65. I need help and not sure what to do. My son is in 3rd grade and this is his 4th week of school. Each week a teacher’s helper comes in the class and takes kids in small groups and does various activities with them. This man, each week, has told my son he was slow. He asked my son what he wanted to be when he grew up and my son replied, “a military war scientist.” This paraprofessional said, “yeah, right you’re too slow. You will be scratching your head and the army will leave you behind.” Then the next week, he again asked my son, in front of his peers, if he was still planning on being a war scientist. My son, Daniel, said yes. This man asked him if he was still “slow” and Daniel said he wasn’t slow and that he even drew blueprints of rocket boosters. This man pulled out his smartphone, pulled up pictures of rocket boosters and said, did your blueprints look like this? When my 8 year old started to point out the similarities of the cell phone pics and his drawing, this paraprofessional got mad and told him to “go sit down kid, you have a lot to learn.” You would think that was it. However, every time this man passes my son in the hall, he says “hey military war scientist.” Kids are now laughing and doing the same when they see my son. What the hell happened to building, encouraging a child’s dream. Not only is he snubbing out my son’s dreams, he is making my son hate going to school. We met with the teacher and principal today and it was a joke. This man wasn’t even there but he wrote a statement explaining his actions. He was trying to demonstrate that working in groups and working quickly was important.. Lame excuse and it doesn’t excuse, at least not to me, what transpired. I now feel like my son has a target on his back. That being said, the principal has not cared for my husband and I because my son was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes and they have not had a child in their school with this disease. We have had to make the school system make some adjustments to keep Daniel safe and that has meant going up against the principal on a few occasions. I even had to provide a copy of what my son’s rights were under the ADA to make her aware of the violations within her school. So here we are now and I feel he is a target. My son is very bright, tested at 97% statewide. He is now questioning me if he is slow and does this paraprofessional mean slow moving or slow in the head. What can I do now? I am not happy that nothing is being done. I cannot afford to take him out of the school system and pay tuition. A good reason for vouchers. I am thinking I need to contact an attorney because I want this form of bullying to stop. Ideas of where to turn next?

    1. If you have the ability, simply stop sending your son to school. Let the school know that until they do something about the abusive paraprofessional, your son will not be attending their school. If they threaten truancy action, tell them to bring it on. Tell them you’ll be happy to explain to a judge, the police, and everybody who cares to listen what the school is allowing to happen.

      Do you have the ability to stop sending your child to school for a time? He really is better off staying home since the damage that his school is doing will remain with him for many years.

  66. This article was exactly what I needed to read! Very well written. I fear my son is being emotionally abused by his teachers for a couple of years now. The more my husband and I bring it up to the teacher the worse it seems to get for our son. We have even changed schools. We fear our sons transcripts are tainted with negative remarks about my husband and l. It seems we are losing our credibility along the way.All because we speak up about the unfair treatment. The negitive remarks made toward our son is taking its toll on him emotionally! I just know god landed me hear to read this very informative article. Because my husband and I are at wits end. So tired of the battle for fairness! Thank you so much writing this material!

  67. I happened to come across this article tonight after doing a general Google search of what to do when your child isn’t liked at school. It was the first article that popped up and it was exactly what I needed to see. My son has been having behavior problems at school the last couple of weeks, this I only found out after the teacher decided to tell me 2 weeks ago that she has moved my son’s desk twice. Her complaints are that he is disruptive, doesn’t respect the learning environment etc. She said she has had him sit in front of the class on the floor because he was messing with his desk and she does single him out by stopping the lesson to chastise him in front of the class. Today we had a meeting with her and the assistant principal and it came out that over the last 2 weeks my son has been tattling on the other kids and the other kids are not wanting to be his partner and are pulling away from him. This to me was a red flag, I tried explaining that there have been several times where my son has come home and said he has gotten in trouble for something that another child was doing as well but the other child didn’t get in trouble. Of course it’s chalked up to “well some people get caught and others don’t.” While I still am working with my son to be a leader and that because one person is doing something it doesn’t mean that he should be doing it I firmly believe the teacher is singling him out now and the other kids are picking up on it. My plan now is to take this article back to the vice principal, the counselor and the school psychologist so that I can articulate what I was trying to articulate with the teacher today. I felt like this is what has been going on but couldn’t articulate it well enough. Thank you.

    1. I’m really sorry, but I am a teacher and if your sons teacher is having to move your child’s desk, then he is obviously doing something! I am going to tell you what the teacher probably wishes she could… Of course your child says that it wasn’t him. He is a CHILD!! Your kid is playing you like a fool and you are falling for it hook, line, and sinker. We have better things to do than make up lies about our students and call their parents on our free time! You and your child will suffer for your lack of holding him accountable in the long run. On a side note: word will spread about you quickly because by going to extremes you are going to be “that mom” and I guarantee the teachers will be crossing their fingers that they don’t get your kid in their class. The kid that is bad as hell at school but his mother swears he does no wrong!! If you don’t like the way the teacher does it then homeschool him

      1. This is actually kinda a frightening comment to come from a teacher. You know nothing about the situation except what you read above. You do not know the classroom situation, the teacher, the situation at home, classroom demographics, or anything, yet you jump to horrific conclusions about the boy and the mom. You even reveal, and parents reading, pay attention to this, how teachers will “talk” about this mom and “spread the word” that it is this mother that is the problem. This mother will get a “reputation” because you and other teachers will talk behind her back and actively UNDERMINE her and her child. You are revealing for the world the subtle and toxic ways teachers avoid dealing with the issues in themselves, and their classrooms, by shifting the blame onto parents and righteously judging them away.

        It is this sort of quick and callous prejudgment of the situation that gives teachers a bad name, and makes it very difficult for parents and teachers to work together amicably. Jane, you make no effort at all to figure out what is going wrong. You just slam a righteous judgment down without the slightest attempt to dig a little deeper. If this was my child and you were his teacher, I would be very angry with you right now and I would be talking to principals, school superintendents, and anybody else that would listen. I would be speaking about your quick prejudgment, your inability to analyze and assess the situation, the vindictive social tactics you use to silence parents, and probably a lot of other stuff. I would raise a lot of stink, and that would be unfortunate because all the drama and all the anger and all the strife, while it might work to get you away from child, isn’t the best way to handle things. But when teachers like you step in to stir the pot, making a lot of noise is often the only way to be heard above these sorts of manipulative and divisive tactics.

        Kids act out for reasons. Sure, it is very important to hold children accountable, but the same goes for adults. I can give you many examples from my own childhood how I was picked on by teachers because of the assumption they made about me and my class. I didn’t act out, I just skipped school. In fact, my school experience was so bad that I skipped school in grade one! I used to wander the streets in the dead of winter because I feared my grade one teacher so much. OF course, the teachers and the principal blamed me and my single parent mother for raising a bad kid, but really it was an abusive grade one teacher that was the problem. I’m not the only child to hate school because teachers can be mean and cruel. Just ask any LGBQT child that does not fit inside the binary gender box that our society imposes. These kids are often tortured by parents, teachers, principals, and their peers.

        I’ve known some absolutely great teachers over the years, both as an adult and a child. In fact, I can trace my success in university to kind and pedagogically sophisticated acts of a single university English prof., but I’ve also known some horrifically mean spirited and violent ones. I have to ask myself how these mean spirited and violent ones get away with being like that, and your response here is a terrific example of how they get away with their abuse. Bad teachers actively work to construct social reality in a way that diverts attention and blames the victims. All they (all you) have to do is “talk” and “spread the world” and blame and point fingers. You actively undermine the parent by painting the parent and child as a “problem”. You take no account of the situation at all, ask no questions to find out what the real issues at all, and work hard to shift the blame and attention away. If teachers like you can convince all your colleagues that the parent and child are the ones with the issues, then attention is diverted, investigation is halted, parent and child have been silenced, and life goes on as usual. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this sort of thing protect abusive teachers. Everything from psychological torture to sexual abuse has been brushed under the rug by people like you engaged in socially manipulative practices like the kind you reveal here. Frankly, I think it is time we (parents and teachers) all learned to recognize this for what it is, and that we all work to put a stop to it once and for all. Enough of our children have suffered.

        1. Tell me how many years you have taught elementary school again? I love how you rant and go on and on, quite frankly sir you telling me how I should do my job is laughable. It would be comparable to me telling a surgeon how to perform surgery. We are teachers we love our students and work our buys off for them and you! It is not my job to raise your child, ignorant people like you who have never treached through the inner workings of a school system, give parents a ridiculous entitlement. Has it ever occurred to you that these parents could be delusional??? Could it ever be there lack of parenting?? I appreciate also how you denied my comment about you on here to be posted, yet you speak so freely vomiting your own warped opinion and limiting the voices of others…I challenge you to do my job for one year, your viewpoint would be different. Honestly I doubt you would successfully survive one day!

          1. Jane, I’m not the one that is ranting, you are. And yes, it has occurred to me that parenting is sometimes and issue. Yes, I understand that sometimes parents can be monsters as well. And no, I would not want to do your job. I realize how hard it is, and how toxic the environment can be, and I’ve seen the desiccated and bitter human shells that sometimes result from thirty years of teaching in a toxic system. But bad teachers are also an issue, as is bullying the classroom, as is violence in the home, as is rampant sexual abuse. It is not a simple issue.

            Your anger and hostility are palpable, Jane, feeding through this short exchange like a razor. I would hate to be a parent on the other side of this negativity and I would advise any parents who are to use recording devices, letter campaigns, and any other democratic means at their disposal to find ways to stop this. I can understand why you are frustrated with parents, but I’ll say it again, your hostility and knee jerk reactions are counterproductive. Your analysis of the problems is one-dimensional. Your “solution” to the problem, which is to talk behind a parents back, attack parents in this discussion, and undermine them within the school system, is toxic and destructive at a deep level.

            You know, it is not just parents and children who suffer within the boundaries of this terribly broken educational system. Teachers are threatened as well. California has recently revoked tenure for teachers (, thus setting the stage for a nationwide attack on teacher autonomy (such as it is) and job security. And while I agree, as Joshua Pechthalt says in the article, that the anti-teacher rhetoric is “set out to scapegoat teachers for the real problems that exist in public education”, your approach only feeds the agenda and fuels the fire. Your approach undermines parents, students, and even your own colleagues and job security.

            To any parents reading this you have to understand, often behavioral problems start in the home. If you are a teacher reading this you have to understand, often behavioral problems start (or are exacerbated) in classrooms. Since both parents and teachers are “front line” agents of socialization, it behooves them to find ways to openly discuss issues and actively search for solutions. If you are a parent where neglect, violence in the home, or toxic parenting is an issue, get the help you need to fix the problems you have. If you are a teacher and you are picking on students or parents, engaging in subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) acts of hostility, or witnessing bullying and violence from other students are parents, take action to stop. It is not about you, it is about the children in your care.

            And finally Jane, calling me an idiot is emotionally and psychologically abusive. It is a violent and bullying act that tells the readers more about your emotional state and your inability to deal with challenge than it does about my analysis. I really hope that you don’t display similar bullying behavior towards the children you have been charged to educate and protect and if you do, I really think you should consider a career change to avoid any further damage. Frankly Jane, I think you need to step back and reflect on what has brought you to the point where you feel it is OK to hurl hateful names across cyberspace in this mean and insensitive fashion.

  68. Thank you for this article and the specific suggestions that parents should not tolerate it!
    I was talking to another parent yesterday, and she told of kids coming home from kindergarten in tears, reversion to early problems like bedwetting, anxiety, and fear of being in school. I’m not a psychologist, but these seem to be classic signs of abuse! Other kids in the same school seem to accept what’s going on more easily, although the anxiety may still be there below the surface.
    As far as I could tell, there has been no shaming or abuse, just a new emphasis on academics & drills — and a clear message that doing well on tests is expected and the kids must perform accordingly.
    This is kindergarten, so I’m sure the other grades are even worse.
    Do you see a lot of these less specific, less overt environments like this? Do you know of any research or responsible commentary out there on the effects of these environments [both short- and long-term]?

  69. I have been treated like this by teachers who thought I was the problem instead of dealing with the bullies. The ‘you brought it on yourself’ attitude these teachers and authority figures have on students and children who need help instead of scorn needs to stop. Even worse, putting a kid who truly needs help by isolating them from regular society won’t do anything to help them. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for a long time because of it.

    But I learned they were wrong to do so. One teacher caused me to give up acting after she didn’t bother to help me after I tried to prove to her I belonged there by working backstage. I didn’t get onstage again for over ten years because I was too afraid I would be discouraged, but I ended up with a speaking role my first time back and even performed with a popular Ren Faire. If I kept thinking she was right, I wouldn’t have started to get some of my self confidence back! There will always be good people around, and there need to be more in schools.

  70. Interesting disscussions and comments about a very important subject, something I have been reading and thinking about for the past 3 years since my son started to hate school and had a mental breakdown as a result of the schoolclimate and their treatment if him. Great article which puts into words what many will feel but can’t find the words for , or sometimes even imagine that these things really happen in schools and are very harmful. A great book on the subject is ‘Schooling as violence’ by Professor Clive Harber and also anything written by Alfie Kohn, one of the great advocates for children. Both my children have been home educated for periods of time, during which they recovered from their ordeals. They are now both back in school but it’s their choice, and I am on their side at all times, I totally agree that if they are unhappy the best thing to do is to pull them out of school.

  71. I am from a small community and people were discussing comments made on social media, a principal had participated in making fun of a parent that has four children attending the school which she should be a role model. Sad to think how this children must feel that this principal is expressing her personal feelings about their mother. I ask the Mother why don’t you remove your children and she believes because this school is not as successful as the other schools in our area she feels having her children in this school so long they may fail if removed. Sad to say it is on tribal land and nothing has been done
    Thank God my children do not attend this school.

  72. Great article. I wish that they had stricter rules when I was in school. All of the above applied to me because anytime a teacher would discipline, she would do it in front of the entire classroom, and then the classroom would turn on me. It started in Kindergarten; my teacher singled me out. I was teased pretty badly. Then, in second grade, it was ever worse. I played hooky for almost a third of the school year because the bullying was so bad! The bullying never went away. It gave me a bad impression of people and made me feel bad about myself. And my own family never stepped up or defended me. I am all for using recording devices to document what happens in a classroom. If they allowed tape recorders back in my school days, I would have been recording it everyday. If they would have had social media back then, I would have posted about how the teaches would act towards the students and how they would treat them. If the teacher files a lawsuit, guess what, then I have a lawsuit to file as well.

  73. My son had some behavioral problems and his desk was moved from the rest of the students. He has been by himself for two months. Should I demand my son be moved back with class? After reading this and ohio guild lines on this sort of thing I feel I should. Andrea

    1. When you say your son is “by himself”, what do you mean. Is he in a corner of the classroom, has he been moved to solitary confinement? Also, what where his “behavioural problems”. And, who made the decision to move him. Was it just the teacher or was the principal involved?

  74. My son has a classmate who has been picked on by the teacher and teacher’s aide, the classmates mother took her out of his class and now has been hearing the teachers aide call his classmate a “brat” and made her walk for recess, and then told the classmates mother of the incidents. This classmates mother also works at my children’s daycare and contacted me to ask me if I’m okay with letting son be a witness if needed due to her trying to settle this problem with the school. I told her I’d rather not have my son involved, my question is, is it best that I just tell my son to mind his own business. I know he told the mother because he is concerned and knows it was wrong for the teachers aide to say mean things.

    1. Hi Patrisha, thanks for reaching out.

      Let me ask you this. If your son was being bullied by a person in authority and you asked other parents for support and they told you they’d rather mind their own business, what would that do to you emotionally and psychologically? How would you feel for your child who would have to suffer the abuse because nobody was standing up with him? How do you think your child would feel, and what would he think, knowing that nobody around is going to do anything about it? What happens to your son after a year, five years, or ten years of abuse? At what point does he give up trying to fight? At what point might he start to cut himself, or act out his frustration (and rage if it goes on for years) against others, or even consider suicide, just to get away from a life where he is helpless against the assault, and where nobody does anything to help? I can’t imagine it would turn out very good for you or your son. You’d both end up depressed as a result.

      Or consider this. Your son knows something is wrong and wants to help. If you silence your son by telling him to mind his own business, what message are you sending him? Are you telling him to not stand up for those who need help? Are you saying that helping his friends is not his business? Are you telling him to not follow his conscious and not act when he knows something is wrong? Do you want to train your child to stand by while others are suffering? And if you do, what do you think the impact of that is going to be, from an emotional perspective. What will it do to your son to go to school every day, watch somebody he cares about get picked on, and not be able to do anything about it? Will he feel anxious or confused? Will he waste energy that he should be putting towards school worrying about his friend? Might watching his friend get abused by authority figures not lead him to develop issues with authority figures? Might he learn to not like teachers? Might he act out in class? If years later a classmate commits suicide, will he feel guilt at his failure to act? Might there be other unintended consequences?

      I know it can be difficult in these situations, but I personally think you should stand by your son’s initial impulse to stand up and do the right thing. I think it is far easier and wiser to nip this in the bud. If you don’t, everybody (including the perpetrator) loses. It is true right? Even the perpetrator is suffering here. People pick on kids because they are hurt and powerless in their own life. Somebody needs to intervene, stop this person’s abuse, and encourage them to get the help and the counselling they need.
      In situations like this, one voice is nothing but two brings instant power.
      Having said all that, I know that these situations can be complex so let me ask you, is there any reason why you would fear your son being a witness to the abuse?

  75. Hi Dr. S

    My daughter has been emotionally bullied in her school for a while now and I have gone to speak to the principal about the incidents in confidence and she promised she will look into it and handle it properly. At some point it aggravated to physical where a co classmate poured water on her head because she showed concern about the girl pouring water over another boy.

    Now, the recent incident has left me so shattered that I cannot go to office because my daughter and some other kids saw a teacher forcing a year R (4-5 years old) to eat up some food the child spat out of her mouth (some food ( Bolus) the girl had chewed up with lots of saliva for a long time through out their lunch time and up until after lunch time). So when she spat it out, the teacher used her hand to hold the child’s hand to collect the bolus from the child’s mouth and then forced the child to start eating it back and swallow it all. She made a statement to the child this Bolus is an unpleasant sight for everyone to see, and forced her to eat it all back. All these happened while the child was isolated and asked to stand by a wall and crying where all children passing by the hallway saw her and the teacher.

    On seeing this incident, some children started telling each other what happened and then this spread to the parents and it came back from a parent to the principal.

    On the resumption back to school, the teacher called the year 5 and 6 to an assembly and said what they saw was just some food spat out by the child and she forced her to eat it and that it was not a vomit as the kids thought. After which she asked them to put up their hands to tell her those that went home to speak to their parents about it. 2 kids raised up their hands and afterwards the assembly was dispatched.

    My daughter who was one of those kids that witnessed it and told some of few friends came back to the teacher and told the teacher that she is sorry if what they girl spat out was not called vomit as she explained , that she did not tell her parents but yes, she told few of her friends and that she is sorry. She thought as we tell her at home that she should always say the truth and that was what she was doing.

    Few hours later, the principal went to my daughter’s class and started shouting at my daughter and said she needed to have told an adult instead of saying it to her friends, that she was a disappointment and disgrace to the school and stripped her off all her prefectship and chorister badge. Worsening it all, she mentioned during this outburst the confidentiality of my visit to her sometime ago about my daughter being emotionally and physically bullied by her peers.

    She made so much public display of anger and humiliation towards her that she was crying up until closing time and even other students in other junior classes to her heard everything and the whole school were talking about it. To the extent that even her younger brother was already told about the disgrace before the sister came out to tell him herself after school.

    The most annoying part is, I was wondering that yes we get that she could have told an adult about it like every other child too that spoke about it. But as an adult she is failing to see the health hazard here of the teacher’ action and was focusing on trivial matter which can be resolved by amicable subtle tone of reassuring my 10 year old daughter that she can trust the adults in the school to talk to them if such a disgusting and worrying incident of a crying child eating being forced to eat the Bolus from her hands ever repeats itself again or any other similar incident of that nature.

    Please can you advise me on what to do as I plan to go into the school and speak to the principal and then if I do not get a good response from her I plan to pursuit this via a private lawyer or government bodies as applicable as I do not want another child to be subjected to such humiliation.

    1. Mag, all I can say is WTF!

      My gut instinct here is that you should gather yourself, the parent of the child who was assaulted, your child, and any one else willing, go to the police, and ask that the teacher be charged with assault. It might help to get a lawyer involved, even briefly. The lawyer can help provide you with legal advice on what charges would be appropriate. I think in this process you should all sit down and write an affidavit. You need to be very clear that what your child witnesses was ASSAULT. There was physical assault of the child when they were forced to eat vomit, and there was verbal assault perpetrated by the principal and directed at your daughter.

      I would also recommend you DO NOT meet with the principal in person. Instead, put anything you have to say in a well written and edited email. The email should probably say you view the teacher’s actions as physical assault, and the principal’s actions as verbal assault. I wouldn’t threaten legal action at this point, but be very clear that you feel the law has been broken (again, talking to a laywer to get appropriate case law would be very helpful here).

      When you have completed the email, send that email to the teacher, the principal, and the principals’ immediate supervisor (school superintendant or whatever). You can find contact informatino for the “higher ups” by simply phoning the school secretary.

      Keep a file with the initial email, and any additional responses you might get. Do not tell the principal you are keeping a file. Make sure ALL correspondence with the school is in written form form here on in. In situations like this, going into the school is often just a way to avoid constructing a public, and action, record of behaviour.

      Does this help? If you pursue this, let us know how it goes.

      1. Thanks so much for the advice.
        It is just too worrying for me especially around the lack of knowledge of the impact some people’s actions can have on the children.

        1. I hear ya.

          If people knew the long term consequences of the assault and abuse of children, I believe they wouldn’t do it. For that reason its very important to talk about this.

  76. I am a teacher…but I don’t want to be “that” teacher. I have always had good respect and rapport with my students and their parents. With that being said, I am having the worst school year of my life. I teach in an elementary school and I feel bullied by one parent and child. The child tells me I’m mean every time I give an assignment they don’t want to do. This disrupts the class so I ask the child to meet me outside the classroom so we can have a private discussion. It’s never my intention to single out a student, I believe the this child singles out them-self. Clearly the child wants attention but this is negative attention. I catch students being good to try and get away from the negative. The parent doesn’t like anything that I’ve tried. I’m feeling very defeated.

    P.s. This child will seek me out on the playground and be very chatty and happy….but things change when work is involved.

    1. Hi Ginger.

      I’m sorry to here you are having difficulties with this child. Can I ask, what grade are we talking? And, is is there any pattern to the assignments the child refuses that you can discern? Maybe there is a learning disability or something else involved, and looking for a pattern might reveal that.

      What sorts of things have you tried?

      1. I have a very similar situation. The child does not like Math, so he behaves badly to get out of doing it. I spend a lot of time during Math trying to keep him on task. It also happens during Reading. He wants to do anything except Read (go to the bathroom, get a drink, sharpen his pencil, get out of his seat and talk to a friend). When I tell him that he must do his work, he tells me I’m mean. Your article has me very anxious, since I know that I do publicly discipline him constantly. It’s not that I want to humiliate him. I just want him to understand that when he is in school he has to follow directions. We have a behavior plan for him and he gets praise and rewards if he meets his goals. The problem is that he is not meeting the goals. I’m at my wits’ end. The parent is angry with the school because she gets too many phone calls about the child.

  77. My 6 year old daughter has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. When this was brought to her schools attention they started treating her differently. They would correct her harshly in front of the other students and exclude her from class activities. I spoke with the principal about this and his response floored me. He explained that he stood behind his teachers action and was the one who informed her to use what ever means necessary to “control” my child. Then he bluntly looked at me and said my child was nothing but a little witch! If this is the way they speak to me I can only imagine what they say to her.
    So as a Mom I am doing the only thing I know how to do. And that is to fight for my child. I am the first to admit she can be a handful but this response from people that I entrust her with scares me so much. My daughter is highly intelligent and gets bored easily with the schools assignments. They know this but will not put the extra time in to make her lessons more complicated. Instead they expect a child with ADHD to sit still waiting on her classmates to finish.
    I am currently sitting at my local Board of Education trying to get some response to my concerns.

  78. Thank you so much for this article. My child is a quiet reserved kid and seems to have become the ‘class example’. She is punished for not comprehending and for things not in her control. It is like a public shaming. And the teachers response is that my kid is disruptive. My child is not. In fact there are days when she does not say a word. I’m at wits end and have decided it is time to ‘tattle’ on the teacher to the principal. I plan to print this and take it in for her to read.

  79. I have a 6 year old daughter whos school takes them on trips with no concent and shout at her and threaten her not to tell anyone that she tought the teacher swore at her friend my daughter came out of school crying and scared is this not classed s neglect and abuse? this teacher also pulls other kids by the arms and shouts at them all help please school just back one and other up

  80. Hello,
    This is going on SO much more than any parent could possibly imagine. It’s a dangerous game these adults are playing with our children. For the life of me , I can not understand WHY there is not a law against this behavior. I see you put solutions…. Give up, take your child out of the public school system. A system that is paid for by our tax money. I see what you are writing, but really? Get out? Give up? Just save your child? This is why we have the breakdown that we are having in the United States. There is no accountability for actions. Teachers shape our children sometimes more than we do .. Why? Because they spend the greater amount of time with them. Send them to Catholic School and never take them to temple, they will identify with the beliefs of Catholocism, or vise versa.

    No, the answers are not to run away , they are to change the system. Children now, our future! Why should we teach our children it’s best to retreat? Why are the teachers not public servants? We actually pay their salaries?

    I agree it’s not right… But please, with your background you would think you were more solution orientated. Print this article…. We as Patents should have more at our disposal than an article. Our precious children are the future, as such they deserve equal protection under the law.

    Great start…. But more solutions please.

  81. Thank you so much for writing this article.

    I am currently in my 20’s and I’m just starting to work through the mental health issues I have from abusive teachers.

    I managed to be the example child throughout all of my public education. In kindergarten, one of my teachers decided to punish me for climbing up the playground treehouse when I was scared to climb back down, so she left me in the playground alone until it was time for the parents to pick us up. In elementary school, I had a teacher from 2nd to 5th grade who regularly showed my assignments to the whole class as an example of what not to do. She would also make personal criticisms, and every critique related to my work and performance would come with another that was directly related to my worth as a person. She would frequently stop class to identify things that I was doing that would “keep [me] from ever being successful.” Any time I tried to ask for help she would tell me that I was “taking advantage” of the relationship that she had with my parents (they were friendly at the time), which I at 8 years old did not fully understand but it did keep me from complaining to my parents.

    Middle school was by far the worst. I had a group of teachers who all together decided that I needed to be severely punished. I was constantly singled out for not doing assignments or doing them correctly (the requirements for turning in assignments were constantly changing for me). They deflected any of my parents’ attempts to communicate with them and decided instead the best way to proceed was to tell the school psychologist pull me out of lunch in front of the whole grade One teacher noticed that I was uncomfortable with being physically close to her so I was forced to sit at a desk that was next to hers and no other students. She also would take any opportunity to hug me/put her hand on her shoulder/stand next to me, sometimes while joking about on how uncomfortable it made me. At one point that teacher had me meet with her alone in the classroom during lunch to discuss my classroom issues. She ended the discussion by telling me “I have feelings for you.” As a 12 year old I assumed it was a simple mistake, but now as an adult I am painfully aware of how unlikely it is that a teacher would say that to a minor unintentionally.

    I have since gone on to be very successful and am currently working towards my Phd in biology at a world-class program. But all of my successes are in spite of what I have had to overcome. I spent almost all of my childhood facing depression, was suicidal from ages 8-13, and my ability to form healthy relationships has suffered irreparable damage. Even 10-20 years later, I am occasionally struck by flashbacks to these horrible times in my life and although I have been working through some of my anxiety and depression related to these abuses for years, I am sure it will be a lifelong struggle.

    I hope that any teachers or other professionals who are responsible for children take time to read and understand this article. While these classroom practices may seem trivial and benign to you, the children being put through them may be suffering. An action that is a minute in an abusers day can cause a lifetime of pain for a child.

  82. I am intrigued by your article. My concerns are two fold. I am teacher and a parent. I have taught in 6th, 7th, and kindergarten. Let me explain. The problem is not education in totality. Parents are their child’s biggest asset and enemy. Today’s children come from the same blueprint as any other human population, however the ideologies bestowed upon them makes or breaks them. Most educators don’t condemn a child for bad behavior. We work toward correcting it. Not because this is what is wrong, but because this is what is right. Societal norms are what and who we are. Should that be the way? Maybe, maybe not. But, like many things, it just IS. Behaviors of teenager or adults that make outlandish decisions land them outside of society. In a card board box, in isolation. To assist in not having that be an option, we must correct behaviors. Most educators try many avenues before isolation becomes the norm. I, for one, do just that. Sadly, parents have chosen not to do their job to teach a child right from wrong. So, another adult must. Most teachers become that adult. Trust me, we’d rather not parent and just teach. Further, I noticed options that included, no thing but the parents way. Sorry, life doesn’t work that way. I think homeschooling is key and everyone should, honestly. Sadly, schools are viewed as child care. That is NOT what they are. So I would conclude that those that utilize education in a school building for that purpose, stop now. Take your child out and seriously, work at home.

    Next up, parental viewpoints. As a mom, none of my children graduated high school in the traditional sense. No brick and mortar. Why? Schools are dangerous. Other people’s children are more feared to me than any teacher. Sadly, teachers in his have become assholes because testing is tied to any chance of a small bonus. So, if your child is like any of mine, and hate school, their teachers hate them too. Why? It’s not your child, per say, it is their lack of work. My son, a high school student, will see his last day on campus in 6 weeks. Why wait? Because he deserved his credit for this semester. Kids are cruel. Teachers are over worked and under paid and campuses are unsafe. Parents deflect and portray their kids as only honorable. Mistake, as nobody is perfect.

  83. I found your post today and boy this is as if you were here dealing with the issue I am fighting against here at the moment. Children being humiliated infront of their peers, made spectacles of and never having the right to defend themselves as then they are being told they are rude. I’m so sick of it being pushed under the carpet and then made to feel like I am over reacting and when push comes to shove the teacher was having a bad moment. No person, none, not one has the right to make a child feel insecure, humiliated, worthless etc ever! I agree with you that there are some fantastic teachers, but those teachers that follow this destructive path are leading a lot of these children into so much emotional turmoil that will follow them throughout there lives and scar their futures.

  84. My son age 10 has had a rough 2 years maybe going on to 3 years in school. He’s snow attending mainstream only 2 afternoons a week, he attends another child centre the rest of the week. Now he has sensory issues that every body’s aware of. He’s on the waiting list for the post 5 autism team. The child centre have said they have a no touch policy with my child unless he’s in danger, or anyone around him is in danger as this at agonises and escalates the situation. Now yesterday my child came home and told me he’d been thrown, dragged to the floor by a teacher he was marked and bruised on his shoulder. I’ve emailed and asked them to explain to me what has happened but had no reply. Today when I’ve picked him up from mainstream he’s said he’s in pain with his shoulder, so I’ve took pictures and sent another email with pictures and asked for an explanation, once again I’ve had no reply. I am taking my child to the doctors this evening to have this checked out. Two weeks Previous to this incident my child was sent home with major scratch marks on his arm, which had happened as a result of locking him in a room my son was that emotional that he’d smashed his inhaler to bits and tried to cut his arm. I took pictures and gave to everybody that helps me i.e Senco, head psyc, year head and centre. I kept him at home with me for a week to calm him. Where do I go from here .

  85. I would like to know if anyone has considered reporting a teacher to Child Protective Services. Many of the cases described are reportable under CPS guidance. Many of your emails to teachers could simply be attached to a report. The teacher then has to answer to a case worker. Many times we do not utilize the systems that are already in place. CPS cannot ignor a report, and it would put significant pressure on teachers to modify their behavior. School administrators are part of the problem. There is always a conduct manual for students, but what about teachers. Many of the behaviors that your children are exhibiting are normal, and not against school policy. The teachers are just improperly trained, or there is a lack of oversight. It’s time to remove school’s protection.

    In addition, bullying is actually called assault under the law. The term bullying is only used in school and work to protect the institution, not the victims. Stop using bullying and use assault, and watch how the tone changes in your favor.

    1. Brilliant suggestions!!

      An actually you know what, I’d like to offer my professional service to any parent who wishes assistance writing a letter to a principal, school, teacher, and child protective services. I have to charge something because it may take some time (probably an hour at most, depending on how much research I have to do), but it may help strengthen “the message”. You can contact me at [email protected] if you need the service. Include “CPS Letter” in the subject line of the message.

  86. MY COMMENT IS about a DIFFERENT type of bullying.

    I know an elementary student here who got raped by some group of boys in her class just recently. One of the boys are being pin pointed as the instigator, since he was a repeating student (meaning, he’s some years older than all the other suspects) and also because he is not physically good-looking. The students, the officials, the whole school, the community, and the teachers are now looking at the boys like they are demons and that they deserve to be punished. Now, since the boys are at fault for the crime here (though not a hundred percent, since there’re still “other internal or external factors” affecting their behaviors), would you still blame the teachers for isolating these children? I don’t know what to feel for both the poor girl and the boys. It feels awful right now. If only I could stop all men from raping women with just a wave of my hand… How do we handle these students? This is a far-flung area. A remote place where parents are so poor that when children do something like this, they are sent to a social welfare home for a time, then sent back again here to continue their studies. These boys will always be singled out in the future. What will you do to these boys if your were in my place when they get back? They might be bullied, thus revert again to the dark side. I don’t know. . . . . . . . . .

    – A

  87. Dr. S,
    My 15 year old son is a very good athlete, playing baseball and also wrestling. Last year, while in 9th grade he chose to continue wrestling on the Jr. High team as allowable by P.I.A.A. rules governing high school athletics here in PA, even though he was asked to join the high school varsity squad by the varsity coach. When I asked him why he didn’t want to move up, his reply was “the coach is a dick”. Well I had heard rumblings of this in the past but paid them no heed as I thought maybe a disgruntled parent or athlete may have an axe to grind.

    While on the Jr. high team last season, he experienced great success. He advanced to the state tournament and came close to being in the top 10.

    Along with the success he experienced he also was guilty of a team violation of chewing tobacco. This occurred on an weekend when the team was at a 2 day tournament and were staying in a hotel. He was guilty as charged, no argument here…throw the book at him. I had warned him prior to leaving, made him unpack his bag and give me the chew before he left. He took some along anyway and got caught. His bad. The team rules, that we were made to agree to and sign, stated that the punishment was one week off the team. I am on board with that, punishment must be dished out. This is where our problem began.

    Rather than his coach on his JR. High team dishing out the punishment, the head coach of the high school varsity got involved. (the “dickhead” as previously noted) He suspended him and the others caught chewing for the prescribed week. No problem here. The school district suspended him for three days. A little harsh I thought but we used it to our advantage to get his grades up. I took the 3 days off and we learned how to study, apply acronyms to facts he needed to memorize, etc. that was ok, we made lemonade out of lemons. The head varsity coach (D.H.) went even further though. He banished the boys from their year end banquet, stripped them of any awards they had earned (my son was due to receive his 3 year commitment award, most pins, and outstanding wrestler for the 2014-15 season) their names were not even mentioned at the banquet. In my mind this is humiliating, degrading and disrespectful to the young men that worked their tails of and the families that sacrificed. To top it off, after this degradation and disrespect, the head varsity coach insisted the boys wrestle the state tournament in singlets promoting his personal mat club rather than the school they represent. A few of the boys made it to the state tournament under the name of his mat club and did well. Seems self-serving to me to dish out the most severe punishment possible, well in excess of the prescribed discipline we signed off on then using those very same young men, who are all accomplished wrestlers, to promote his personal mat club.

    I voiced my opinion to the coach (he has been the coach for over 15 years) with no success. I then proceeded on to the A.D. (new to the district) and the superintendent (also new) with the same results. Might as well have been talking to a brick wall. As much as it hurt to let it go, I let it go.

    Fast forward to this year. My son went out for the varsity squad, earned a starting spot and placed in his very first tournament. During this tournament he was in the middle of the match of his life with a neighboring state champ. We video all his matches, and while the ref was at the scorers table clearing up some confusion, I have on video this coach screaming at my son with such hatred i can’t fathom what the topic of his rant was about.

    My son quit the wrestling team this past thanksgiving weekend. He cited verbal and targeted abuse by the head varsity coach. He never once complained about it all season, that is not his style, but he does believe it has to do with him declining the invitation to join the varsity team last season, which the coach viewed as being snubbed. I also think it has something to do with my raising concern over the harsh punishment they received last year. Our family has sacrificed over the last 10 years watching my son’s success, confidence and self-esteem grow, all to be demolished by what appears to me to be a sadistic and narcissistic coach who cares about none other than himself. He just lost another state caliber wrestler this week and has lost several over his coaching tenure, including a state place winner who transferred just to get away from him. He has stolen my son’s confidence and a sport he once loved to soothe his own damaged ego.

    It makes me sick to think I’ll never see this extremely talented boy doing something he is so good at ever again. Where do we go from here?

  88. A day before yesterday a faculty scolded me badly in morning as I entered bus, because I told her that I will leave university campus in halfday. She started yelling on me like I am an animal. Other faculties were talking that ‘she was right in her place and commented on me’ , some even personally commented on me. I was punished for whole day and forcefully made to attend a youth programm which is organised by that faculty. She kept scolding me whenever I said something, and kept that behaviour. She scolded me in front of my juniors, seniours and other faculty member in university campus. Everyone was looking at me like I am a terrerist or as if I have ruined their life and I should be always punished. One faculty passed a comment on me as I passed by her while going to my department. When I was having my lunch, that faculty again scolded me. I felt bad that I left my lunch and decided to be hungry for whole day. Finally the day was over i returned to home but I can’t stop thinking about it, my head is aching and I wasn’t able to sleep properly. Next day I went to university but I was alone for whole day in my class I was still having headache any how the day over but everytime I tried to get rid of that feeling I come back to where I started. It’s looking like forest and every time I try to escape I come back to “hatred”. I am great at escaping my emotions or turning them in right direction but this incident is like impossible to escape. I am countinuosly feeling shame, and all were like blaming me and my class. I hate that faculty.
    What should I do? I can’t escape this bad feeling.

  89. I’ve read what has been written here and I do sympathise with what seems to be some quite horrific things that have been done to people posting. My query comes not from a defensive stand point, but from a genuine need to know. What happens when it’s the students who are emotionally abusing the teacher? I have recently become a substitute teacher. I often walk into classrooms where I’m met with disdain, aggression and hostility and before I’ve even opened my mouth they’ve decided I’m not worth their time. I have called on my own experience, followed advice from co-workers, I’ve read up on it and I’ve wracked my brain on many occasions. Agreed, as an adult you shouldn’t take it personally. However, just imagine you are an adult and a human being also, you are in a class of 30 or so, where a group of them bark like dogs for five minutes, you calm them down. then they start throwing things to each other, you deal with it, they stop. You turn to help a student, they’re now play fighting, you deal with it, they stop. This then escalates over the course of the hour where every, single time you go to help another child or turn away from them they are shouting, swearing, throwing books at each other, snatching ties off each other and throwing them around, putting make up on in the corner – not just boys, you see – looking at mobile phones they are not allowed to. you spend an hour, which feels like an eternity in not with one, but something like 10 students all breaking rules, not only school, but human rights rules, behaving like utter animals and finding it funny. What then? You smile, try to engage them on not just an academic, but a human level, not to threaten emotionally, verbally or physically, not to single them out, not to acknowledge it, to remain calm, not shout, not degrade them, not emotionally abuse them, not single them out because you want to treat them as people and not as they are actually behaving right now. In short you go out of your way NOT to become what you hated about the really horrible teachers at school and, actually, all it gets you is disrespected more. Every other student in the class responds well to this, do their work, converse with you, ask you for help and listen to what you say so clearly SOMETHING is working. Ultimately, however, you as the adult walk out feeling like you are the one being emotionally abused. Are we just to assume because they are adolescants they cannot be the perpetrators of abuse? Building relationships with students I have long term is actually something I excel at, but when you have an hour with a class you don’t know, who don’t know you, don’t want to know you and actually don’t care about themselves never mind any one else, how are you supposed to break this barrier down? I’m hoping as someone who has obviously given this a lot of thought you might have some insights on how it is teachers should be approaching this? How do we break the cycle?

    1. Are we just to assume because they are adolescants they cannot be the perpetrators of abuse?

      Hardly. Adolescents can be the worst offenders. Where else do you find people so tortured and abused they consider suicide or homicide a reasonable reaction to the abuse.

      The problem is, and this is going to be a bit short and rough, that schools teach kids to exclude. Schools set up hierarchies of worth and then encourage the kids to fit into these hierarchies–geeks, Jocks, pretty girls, etc. The kids are taught from a very early age, but in middle school is where they begin to apply what they have been taught. They don’t do it with a lot of finesse of course. It is not until later that they develop a more sophisticated skillset, but that’s the not the point. You as a substitute teacher walk into a class where kids are simply applying what they have been taught, which is to aggressively exclude the outsider.

      So what do you do? Other than totally revamping how the K12 system works, the next best thing would be to put a staff member with authority into the room, like the principal, vice principle, or equivalent (of course that’s going to cost extra money). Short of either revamping the system, or bringing authority in to monitor the abusive situation, all you can do is cope.

      Does this make any kind of sense to you?

      Maybe other substitute teachers can share their strategies.

      1. It does make sense, I sort of wish it didn’t, because thinking about it in depth is kind of depressing to me, but I get where you’re coming from. In all honesty I sometimes feel like I am in a minority of adults in mainstream schools who actually do CARE about every single child they come into contact with as opposed to how good they make my statistics look. Honestly, the fact I get to go and interact with kids every day is a constant source of joy, amazement and discovery – even on the “bad days”. I just wish the bad days weren’t so mentally exhausting and I could wave a magic wand to “fix” all of the horrible things these kids are going through so maybe they’d have a chance, maybe I just care too much.

        Thank you for your reply, you have given me something to think about and I’m sure given time it will get easier.. or I will develop a harder shell. I would welcome ideas from other substitute teachers.

  90. Hi. I’m a teacher but I’m not the gonna make any comments about the things you mentioned here. However since you are a parent who seem to really know about these psychological stuff, I’ll just be asking for your opinion on these two things:

    1. Parents that expect too much from their children that it causes them to feel so much pressure and stress just to get high grades in school.

    2. A parent of another child who psychologically abused one of my students. The parent actually confronted the child about the child’s sexuality, accusing the child of being gay which the child is not. This caused confusion and pain on the child.

    What can you say about these two situations?

    1. 1) Parents who stress their children out are abusing their children and causing long term damage. There isn’t any arguing with the science on this one which is showing that stress, however it is caused, leads to physical, emotional, and psychological debilitatoin. You can see a summary of this by perusing my SpiritWiki entry on Toxic Socialization

      2) Talk to the school principals about the incident. Document the incident. Let the victim’s parents know what happened to their child. You don’t necessarily have to name names, but the parents should know their child was assaulted.

      Is this what you were asking for?

  91. My daughter is currently in grade 6 in Alberta. Recently in school she played a “game” with fellow students that ultimately involved kissing. While I agree this is not acceptable behavior for school and believe that it should be addressed, my daughter told me her Teacher singled out these children involved front of the entire grade 4,5,6’s during health class and made an “example” out of the students. I tried to discuss the matter with the teacher and asked if she singled the students out and used them directly as an example she avoided answering the question entirely at first and eventually and stated ” The game was directly brought up as the principal , another teacher and myself thought it necessary as the students had all been talking about it. It was not in a malicious way of any kind. It was not meant to hurt or make fun. Just deal with an issue that was in the forefront.”

    To me this was not the right way to deal with the matter at hand, yes talk to the students about healthy relationships and proper school behavior. But she crossed the line in my opinion, it was not the other students business what went on between my daughter and the other children involved.

    My daughter has had a very rough go emotionally the last couple years, she was sexually assaulted by a trusted family friend, she has a very hard time making and maintaining friendships and has a hard time with trusting people now as a result. This teacher knows of my daughters struggles, to me she just rubbed salt into a wide open gaping wound. I believe the intent of this teacher was to humiliate.

    Am I wrong here?

    1. Hi Candace. I’m very sorry to hear that your daughter was assaulted by a trusted figure. This is far more common that most people believe, and it is the worst form of victimization a child can experience. As you no doubt know, the emotional and psychological fallout for the child and the family is significant and long lasting. When children are abused and exploited by adults who are more powerful, the child learns impotence in the face of attack. It is very important you stand by your daughter, protect her from future assault of any kind, and teach her that she does the power to protect herself from all forms of emotional, psychological, and physical assault.

      As for the teacher saying she did not ‘intend’ it to be hurtful, I suggest you tell her what I tell all my children which is that it doesn’t matter what the intent was, what matters is the consequences of the actions. We can have all the good intent in the world but if we get behind the wheel of a car drunk and kill someone, nobody is going to give a *$%& that you had good intent. Your hurt somebody, you will pay the consequences. The teacher is just giving you a cheap excuse and you should brush it away for the nonsense that it is. She hurt your child and that is what you should be focusing on.

      I suggest you write a letter explaining to the school your daughter’s past history of sexual assault and the emotional impact that had on her. Explain that the teacher’s public shame exacerbated the problem and tell them how it impacted your daughter in a negative way. If your child is seeing a therapist, maybe ask the therapist to right a short affidavit. Send this letter to the teacher, the principals, and directly to the district superintendent. Demand to know where, in the Alberta laws and bylaws, the school has a right to hurt your child. Ask for the specific legislation that guides school discipline and demand that they point out where it says that teachers can publically shame and/or emotionally assault children. Don’t be shy about this. You are the mama bear and it is your job to protect your daughter.

      Blast this email to as many people as you can think of, especially your child therapist if you have one. Don’t allow them to minimize their actions or make you feel bad. Any child would be traumatized by what the teacher did, but your child who has a recent experience of sexual assault, would be impacted even more. Make this clear to them, and make sure it is well documented.

  92. My son is in 2nd grade in Colorado. His desk was separated from the other kids for a period of 3 months, during which neither of the 2 teachers he has contacted us to let us know. This has created emotional problems to our child. Finally this morning my husband found out that he had been separated just because he walked into the class and saw where our son was sitting. He asked for explanations and the teacher said our own son liked that seat and asked to be confined there. My son was questioned right on the spot and he obviously denied. Now anyone can help me find out if this punishment is legal in Colorado? Thank you.

  93. LuAnn

    I am searching for answers for our 7 year old grandson. He has always been a great kid, never in trouble (except for being a boy), great grades, very social, well rounded little boy. All of the sudden he is lying all the time, and has started spending time in the classroom bathroom ( the last time was an hour) and smearing feces on the walls. Through a process of elimination they narrowed it down to him. the teacher then proceeded to line all the kids up and tell them it was _______ fault. He was the one putting the poop on the walls, and while he goes in and cleans up his mess we will have play time. she also moved him to the front of the room (to keep a closer eye on him). Now when he has to go to the bathroom she sends him to the nurses office, and they call his mother from work to take hime home. I know in my heart somehting has happened, I just can’t figure out what yet. I am so mad at her for doing this to a first grader, who now is being called names by his friends and they live in a small town, so word is traveling around. She has destroyed his spirit. How do we help him and stop this madness??

    1. It sounds like your grandson may be a victim of sexual abuse, and this abuse may be ongoing. If it is not sexual abuse it is something equally traumatic. The school’s insensitive, callous, and ignorant response is aggravating his trauma. The boy needs to see a competant psychologist with specific experience with sexual abuse and assault in children.

    2. Please get him out of that school. And like dr S mentioned, check if it’s legal to use recording devices or bugs and then proceed. But please get him out of that school no matter what it takes.

  94. The problem here that I can see is this is a private school and as I understand it, it won’t be subject to the same sorts of regulations that a public school would be (somebody correct me if I’m wrong). Ideally you should just get your daugher out of their immediately. You should NOT let her be exposed to this. Even moderate levels of stress experienced chronically can cause serious neurological damage. If you are able to manage it, tell the school to arrange to have all her work sent home and let them know she’ll be doing it from home until the year is out. If you can’t do that, change schools immediately. If you leave her there you are subjecting your daughter to a hostile environment. If you continue to do that, there will be psychological consequences.

    You are in a bit of a pickle. I think the school has already defined your daughter as a trouble maker, unfairly it seems. Because this is a private school, even if you do raise a stink the most that will probably happen is that your daughter will be asked to move to another school. You could fight it if you want, but since this comes down to a simple “she said versus she said” scenario, and since the school has already made a decision about who is at fault, it seems like the most expedient course of action is to protect your daughter in any way you can, and get out as soon as you are able.

    Are you able to temporarily home school your daughter?


  95. Hi Dr. S. Although I live in a totally different country I can definately relate to your article. I have a child who is 9. Four months ago he was officially diagnosed with Dyslexia – we had to pay for a private assessment to confirm this as the management and teachers at school would not acknowledge the concerns that we have had about our child falling behind his peers for the past 4 years, instead the teachers that have been directly involved in my sons education have tried to turn any issues back onto my son or us his parents, are we giving him a nutritious and balanced diet? Is there something that we are doing that is making him the way he is? Even suggesting that he was just being lazy and wrapping mummy around his little finger so that he didn’t have to try at school – mummy was accommodating his negative attitude towards learning, all the while I was witnessing the frustration build, and build, and build in my child, the heartbreaking times,, OMG ….. too many to list, my son telling me he never wanted to get out of bed ever again, and then asking me if that means that he is thinking of ending his own life by killing himself, he told me of the nasty treatment that he was getting in the classroom from the teacher which made him feel very sad and stupid. Understandably my son has a lot of frustration built up because he has been treated unfairly by teachers, unfortunately to this day he is still experiencing backlash from those teachers and managers at the school whom I have had to have stern words with – I have instructed them to stop trying to bully my child into learning how they want him to learn and make an effort to understand that he is not purposefully trying to be naughty and defy them, I have told them that my child comes home and tells me that they have physically manhandled him because he can’t write a story as fast or as accurately as the other children in his class – they just deny everything – yet how do they explain that after I have let them know that I know what is going on; that particular physical repremand or punnishment stops and my child never complains of it again – because they are doing what my son tells me they are doing. I am also sick and tired of the constant extermalised self justicication that the teachers insist on exercising towards my son – for example in the playground he had a disagreement with a child two years his senior – he felt intimidated so he said “lets just make peace, I just want peace” the other child said “no I want war” my child said “please just leave us (the group that he was playing with) alone” then the other child started attacking him with his hands and kicking him, my sons response then to physically deffend himself any way that he could so he punched this kid in the nose and scratched him, the other child then again continued to attack my child with his hands and kicked him in the groin, stomach, and up the rear end – this offending child then saw a teacher on duty and went up to her and told her that he had been attacked by my son and that he needed an ice pack – my son told the teacher exactly how the whole situation had played out yet she punished my child and told him off while the older boy got off scott free – the teacher was one that I have had to take to task about her inability to take appropriate action to assist my son with his learning disability – she and others tarred with the same brush seem to be hellbent on exercising externallised self justification towards my son because they know that they have treated him and his parents very poorly in the past yet seem unable to acknowledge that they subconsciously continue to try and justify their bad behaviour towards my son and us by using their authority in the school to insinuate that my son is always the one at fault whenever there is a school yard tiff – somehow they seem to think that they will eventually prove to all that they were always right about my son , that my son is to blame for his learning disability and that he is responsible for them (teachers & managers) failing to acknowledge all of the indicators that he had for dyslexia, that my son is responsible for their poor treatment of him and their refusal to acknowledge that he was struggling seriously with a learning disability, and their constant denial that he ever had a learning disability until we got a private assessment done – oh they also tried to discourage us from getting him assessed privately – which bears the question – what didn’t they want his parents to find out – what were they hoping to keep hidden from us? In general I have found a couple of great teachers but the ones that are awful are outstanding – I have found the bad teachers to be immature, child like in their responses, petty, cruel, power trippers who are only interested in proving themselves to be powerful and influential – all beit in a childs world. In other words adults who have never grown up and matured appropriately; who have sought a position (teaching career) where they can be an authority figure to a population that is vulnerable to their bullying and unfair tactics simply because they are children 20 + years their junior with no show of standing up to them and making them take a look at themselves and their terrible behaviour. The hilarious thing is that I can see straight through all of their pathetic tactics yet they honestly think that they are very cleaver at finding and designing legitimate ways of “getting at” my son and us – his parents, I also document all of their pathetic actions so that when I am sure my son is safe – I can legally hold them to task.

  96. I want to let the principal or the board of trustees know of the terrible time that we have had at the hands of a few teachers at the school but whenever I have broached the subject before I have been told that my child is lying, that they have never had any other complaints like mine about that teacher (which I know is a lie because I talk to lots of other parents and they too have had the same or similar experiences to me) the teacher is told of my complaint and then treats all of my children very unfairly just to get the message to me that complaints will not be tolerated and are infact discouraged. How do I communicate the treatment that we have experienced and the tactics that these teachers have inlisted to externally self justify their terrible treatment of my son and us; his parents, without sounding like a suspicious, irrational, ranting, overprotective, interfering, accusational parent? It has already come back to me that one of the teachers that is heavily involved has spoken to one of my sons support workers and told them that “she’s not right” – (meaning that me, the mother is not right)”

    1. Try to get other parents that went thru similar situations with that teacher and give your stories to your local press editor but make sure you don’t mention names unless you have proof (record if legal like Dr S said). If the board doesn’t listen, they’ll hate being publicly exposed. I’m trying to get parents where I live to do the same. Good luck to us!

  97. WOW… just wrote everything that took me so long to discover..Im in the middle of doing exactly what you wrote…but it took me a long time to figure it out. I also found some valuable articles on protecting my child’s rights. of course these young vulnerable children are at the mercy of school administration and most times their rights are violated.
    here is a helpful website of notes you can send with your child to school and also to the school….

  98. Dear Dr S, THANK YOU!! Your article is sent from heaven. I live in Bayonne NJ and the Education system there is filled with leaders that allow teacher bullying and protect themselves and the perpretatrors. A lot of parents are victims but are afraid to speak up. I shared your article with my friends on Facebook and in a particular group got hostile comments from total idiots BUT I don’t care! Truth hurts! I pray that this article goes around the whole town! I’m thinking of publishing an article and today a principal threatened to sue me if I mentioned his name. It won’t stop me, I know there are ways around it though. I want to thank you so much and I PRAY for this article to be shared with millions! GOD bless you

  99. My 10 year old child is experiencing everything discussed in this article. What type of lawyer handles these types of cases. I am ready to bring suite against the school district for his humiliation, isolation, and degregation. Any info is greatly appreciated!

  100. Having a child who is both gifted and has a learning disability, I had to advocate for his basic needs to be met in the classroom. My advocacy for my son was appropriate and kind though persistent. Though my sons basic needs were not being met at school they were swift and extreme in their punishments for matters beyond my sons control such as his inability to sit still on a hard chair while refusing to provide a sensory cushion. Eventually I was forced to remove my son from school for half the day which improved matters greatly. The principal reacted to this perceived criticism by making vexatious reports to the provincial child taking authority and both my children were legally kidnapped through an initial and then ongoing acts of fraud upon the court for which my children and I paid a terrible and permanent price.

    Both my young children of tender years were abused (psychological, emotional, sleep deprivation, terrorized, drugged, sexually abused, physically abused and were forced to witness the abuse of other children and a baby) and neglected (denied food and water) as they were domestically trafficked between 5 different houses within a few months for financial profit and then planned for adoption, particularly after they began disclosing abuse by state-paid workers. The most abusive of the homes made over 205K dollars tax free the year they were held captive (or prison as my son refers to it). The reason for them being taken was never made known other than everyone of us, myself and both my children were all “mentally ill” according to child-taking actors.

    The torture of my children and myself was unlike anything I could have imagined in the worst of nightmares. The state actors and their paid lacky lied to the court, perjured themselves, pressured others to lie and mislead and withheld and created false information for court purposes and paid others to do the same. It was made clear eventually after years that there was never a valid reason under the law to have seized them. In the end after years my children were returned broken and terrorized. We obtained help through resources employed for healing those suffering from the impacts of political violence and torture. I have since removed my children completely from the public school system for their safety however, really they have been forced out by the abusive actions of a few bad apples in a malignant barrel.

    It is common for public educators to use the out of control child taking regime and it’s various special interest groups whom profit off the misery and torment caused by legal kidnapping to punish Mothers and Fathers who are simply trying to advocate for their children in a system that could not care less.

    Though the situation is different we (and many, many others) faced the same abuse of power by those who can torture children and their Moms and Dad’s with impunity as outlined here:

    I hope that those of you with the social power (married not divorced, etc) money, social status use it to protect those who don’t otherwise after they have chewed their way through us, they will invariably come for you and yours. Reagan was right about a few things, one being that government is like an infant with an unceasing appetite on one end and no sense of responsibility on the other. Since the change to private-public partnerships this scenario has achieved nightmare proportions and is looking more like Burma or the GDR everyday.

    Thank you for your concise and powerful article and peace to you and yours.

  101. thank you so much for this very good article I really didn’t realize what was happening to me over the last year before I read this , this started last semester in this Chinese university with this very young female excessively authoritarian Chinese language teacher when she started ostracizing me in class because I spoke when I wasn’t supposed to , she has this big ego she would select where you sit every day and she would ask you why you change the seat if you do so next day , she would say things to students such as “who is the teacher me or you ?!” and “you should respect me !” , her teaching method is to call on students in the class and ask them to read Chinese words on the board ,of course that also work as an effective isolation technique since students who don’t fuel her ego doesn’t get a chance to ‘be thought’, i really didn’t notice the conflict of interest in this class until it’s too late I’m an independent learner I always been, such a teacher is a big contradiction for me , as she started ostracizing me and two other students I realized she is stereotyping me as an attention seeker because she would tell any student who speaks at class “why do you seek my attention ?!” so I decided to do the wrong thing which is to resist her passively for an extended period of time , I thought “if she thinks that I’m dependent on her then I should show her how I learn without her” when infect it wasn’t about me or her but rather about the group psychology of this class , I was stunned after reading this article of how similar it is to my situation , my classmates started ostracizing me also ,calling me names and gossip about me starting exactly the same period she started doing this even in other classes or during breaks or of campus !!! Even this new semester when I decided to ‘re-enter the group’ this teacher is not present but the long term effect is .
    and the bottom line is this : yes there does exist in education teachers who are not only unproductive and futile but also have problematic and catastrophic effect on the school environment and psychology , having this delusional dysfunctional teacher painting cross hairs on my back as an adult proved that to me.

    1. I would like to ask the author though, what is the difference between behavioral management punishment and rejection and humiliation ?

  102. I have myself found my self in this inhumanely circumstance. I just want to thank you for your very informative piece of writing on this type of subject. My son 5 years old had only been at school for less than 3 months Papatoetoe Central School in New Zealand. As you know from our media we have high instances of child abuse in our country and it seems our government has made many efforts to stop this from happening but only they are missing our the institutional abuse that children are suffering within the school systems. My son had been emotionally and physically abused by his teacher at least 3 times and my complaints a minimalized and I my son is made out as a lair in the what should be a serious misconduct case. I have taken on your advice about “asking to record & emailing” which in this day it saddens me that this is something we have to do for what seems to be our and our children’s global human rights being stomped on by people whom choose to keep to the homeostasis of their organisations.
    I have written in detail my complaints and attached the laws that govern both society but the body of teaching as a profession, and the principles of the organisation. I will also attach a copy of you “Toxic” attachment to hopefully triumph from what I find as a discourse of justice for parents.
    Thank you again.

  103. Thank you so much for writing this and posting it for me to read.

    I am 42 years old now. I am not a parent. But, from third grade until I finally quit school in eighth grade, I was subjected to most of the abuse that was outlined in this piece. I can tell you from first-hand experience that these sort of abuses not only makes a childhood absolutely miserable, but the pain remains with you into adulthood. The bullying I was forced to endure from both teachers and fellow students is still with me, and probably always will be.

    Something went wrong in third grade. I somehow got labeled as disruptive and a discipline problem. I didn’t see myself as that at the time. Looking back now, it may have been partially true, but my transgressions weren’t nearly proportionate to the constant bullying, isolation, and humiliation I was forced to endure as a result of them. Though I am neither a teacher or a parent, there is zero doubt in my mind that my so-called “misbehavior” was dealt with in entirely the wrong way. Even if I was a bad kid, shouldn’t my teachers (you know, the ones who are supposed to be “smart”) have seen that what they were doing to me wasn’t working, and tried something else? What’s the definition of insanity again?

    I was raised by a single mother. While I am certain she was always well-meaning, she did not possess the skills necessary to “go to bat” for me. And, even if she did, I’m not sure what good it would have done. Once you’re painted with the figurative scarlet letter, you don’t stand a chance of ever being treated like a normal kid in that school district ever again. Besides, in fourth and fifth grades, it was the principal who was my biggest bully. So, going over the teachers to her would have accomplished absolutely nothing, perhaps even made it worse.

    By the time I got to eight grade, I became seriously physically ill. Though my doctors were never able to pinpoint the exact cause, I now know it was from the constant bombardment of abuse I suffered at the hands of teachers and other students in my schools. I didn’t finish out that eighth grade year. In fact, I couldn’t bring myself to ever return to public school again. Once I separated myself from the school environment, and realized I could get away with never going back, my physical symptoms cleared up I could finally begin to grow as a person.

    My life has not been easy by any means. But, I was able to eventually recover from my childhood and pull things together. I got my GED at age 19 by paying a fee and taking two hour-long tests. I enrolled in community college where I did very well. I have managed to build a career where I am secure, respected, and most likely earn more money than the teachers who abused me (even adjusted for inflation). My wife who loves me and I own a home in a safe and friendly neighborhood. Even though I may be stigmatized because I never attended high school, the advent of the internet has shown me, very clearly, that I am far more literate than many people who claim to be college graduates.

    Even though I was able to eventually pull things together and build a good life for myself, I still carry pain and resentment because of all the typical childhood and adolescent experiences that I was deprived of because of the abuse I suffered. That pain is the primary reason behind my decision not to procreate. I am afraid to have children because I am afraid of passing on whatever gene it is that I have that attracts this sort of mistreatment from teachers and principles. I don’t want to risk putting my own children through what I was forced to go through.

    I thank Dr. S for this piece because it validates something that I have known all along…that what I endured in school was NOT “assertive discipline” or a badly behaved kid, it was bullying and abuse of someone who was vulnerable and perhaps just needed a little extra help.

  104. I am a teacher and our school uses what is called restorative practices to work with students who are having issues in the class room. In restorative practices issues that impede the learning of students in the classroom are discussed in the class and/or with a teacher. Actions to deal with disruptive behaviors focus on learning rather than in punishment. For example, if I have a student who is not doing his work and/or is walking around, talking, or otherwise disrupting the class, the first step would be to quietly remind the student what he/she needs to be doing, and asking if there anything wrong and is a there a way I can help them get back to work. Many times this is the key point that makes the moment a learning moment rather than a disciplining moment. The key is to listen to what the student says. I know that sometimes I have trouble sitting an focusing. By asking rather than accusing you often get an answer like , “I do not understand what I am supposed to do.”, or “I had a bad morning at home,” Or “I’m tired” Then I try to respond to the need. The most common solution is to give the student a few minutes outside the classroom, not as a punishment, but as a break or a moment to relax. I have a small classroom, so I keep a chair outside the door and have made it known that it is not a punishment to be out often I will say ” If you need to take a break you can sit outside, or go have a drink. 90% of the time, the student will take the time in the hall, then come in on their own and do their work. Students are like anyone else, they want to be respected. When you treat them with respect, they often respond with respect. I teach at a very difficult inner city school with many students with very difficult family lives. I want them to feel that school is safe for them.

    I work with 7th graders and I never, and believe we should never deny students the use of the bathroom, but at the same time, I believe we have to have control of the bathrooms because they are the most unsafe place in a school Teachers do not into student bathrooms, but bullies do. To protect against that, I only allow one student out of the room at a time, unless it is an emergency; I also keep track of the time a student is gone. If a student is gone too long, I send another trusted student of the same sex to make sure they are ok. I have had students who have gotten ill, or were cutting, or were being bullied by someone from another class, so I check.

    The focus on law and order in our country and the mindset that everyone should always pull himself up by the boot straps trickles down into our schools. And honestly, the poor pay and hard working conditions for teachers push many good teachers our of the schools and leave in many who are not capable of truly teaching. I have left schools because of that. I work in the charter school that I do because we treat our students as humans with all the rights that humans should have (no matter what age). Sorry I went on for so long but I am passionate about the subject. There are many good sites on using restorative Justice (or practices) in schools including

  105. great article… story starts where my 7 year old daughter was labeled a bully at school due to a vindictive parent who spread false rumors due to spousal jealousy issues. the school counselor went along with false gossip and put that label on my child and made it well known to any parent, teacher or child she could that my child was a “Bully”. Whenever questioning the school for specific incidents or evidence or testimony/documentation that led them to believe my child was that, they had none – zero! yet my child would get punished anyway! It tooks years to shake the reputation and just as we were shaking it, that vindicitive parent spread it again to a teacher who proclaimed she would take care of “the problem”(my child). My child went on to be severly disciplined, isolated and pubilicly humiliated(as well as myself) with no evidence and no details of exactly why. I fought it….and Im still fighting it….the teachers gossip about kids and bully giving false reputations and then bully the kid as a group together. I found this especially true; if you complain about a teacher they will go after the jugular on your kid relentlessly and endlessly. Im still fighting it as my child never gives the school any reason to deserve the reputation….thankfully some parents jumped on board and helped me fight the reputation thankfully…if it were up to the school my child would have no friends and be isolated…but still,several parents and teachers stick with the vindictive parent and every move is tinted with the reputation. It got so bad that a parent I did not even know and had never met, inside school came up to me and physically threatened yelling in the middle of school saying “teachers told her about my child”…the action was so bold and supported by administration because the principal and a teacher stood by and heard all of it and did nothing to defend my child and let the parent go on and on abusing and threatening me in front of all the kids while i remained calm….as a matter of fact another administrator walking by commented “dont worry, we all know about that kid!”. Know what? my kid has never had one single thing on her record or done one thing ever!(besides talk too much in class very rarely!) its all 100% rumors swirling! hating on my kid from purely gossip by the teachers and administration. anyway…constant nightmare bullying by the school themselves to a little kid who has done nothing wrong. its been insane! my child is now 11 and it continues! (age 7 to 11 with no stopping in sight) ive even spent money on lawyers and had them go to the school board…..the school is unstoppable. and im a single parent with very little money it was difficult to spend money on you think they care? no.

  106. My son was emotionally abused by a teacher. This happened in 2015. In January of 2015 she kept asking him if something was going on at home. He kept telling her no. She said I know there is so you need to tell me and he told her there’s not. I set up a phone conference with her. She proceeded to tell me that because my son was quiet and sat by himself that something was wrong I told her that he’s been like that his entire life. She left him alone for a little bit then she started again. This time it was because he was sick and he didn’t go to school. The teacher told him he was a disappointment to her and the whole school cause he didn’t show up for the play they went to out of town. He ask me if he was a disappointment and I told him no and that’s when he told me the teacher said he was. I went to the school and I couldn’t talk to the teacher cause it wasn’t her conference time. I withdrew him from school… A couple months later I take him to get help he was diagnosed as clinically depressed and then find out he thought about sucide. This teacher’s conduct has destroyed my child. I checked him back in school and the same day he started he came home with tears in his eyes and said I can’t do it. He said it brought back painful memories of what the teacher said to him. I withdrew him again. I worry bout my son everyday.

  107. Dear Dr. S.,
    You have seen the pattern and you have recognized a massive problem. I am surprised by how many responses you’ve received and have to wonder whether or not you are still reading them all. The problems are not new and indeed, they have plagued children, parents, good teachers (of which there are many), and the schools themselves since day one – that is since Tolstoy wrote his essays on education and voiced adamant opposition to the passage of compulsory attendance laws in 1862. The most recent book I read on this topic was Dr. Kristen Olson’s “Wounded by School”. There are many such books and articles. Dr. Peter Gray wrote, “Free to Learn” and one blog article was entitled, “School is Prison”. Until there is a paradigm change, you offer valuable advice to the handful of parents who find your articles or materials. But, what about the innumerable others who aren’t so fortunate or aware and the kids who are damaged in less visible but no less significant ways? How do you define education, anyway? School reform is a mirage, a myth, and a fraud. Please take a look at my website and pay particular attention to the “Definitions Page”, “Education Sans Myths” page, and the “post-reform Perspectives” page. The site is at: (not about “school choice”). It has been inactive for some time due to a lack of time and resources and no budget for promotion. I’m also working on a nonprofit. I’d like your feedback, please.

  108. Hello well my son has been in the union parish schools kindergarten he is now in sixth grade center which looks likr a prison. Well whilr my son was attending elementary he was being bullied i talked to the teachers nothing was done so i spoke to the dsa nothing was done only thing they did was talk to the kids and that didnt stop i talked to the principal and he tried to belittle me then later a teacher punched him in the head i talked to the principal nothing was done so I spoke to the superintendent about it he told me ti file a complaint so i did and thats all he wanted me to do so i talked back to the principal and the principal told me it was pointless that i wanted to talk with the lady accused of punching my son while we were discussing what happened she insisted that she was playing with him so i asked if i could see the tape they told me the tape didnt show anything so they wouldnt let me look at it. So the principal told my son he shouldn’t play sports if he doesnt want to be hit i was shocked that he said that so i asked the police what should i do they told to talk to someone at the school board office nothing happened so the principal later told me he wrote her up and thats all then he threatened to take my son out of honors classes because of the incident that was only in fourth grade also in that grade a boy told him he would shoot him with a gun and i called the police they said they couldnt do anything about it and said i couldnt press charges because its like hear say but they would talk to the principal and they did so i was contacted days later for the dsa to tell me he talked to the student and that was all i had to take my two children off the bus because my was being bullied it went so far as to the kids would tell him they are going to get their family to jump him i put him on two different buses before taking them both off completely because they did nothing about that also i have complained and complained and complained but nothing is being done i have come to the realization that they dont give a fuck about these kids so anyways in 5th grade a teacher was so upset that. She told my son and a group of other kids “yall make us so mad we just want to punch yall in the face” so when i was told this by my son i talked to that teacher face to fave thinking she will understand not to say that which i spoke to her in the most respectable way i could and wheb i left i thought to myself its worked out i even told her why i was upset because a teacher actually hit him in the 4th grade but to find out she spoke to my sin saying so you went and told yout mom about this infront of other children makinh him feel as if he did something wrong by tellinh me so i met with the dsa and principal and told them what happened and what she said they wrote things down but that was it. So she said to him something else like well i bet not do this because some people will tell their moms so i went o the superintendent again and told him all that i could thinking they would be on my side because they care so much for the kids. What a crazy thought that was he couldnt give two shits about the well beinh of any child let alone mine i was looked upon as a trouble makinh parent after that so now my son is at 6th grade and has been suspended for about 3 times now for fighting. Well lets put this correctly for defending himself and is now threatened if he does anything else he will be forced into alternative school…so there is this vice principal which use to be my teacher when i was in 8th grade and she was just as evil then as she is now i believe she was hurt as a young girl and thats why she preys on younh children to feel superior were as she can be the bully rather than been bullied which is real son says all the fights weren’t his fault. So i found out he had some parts to play anf then he really didnt one was a cousin of his was beinh bullied so he wanted ti show him how to defend himself and another boy swung at him and he and that boy had a fight the other is he was outside playing basketball with some girls and he got into an argument with one of the girls and another jumped in the conversation later they stop arguing and being to play again so my son pushed the girl to block her shot and the girl got mad and swung and my chilf defended himself no it was right for him to hit a girl but it also wasnt right for her to hit him either all the while a teacher was on staff but was too busy playinh with his phone to see if any commotion was goinh on he was only alerted after the fight had taken place but remind you he was only 4 or 5 feet away maybe less than that i have been considering home schooling both my children because of the abuse because i know how some of the teachers are but my son says he wants to be around his friends and thats the only reason…while my daughter at the time 6 was in kindergarten she was yelled at ny her principal about scratching the paint off the walls which the paint was already chipping. And the principal said to her you best not peel that paint off the walls because you aint go no money to get it repainted and my daughter cried.she has a learning disability and that was her 1st year in school i filed a complaint on her and this problem never happened again but that crushed her…i wish my voice could be heard im standing up for my kids because no one stood up for me when they did this type of stuff to me i was put on depression meds behind it im at my wit’s in now i wanna know what can i do now because no matter if i tell them whats going on nothing is being done about it…i love teachers but i wish they would remember they were once these kids ages at one point in a time in their lives and also remember karma is a bitch and they will get older one day and those same kids will have to see about them and when that day comes well karma will set in…whoever preys on children to do harm. Harm will soon come to them later in life

  109. I am going through a similar situation. My son has autism and he is non verbal. However, I always guess with accuracy any situation going on. My son has been abused at school and suspended. It looks to me that the school authority in the district is not willing to help us but they are trying to protect the bad people instead. I am desperate.

  110. Great and very informative article…. I too agree with this behavior happening at schools these days. My son in in class X and is been targeted for quite sometime now. Initially we also thought our child is at fault and tried conveying and correcting him many best ways. Eventually its increased to such an extent that every second day for every single issue he is been asked to get out of the school. When we tell them that we are working parents and if the child is sent home , there is no one to attend him and hence have requested not to do so. I don’t see any genuine effort in rectifying the issue or correcting the child instead he is been interrogated and rejected. Off late this is seriously affecting his studies and am worried on his mental health. Who should be held responsible if the child’s mental health gets affected and he takes any severe steps. For God sake please let us let the child live in peace.

  111. I have been through the ringer with my children and our toxic district. It’s interesting because I had zero problems until I had 1 problem. Once I had 1 problem, it snowballed into 3 years of absolute hell. I truly appreciate this article as it reaffirms what I have dealt with for years. No one wants to admit that our school systems can be negative and even dangerous. I pulled my eldest out for 2 years. She is now thriving, back in public, under new admin at her building. Unfortunately, my youngest is in the building where my daughter was traumatized and that building is under the same awful admin. The admin here attempt to deflect, lie, minimize, and ignore any report that is made. They then are known to retaliate against students and families. All I can say to anyone reading is don’t back down! Don’t let them harm your child. Fight until you win!!! Use email, don’t let them force you to talk on the phone or meet if they are denying your claims. Make them email and keep absolutely every email you get sent. You do have options. I didn’t know this and as a result, I have a child with, what her psychiatrist says, is likely life long damage (panic attacks and high anxiety.) I didn’t know to go to the Board. I didn’t know I should go to an attorney. I just kept trying to work with incompetent and unreasonable people. Until the last 5 days of school, the Principal actually said “I don’t think this is a school problem.” I said “At least you have finally told me the truth. You haven’t done anything, you aren’t going to do anything, and even though it only occurs on school property, under the supervision of school staff, it’s not your problem.” I left, and took my child to Private Education. I am lucky to have had that resource. If you don’t, find out your rights in your state. You have them. Find out the right’s of your child. Call the papers, call the ACLU, find any advocate you can. If your child has ADHD, he or she qualifies for 504 protection. GET IT! If your child has a psychiatric diagnosis, he or she qualifies for a 504. GET ONE! If your child does not qualify for an IEP but has another medical diagnosis, see if he or she qualifies for a 504. This offers your child more legal protection. Empower your children to advocate for themselves and speak up when something isn’t right as well. They too, have freedom of speech. Teach them not to let anyone, even adults, bully them. This behavior, is abhorrent and needs to stop. It’s not going to stop if we don’t speak up. I hope more studies are done on abuse in schools and that the idea that children can only be abused in the home is debunked. I’ve lived it. I am a teacher. I love teachers. However, I have spent my life advocating for, and working with children, and I won’t stop because I have to call out those in my chosen profession. It is possible for a teacher to be terrible at his or her job. It is possible for a teacher to be abusive and for this abuse to be ignored by admin. It is important to recognize that and speak out when needed.

  112. Dear Dr S. I am South African based and our education department doesn’t even answer their phones. My kids are in an ACE school Accelerated Christian Education. American PACE system. They are being abused by kids, teacher and especially by their Principle. My son’s health is already taking a turn for the worst. I’m at such a loss. Do you think your advice would apply in this rotten country As well. Sincerely

    Chantell Hann

    1. Hi Chantell

      Of course it would. But your battle is longer and harder because of the emotional state of the people in your county. But first you have to educate the people around you. You should share this article with parents, maybe startup a local parents blog or Facebook page, anonymous if you like. You can repost this article and encourage other parents to read and talk about it.

      The first step is always to raise consciousness about the problem!

  113. I read a piece today saying that special schools are using autistic people to train staff.
    FAR, far too late me old china’s!!
    I didnt wanna play the “poor me pity me” game but th school i went to forced me to!!

    You see, as a person with high functioning aspergers (AKA, the enemy) i didnt geg a very good education. And i doubt any one else did either or ever will.
    I left school 8 years ago in 2009.

    Over the seven years in education i suffered abuse from both students and teachers. But mostly from teachers, you had to do everything they said even if it was intimidating and not apropiate for higher functioning students, like babywork.
    If you didnt then the male teaching assistants physically punished you but throwing us against the wall and shout in our faces or indult us and call us nasty names, ruin our work and make us feel like second class citizens.
    The school hired thugs basically to teach vulnerable adults.

    And now I’m being asked to train people who want to work in he same field of work. Me? The enemy! One of the high functioning?
    Get fucked! I wanna see my school crashing down in flames! And i want my future children to grow up free of abuse and realise their full potential.

    I wont teach them to bully but to be kind and fair and judge people by their own merits and the content of their character.
    And i wont sacrifice one bit of their teenage years for some failed devisive fucking agenda.

    The name of the school is John Watson school in wheatley, beware! They will make your kids lives hell.

  114. Form of emotional abuse and isolation. my son teacher sending David out of her class on daily basis to other 4 grade teachers to do his work, or to complete his work to the principal office, and assistant principal office, and all the 4th grade teachers. Four different teachers Do you imagine the emotional abuse the embarrassment and then the humiliating . he feel he is not good student ,the teacher isolate him Form the class now he sit by himself in the corner of the class, it’s hard for him to see the chalkboard because he is wearing a long distant glasses. She think it teaching him a life skill. for David it is emotional abuse horror Show. Can you imagine the emotional that David or any other kids feel single out in a group of 20 kids or more the publicity that you label david back the center of the bad. The embarrassed the shame. While the teacher you figures treat David with derision and disrespect. the teacher not only degrading David you also isolated him from the class even terrorized by the physiological horror. Do you know how he feel now ?He being traumatized for a long period Of time In this School by other teacher before you. you are causing David more tremendous amount of pain. you have been humiliating have a negative disturbing impact of David you’re causing emotional abuse to David ,by the degrading him by kicking him out of the class and isolated him by himself ,for some thing very simple. and screaming on David on daily basis.
    David gotten in trouble for something that another child was doing as well, by the other child didn’t get in trouble yor Illustrated leader has isolated David .children and adults learn what is model to them if an authority figure like you isolation and degrading and abusing emotionally David the chances are that the kids watching are going to do it to David you are rejecting David you refusing to give him any chance or value worth ,by words and deeds .his feelings and thoughts are she don’t like me she is very mean to me. Then the children around David start to treat David the same way you treat David differently ,they laugh and point the finger on david and find other way to make David feel stupid. the negative remarks you made to toward David it’s taking a toll on him emotionally. You have no rights to make David or any other child feeling insecure and not worthy. I was simply saying there is a problem and we need to fix it now by talking about it and coming up with a positive plan. it is time to end this suffering for our children student and David. The emotional damage. Occurred in the school is doing damage to David it will remain with him for many years to come. I really hope that you don’t remove David from the class or a isolated David from the group because even cause emotional damage an abused and David will shut down on me ,and that’s a red flag. you have been charged to educate and protect motivating a supportive and encouraging the children in your class. please advice thank you

  115. I am a foreigner in a university where my Professor is a mini GOD. I have been told words. I want to save others i need help. Please if theres anyone from Malaysia who knows how to legally deal with these forms of abuse please share here. If i tell you i am 42 and being abused verbally so frequently, what do you think happens to 12 year olds and 15 year olds.

    Share with me legal details and i want to help STOP this rot.

  116. My room mate’s daughter has been told on a daily basis that she stinks by her guidance counselor. She does not stink. She bathes and washes her hair every night and wears clean clothes to school. When she goes to school, she is told by her counselor that she smells like urine, body odor etc a different smell every day. It’s gotten to the point where she takes a shower 2 to 3 times a day now and before she goes to school because she is afraid that she will be told that she stinks. Her sister goes to the same school, bathes every night etc and wears clean clothes as well. She goes to the same school as her sister and gets none of this from the counselor. I don’t know what they can do to stop this counselor from singling this poor girl out. It’s gotten to the point where social services has gotten involved. I can tell you that she doesn’t stink and now I’m afraid that she has developed a complex over this. Thank you for your time.

  117. My son was a victim of a shooting, the girl directly in front of him got killed, and he got shot twice in the arm. Well the community we live in is very prestigious, and we are on the lower end (poor) and black. The school, and the community is known to be racist.
    My son, and two other teens in the back seat were black. The community blamed the kids in the back for the shooting. Bottom line they all were smoking weed on the Detroit side to not get caught. Well the parents of the teen who got killed, said they found no traces of weed in her system. They nor the community reached out to the others (black kids) who were in the car. The grandfather, and family consoled another victims family of a another case as a way to tell the world they are not prejudice. What a good move.
    When my son went back to school the first thing that he encountered was a sit down meeting. Never asked does he need counseling, or someone to talk to. One counselor came into the room and started yelling at him, his child went to the same school as the girl who got killed. As a mother I feel bad now for not defending my son at that time. He couldn’t believe what was going on, he just keep crying.
    Every time my son did anything (drop a pencil) he was targeted. They even removed two staff members for sticking up for him. I thought my son could overcome, and fight them back but it broke him. He has suicide thoughts, and always tells me he hates it there. He suffers a lot, and he acts out through all the emotional strain he’s been through.
    Well come to find out it was a car jacking that went bad. They have people in custody, and are building a case. To this day no one said I’m sorry to him. I think it’s because they know what they did was wrong, and they don’t want to get exposed. But, I’m tired of hiding and not saying anything, and just complaining in my home. I’m tired of the stigma they put on my son as well as the infliction of being the villain.

  118. My son is 3 years old he just started going to school. where on the 4th day of the school he started crying and after some time he was scolded by his teacher. she said I am having headache go away if you want to cry. After that, my son is so much scared that he started crying when he is in his deep sleep and shows aggressive behavior like shouting pinching very hard beating.

  119. My son is 10 years old in the fourth grade, recently he was placed in a partition in his classroom. The principal and school made this decision without my consent!! My son is emotionally stressed,depressed and has no friends. The teacher yells at him in front of the other classmates. He has been experiencing nightmares and feeling alone,invisible and like a nobody!!
    Explained to me how the school feels that isolation is okay!! It’s only made things worse for him

  120. I work in an Early Childhood center, from EC-1 to Kindergarten. I have witnessed how teachers shamed children and, for a very long time, we teachers joked about how some kids fear their teachers, this and that. I remember one teacher telling us about how a child peed his pants in the library and he begged his nice teacher not to tell the *other* teacher. We listened and laughed about it, and we passed the story on. I felt sick when I think about it now, sick of our responses. Then I recall another occasion when I was included (rather abruptly) to be part of the “shame play”. Something felt wrong, but feeling obliged to work along with the teacher, I played along… I felt sick throughout the whole shame play, but couldn’t quite figure out a way to explain the emotions I’m going through. Then another event happened. One day I bumped into this *other* teacher in the hallway and she included me to be part of her “shame play”. I was stoned, didn’t have enough time to process what was going on. Then I looked at the children’s expression and I demanded her to stop it instantly. She didn’t get it, of course, but rather discouraged, she took the children back to her classroom.

    I want to be specific with some of the methods they applied. When the children (4-5-6 years old) don’t live up to their age, in fact, a better way to put it, is when they don’t live up to the teacher’s expectation (eg. crying, forget something, didn’t write well, play with dress, etc.), the child will be taken to the EC-1 (the 2 years old classroom) because “they are acting like a baby”. I questioned them in a meeting and they said it is an approved method as long as the teacher stays with them in the EC-1. I was speechless. I brought this up to the principle. And so far nothing has been done. And this is just one method among the many others that stands out. Many more are happening behind the closed classroom door, equally destructive.

    Reading this article has helped me in so many ways. I copied this whole page and pasted it on a notepad and saved the file in Kindle format… I am reading it whenever I’m free. At the same time, I also began to read Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline. I began to see the effect of some classic classroom approach (time out, public criticism, etc.) and how it impacts a child in negative ways. I am sorry for some of the things I have said and done to him because now I know he is hurting and he is letting it out in a wrong way. I changed my approach and I can see immediate improvement. Actually, I changed my heart and the way how I see this child and it changes everything.

    A child wants to feel belong and significant in the classroom environment. Single him out or trying to win over him doesn’t help, it makes it worst. Some children just submit themselves to the authority, some try to get even, some revenge and rebel, and some just shut down. If your child’s teacher seeks to control children by shaming them… debating on methods is pointless because they don’t see the “shame” part but only the result. They want to see a child submit to their control. If parent complaint about putting names on board is shaming, it is rather easy to just stop doing that but the “shame” approach is still very much filled in the classroom. Why? Because the intention of the heart remains unchanged.

    The combination of these unfortunate events and knowledge has been a blessing. It forced me to look and search deeper into myself as a parent and as a teacher. It saves my life, the life of my own child and children to whom their parents have entrusted us to care and nurture for. It is a process that requires us to swallow our own pride as an adult, to admit that we misused our power and authorities in ways we wish others wouldn’t know. I can’t change the *other* teacher, but the change begins with me, and with those who are reading this article. I started to encourage my student’s parents to question me if there is anything that happened in school that worries them, and “learn as much as you can about what happened in school”. As teacher, we need to be accountable for our actions. So often we tried to be diplomatic and only deliver the good aspect of the child when communicating to the parent. But recently I found out that it is equally important to communicate areas that concern us in the classroom. When parents know they often work with their child at home. In a home setting, children are at ease and are more receptive for what their parents have to say to them. So far it has worked miraculously well.

    My advice to parents is this, make a consistent effort in knowing what happened in school with your child and teacher. Learn techniques on how to communicate with your child about what happened in school (often very, highly accurate), and on how to communicate to your child’s teacher at school without making teacher feels offended or underappreciated. Learn how to appreciate their effort (teaching is not easy!) When you are being consistent with your concern, teachers, even the nasty ones will be alert and will pay attention to how they treat your child. Imagine the impact it’ll make when all parents are sensitive and knowledgeable to Toxic Socialization and Emotional Abuse. In my career I have met highly committed teacher that abuses children emotionally because of the lack of awareness in this matter. They are so committed to the standards and will do whatever it takes to achieve them. They think they are doing our children a favor. I’m not justifying the abuse. I guess what I’m trying to say is everyone needs the benefits of the doubt sometimes.

    The change begins in us. Whenever you see an adult shaming a child in public, stand up for it, protect the child from further damage. You don’t have to say much, you just have to show that you’re protecting the child. If you’re parent, be thankful for someone who cares enough to rebuke you. I am not a perfect parent, just a few days ago I got very upset with my child and I have said things that are not wise and loving. However I was able to shut my mouth sooner now, and often wait until we both feel better before I open my mouth again.

    Thank you Dr. Sosteric! This article truly opens my mind and heart!

  121. Your article and many of the comments have made me cry, cry in the relief that i am not going mad, my Son has gone through this emotional abuse, he has had a dinner lady shout in his face, she then admitted her guilt and to this day is still employed at the School despite my complaints, the head teacher condoned her behaviour. He has had teachers and it is the same teachers every day quote to him “you report a lot of teachers to your parents don’t you, the more you report them the more unbelievable it will become” that is a quote used by an abuser the shhhh don’t tell the adults about this quote, yet the head teacher has condoned his member of staff.

    My Son has changed why because all of the forms of abuse have been used on him and as a result of course he will change, if adults in charge use their power in the wrong way it does have an impact on the child, My Son is living proof. In years to come there will be a lawsuit for all the students abused in certain Schools, for the students who have turned into adults it will be too late for them but at least if complaints are put in to the School a paper trail will show the abuse, blaming parents is silly, my Son spends a lot more time with these teachers than his family, by the time he has suffered the torment of the day he has nothing left for his family, we see the abuse, we report the abuse and what is the end result……the School just get rid of the child, which is what they are doing to my Son, they have labelled him the problem, why because as parents we reported the abuse and we have proof that they tried to cover it up, they think that getting rid of him will stop the allegations and they will be scott free, the truth is eventually someone will be caught overstepping the mark, and then my Son and hundreds like him will get some help. Teachers need to realise they are raising the next generation, that they need to be careful of what they do and say, that they are not in a position of power and that they have no right to abuse! what do i tell my Son, well i tell him that the teachers will always be teachers, the abusers will always abuse and karma will get them one day, he on the other hand can be whatever he wants to be, and he will get through this as will we.

    This is a brilliant article, just brilliant please keep up your good work as somewhere you may be helping not just a student but an adult who is in the midst of trying to state the same points.

  122. At least in my book, I feel I have witnessed a verbally abusive teacher. Screaming 1 inch away from a 6 y.o. (special education students) face. She screams all the time. I have seen this teacher also be physical, When I tried to report it, I am told , “that’s what you consider to be abusive. Also, its no good because I don’t have anyone who can back up the instances I’ve described. She has lost control in the cafeteria but no one will say anything. Shes even thrown out a student (5 y.o.) lunch because he wouldn’t sit right. Again I was told there is no law saying she can’t do that. This is in NJ and I just can’t believe a special ed teacher has gotten away with this. is this correct?

  123. Thank you for this I am a teacher. I see verbal and emotional abuse daily. I finally spoke out at a board meeting. I am now being retaliated against by the entire staff faculty and administration Lawyer won’t talk to me because it’s not considered anything. My own students are being retaliated against for being the students of a teacher who blew the whistle on others. No one protects these kids. The teacher unions in my state protects the abusers

  124. I live in the UK and currently schools are still a law unto themselves. Our son was badly bullied by his year 4 teacher at the age of 7 for being different (At the time he had tics, later diagnosed as Tourette’s syndrome and flapped his arms and jumped up and down when excited) and also because she didn’t like us, as we as parents had had to complain to the head about her unacceptable behaviour, when reprimanding our older boy who has ADD in front of his class, by using threatening to hit him as an example. Our 7 year old son’s friends told us that if she passed our son in class she would tell him to adjust his wig. At the time our son had a tic which made him impulsively flatten his hair on top and run the outside of his hands over his ears. Her doing this encouraged his tics and singled him out for ridicule by his peers. It all came to a head one day when my son came out of school utterly distraught that he had been sent to the head and he didn’t know why and that all his class had laughed at him in gym class and again he didn’t know why. Another boy from his class was also walking home with his mum and he told us it was because the teacher had stood behind my son just before he did his gym routine and done an impression of my son jumping up and down and flapping his arms, which had made the class laugh. I rang a number of parents of my son’s class that evening and their children all confirmed what the teacher had done. We kept our son at home and home schooled him, we complained to the head who said he would investigate but he didn’t, the teacher wasn’t suspended either. We contacted the police, the local council child protection line and the school governors and appealed against their decision that she had done nothing wrong. The school didn’t want to act because she brought a lot of positive press to the school through her gymnastics team and netball team. We gathered evidence by other parents whose children had also been victimised by the same teacher, mainly for being overweight (She taught gymnastics every lunchtime and particularly despised children with a weight problem) or having a special educational need like ADHD or ASD and took it all to our local MP. We went to our local bullying charity for advice, we wrote to the Department of Education as did our local MP on our behalf. Our local MP also visited the school and spoke to the new head about our concerns. All of these avenues failed, the only option left to try to get the bullying teacher dealt with was to go to the press, which we didn’t want to put our son through, so eventually we had to give up and felt we had failed to protect our son as parents, or get justice and moved him to another school. This isolated him from most of his small group of friends, I think perhaps because some of the parents were scared of keeping contact, as they were intimidated as their child was still being taught by this dysfunctional teacher, so they may have feared their child being bullied by her because of their continued association with our son and us. It was a nasty business and I think most parents wanted to distance themselves from it. My son is now 16 and is having counselling for Gender dysphoria, after becoming increasingly socially isolated, withdrawn and depressed and his counsellor thinks all his current issues stem from the bullying and traumatic experience of this time when our son was only 7. This makes me so angry still, sad and impotent that this was allowed to happen in our current school system and there was no avenue to prevent it, stop it or protect our innocent child, or the other children, some now adults who have also undoubtedly been emotionally damaged by this self same teacher.

  125. in middle school in 6th grade i got written up and had 3 detentions total for crying which i couldnt help and was left out, like a year later i was yelled at by one of the learning assistants who walked in 7th or 8th grade which got me scared and i was humilulated this was in a regular classroom infront of my friends in high school the athletic director told me while helping the football team i couldnt get photos with cheerleaders who ive known all my life, i was placed in life skills class which was embarrassising to go to everyday and didnt want my friends know i was retarded mentally with aspergers, i have few friends who i keep in touch with, after leaving my high schools team i went to another school help out their team who better treats me

  126. You need to spend time in the school with these uncontrollable “brats” All of this mumbo, jumbo from people who are not in the classroom with students in grades as low as kindergarten and first grade who stand on tables and give the class the middle finger, tell them “fuck you”, scream at the top of their lungs, destroy the classroom, and take valuable learning time away from the other children who deserve an education; has done nothing but destroy the classroom setting. As of the beginning of school year in Michigan one cannot do ANYTHING with these kids. The schools are becoming a zoo. Anyone who would go into education in this day and age needs to really reconsider. The classrooms are like the old movie “SnakePit”. Thanks to crap being published like this. These kids on all on the fast track to prison. They are no longer learning that they have to follow rules. Most of them come from dysfunctional homes where all the problems originated. Their poor little feelings will be hurt a lot more when they are contained and restrained behind prison walls

    1. And what is your solution Ruth? To beat the kids and hurt them even more? To squeeze their little arms until you cause them real pain? To isolate them, or publicly shame them? I don’t think hurting disobedient children is going to fix your school system’s problems. In fact, the evidence clearly shows that hurting children causes more problems than it fixes.

      Maybe you need to update your educational credentials. You seem kinda “old school” on this issue.

      1. Very well said, Michael S. Thank you for your reply. As I was reading her comment, I couldn’t believe that in this day in age, please like Ruth have these beliefs. We are referring to children. I really hope she is not in the educational field.

      2. I think there is a middle ground that is not being addressed here. Trauma affects kids, but most of that trauma comes from things that happen to children in the home. My students are exposed to violence, drugs, and many other forms of neglect by their parents. That is not something that I, as their teacher, have anything to do with.

        However, teachers have to have control of their classrooms. This is just a fact. Calling out bad behavior by a kid is not abuse. I usually try to tell them why their behavior is inappropriate. Sending a kid to the principal or suspending a kid is not abuse. Telling a kid that they are losing a privilege for their inappropriate behavior is not abuse.

        We have to be able as teachers to teach kids right from wrong because so many parents are not doing their duty in this area. I’ll admit, once and while I will raise my voice at a student. I will tell them no. That is not abuse. That is teaching students right from wrong. It is stopping them from continuing a bad habit that will get them into serious trouble when they become adults.

        I read a lot of the comments on here. Some of the parents or commenters do talk about abuse, but many are just complainers who want to blame teachers and schools for their lack of being parents. You can’t do that. Someday, they are going to have to take some responsibility for their actions as parents.

        Also, they are doing no service to their children if they always try to justify or excuse their children’s behaviors. My mother didn’t let me get away with acting out in school. She worked with the teacher to correct bad behaviors that I had, and she was not afraid to tell me no or that I was acting inappropriately. That is why I knew what was wrong and right. She taught me this. How many parents can get off their phones long enough nowadays to even have a conversation with their children about anything?

        I agree with the above comment that we have let kids have a lot of control in classes. I not advocating humiliating or physically hurting kids, but there does need to be set standards in a classroom on how children should act. Also, schools should be able to remove children from classrooms that disrupt the learning of the other students in the room. When a student is constantly acting out and disrupting a room, nobody in that room can learn. The students in the classroom don’t deserve that. They deserve a functional classroom where they can learn. The disruptive student needs to lose a privilege for their behavior, and they need to be sent to the office where their parent is called.

        Now, you can say that I need to “update” my old school beliefs or whatever other anti-teacher rhetoric you are spewing, but I hold firmly to idea that discipline is not bad for children. It is what is going to stop those children from being in jail or burdens on society. No teacher is advocating abuse, but calling out bad behavior has never been abusive. I agree with the notion that it is articles like this that make it harder for teachers to do their jobs. It just ridiculous that this nonsensical article even exists.

        Perhaps you should write an article on ACE’s for parents to understand what adverse childhood experiences are doing to children. Perhaps you should recommend that parents read Help for Billy or watch Paper Tigers to understand that their role as parents is one of the most important predictors of whether or not children are functioning well in a classroom. You won’t do that, will you? It is just easier to blame the teacher for whatever occurs in the classroom.

        My suggestion would be for parents that concerns to contact the teacher first. Don’t go over their head to the principal because you will have problems if you do. If that doesn’t work, go to the principal. Keep your cool through the process. I won’t talk to a parent that cusses at me or degraded me. I will just say the conversation is over and they need to talk to the principal.

        I also want parents to understand that your children are different at school. They might be okay at home, but that does not mean they are angels at school. I always tell parents the facts, and some seem shocked by the facts. However, school is different than home. At home, they get to do the things they like. There is structure at school. I teach math, and some kids don’t like math. They will try anything to get out of doing it including causing a scene in class.

        Lastly, I encourage parents to take time to visit a school. Come in and watch your child or volunteer in a classroom. Eat lunch with them. You might be shocked by what you see. You angel might not be so angelic.

        Just remember that teachers are here for you children. We have a crappy pay, and we spend our days getting cussed out and physically hurt by many of your children, but we come back everyday because we love our students. We want them to be successful. We want them to rise above all the adversity they face everyday. We need your help to make this a reality.

    2. My little “brat” is being bullied not only by students, but by a so called paraprofessional. His dysfunctional home started way before he came to us and we adopted him. He is high needs special needs. He was abused physically and emotionally. So as a teacher knowing his background that would intentionally set him off by not listening to him and snapping in his face or even at him is acceptable behavior? My child has been labeled a LIAR and trouble maker. Might I add he has behavior problems and has from day one of him coming to us. It’s a part of his special needs! The school he went to before we moved to a different state had no problems with dealing with and accommodating his needs when his behaviors were uncontrollable. He was in a “normal” classroom setting all, but 90 mins of his day that he was in a special education classroom. This school has him in a “special” classroom everyday all day.

  127. I picked my son Josh (not his real name) up from school one day, while driving home from school I noticed something wasn’t right, I asked him if he wanted to tell me about it and he immediately started crying, I asked him to please tell me what made him so upset.
    He told me how Ms O, totally humiliated and embarrassed another student in front of the entire class and how she used his mother that has passed over against him. Although he was not the recipient of the emotional abuse it still had a emotional effect on him.

    Here is what happened through the eye of my own son, although this was his perception, I as a mother confirmed the events with other mothers, who spoke to their own children and who all confirmed what my son experienced was in actual fact what took place.

    Before I rely the events as best as I can, please keep in mind that the student who was the recipient of the emotional abuse lost his mother 3 years ago. He is not coping well at school, probably because of the extremely traumatic event. Yes, even after 3 years. Now, having lost my own mother at an early age I completely understand that the grieving process varies from person to person and that there is no timeline for getting over such a huge loss. In fact, being a HSP it took me almost 10 years to finally accept the loss of my mother but this is not about me.

    So, while in class, Ms O, the teacher was explaining something to the students. She noticed that (let’s call him Kai) was not writing anything down. In front of the entire class she got upset and asked Kai “Why are you not writing this down? You need every mark you can get you are failing”.

    This is the first thing I found unacceptable. I know there is a federal law called FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act) for America which basically states that student records, such as grades, are private between the school and the student (and her family, if she is under 18). I am not sure we have anything like that in SA however is it still ethical to do so?

    Ms. O then continues and compares Kai to other children in the class who are doing better than him.

    “Look at Sam and his brother Nick, they were not even born in this country and they doing better than you in English which isn’t even their first language”.

    As a professionally trained teacher Ms O must be aware that no two children are the same, every child is unique; they are not and will never be someone else. Each child have different talents, interests, strengths, perspectives, life experiences, likes and dislikes, we all have different needs. Even more so when they have experience something as traumatic as losing a parent.

    Direct comparisons can make a child feel very resentful. When it’s made clear to them that they’re not as good as another at something, they not only feel bitter towards you, but also towards the other child.
    Do you really want to foster antagonism between your students?
    No you do not.
    Low self-esteem issues usually have their root in childhood, I honestly believe that comparing children to each other, serves absolutely no purpose! It only makes our children feel that they’re inferior to others and not worthy.

    It also risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Over time your child will absorb the message that they’re not good enough, and start to believe it.
    When children start believing that they are incapable of performing well or living up to the expectations of their teachers or parents (even their dead mother) it can be very damaging for their personal and academic growth.

    Why bother trying if they’re not going to succeed? And so that’s precisely what happens.
    The child is effectively set up to fail.

    Just because some of your other students perform better in certain areas does not mean that you can diminish another person’s worth as a human being.

    To make matters worse MS O continues on her abusive tantrum and says the following to Kai: “I am going to be sad to see Simon go next year but I’m not sad to see you going. The only reason why we are passing you is so we can get you out of here”.

    Why would Ms. O be sad to see Simon go and not Kai? Is there something wrong with Kai? Is there truly something so bad about him and absolutely unacceptable to Ms O that she can’t wait to get rid of him?

    Is he not a human being like all the other students in your class that is deserving of love deserving of kindness, deserving of people’s respect, deserving of people’s appreciation, deserving of consideration, deserving of compassion and understanding?

    Does Ms. O not think that if Kia is held up negatively against his other class mates that this won’t affect his self-worth and development?

    If this was not enough, Ms O then continues and says ““I know your mommy is in heaven now but I know she must be disappointed in you”. Kai at this point starts to cry. Ms. O says ‘Cry see if I care’?

    What I want to know is how does Ms. O know that Kai’s Mom must be so disappointed in him?
    Did Ms. O know Kais mom? Did Ms. O know what kind of a person Kai’s mom was, what she liked most about life?
    Is Ms. O a clairvoyant? Is Ms. O a Clairaudient? Is she a Medium, does she speak to people who have passed over?

    Then please tell me, how it is that Ms. O know with certainty that Kai’s mom must be so disappointed in him? How is it that a professionally trained teacher can use a child’s biggest pain, the loss of a parent against him?

    From personal experience I know that grief can have a tremendous impact on a student’s ability to stay on track, stay focussed, and stay enthusiastic about school and life? In fact for a lot of children, just the mere act of getting up in the morning can be a challenge! Did you also know that a relapse in acute grief also occur? It can be triggered by stressful situations (being bullied by an authority figure), special holidays, and the anniversary of the death?

    At this point one of the student actually stands up to Ms. O and tell her that she has gone too far, and that Kai has to live with this pain every day of his life.

    Ms. O replies to this and says: “Yes, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind”

    Now I know “Cruel to be kind” also means tough love, right? So, sometimes we have to use a little tough love to compel our kids to change their behaviour?

    My question is just: “how is devaluing Kai by using the loss of his mother tough love?

    When we as adults use motivational tools like these which is also called the Pain and Pleasure concept in psychology we really need to make sure we understand the underlining principle of the tool we are using.

    All people, all situations are not the same. Defining what we mean by cruel and being very careful about our application of these principles requires wisdom and deliberation.
    Having consequences can change behaviour, I absolutely agree with that. However using tough love, where we belittle a child for failing to get a good grade can have extreme long-lasting negative repercussion.

    Tough love does not mean that the child suffer the ill effects of abusive behaviour from the adults, because it is not abusive, and preserves the dignity of the child. And it never undermines the child’s self-esteem.

    In this respect, tough love becomes virtually meaningless other than to have a negative impact on the child’s self-esteem and self-worth.

    Negative feedback is best given real time, or immediately after the fact, not at the end of the year when the child is already failing. Furthermore, negative feedback is absolutely useless without a model for how to do better.

    Sure, I completely understand that Ms. O’s job is challenging and frustrating at times – but so is everybody else’s. I personally know individuals who manages more than 60 people at any given time. Is it easy, absolutely not! But they do not as far as I know openly insult and humiliate their staff in front of the entire office. If they did I am sure they would be dismissed as it against HR policy.

    And although it might make Ms. O feel better to get her own worries and insecurities off her chest, venting a string of criticisms to a student, it seldom produces improved behaviour. In fact, it usually creates resentment and passive resistance.

    I understand that no one is perfect, we all make mistakes. There Are No Perfect Teachers and There Are No Perfect Students. Teachers are human and it’s unfair of parents to expect them never to utter a hurtful word. I also understand that teacher may have daily challenges when they are in charge of a classroom of children, it can be challenging to meet every student’s needs and maintain a level of control. And I most certainly not saying all teachers are like, this it is probably one or two bad apples who spoils it for the rest of the teachers who do their best.

    But no one should have to endure the treatment that was imposed on Kai from Ms. O, especially not from an authority figure who is supposed to be looking out for our kid’s best interest.

    Regarding the effect of this type of emotional abuse. Children learn what is modelled to them, so if an authority figures models isolation, degradation, humiliation and embarrassment as a tool to get what they want, chances are that our children watching this are going to do it to. Ms. O is effectively teaching our children how to handle difficult situations in the wrong way. (Manipulate, control, humiliate).

    There can be a snow ball effect. Adults model emotional abuse to children, and children take the hammer and bring it down even harder on others.

    The risk of witnessing emotional abuse of another student and discord should not be downplayed either, it is important to ascertain the impact that such experiences might have on these students. Children/students who see or experience abuse are at risk for adjustment difficulties in emotional, psychological and cognitive domains. Individual responses can vary considerably, there is no one “typical reaction”.

    Here is what happened next…..

    Mrs Edison (father of Kai), requested a meeting with Mrs G the headmaster, however was declined as they had no time to see Mr. Edison regarding this matter yet were able to have several meetings with Kia on the same day without the presence of his father and where he was subjected to intimidating questioning, in the presence of other staff members, including Mrs O,. In this way, Kia was unfortunately subjected to further emotional abuse and distress which has further disadvantaged him.

    Now, I would like to please have input, feedback and suggestions. Because I do not know how to proceed.

    If we as parents stand up against the school will our own children receive the same treatment? I am almost 100% sure of that.

    Understand that we live in South Africa, we cannot simply move our children to a different school, our schools are full and beside that we are only allowed to enter our children in the school which falls inside the district in which we actually live.

    This specific school claims that they have the highest pass right in our area, yet is this even true as Ms. O claimed that they are passing Kai just to get him out of there? Is this really the best thing for the student in the long run?

  128. I went to halifax christian academy. I was being physically abused at home by my father (his favourite thing was picking me up by my neck and throwing me up, down or simply at the stairs. I was the top of my class and unofficially tutored several of my classmates and was almost always extremely empathetic. At 12, what my dad was doing to me really hit me for the first time. It was wrong and I shouldn’t have to put up with it. No one believed me, and I developed a very severe eating disorder, started cutting myself almost every day and had my first suicide attempt. I got very depressed and my grades slipped slightly and my personality drastically changed. I know the personality change had a lot to do with the medications I was put on that I said were making me worse. The principal of my school started a witch hunt. She saw I had changed and thought it was by choice. She called the parents of all the students in my class and told them to not let their children hang out with me. This happened in grade 8, when I was 13. I had been in the same class as several of these students since primary. I was now isolated, even more than I thought possible. The next year, I was raped by one of the guys who went to the school. I was 14, he was 18 and my sister’s ex bf. I became further depressed and started acting out in constant pain, fear and anger. My principal began to treat me worse. I was locked in her office for 3hrs one afternoon and not allowed to call my mother to come get me. I was sent there because I disagreed with my health teacher who said standing around a camp fire was the same as smoking. Another time my principal attempted to barricade me in her office because my eye shadow was too dark. The principal had looked at my friend with dark brown eyeshadow, then at me with pale green and told me to go to her office which I was confused and upset by. When I tried to leave her office because she was just yelling at me, she shoved her foot in front of the door to block it. I ended up getting it open and ran down the hall crying where I hugged one of my only friends I had left. The principal made a rule at the beginning of the year that students couldnt wear wristbands. This was only enforced on students she suspected were cutters. I had a long sleeve blouse on but you could see the deep cuts all around my wrist under the cuff. When she came up to me in my friends arms, she yelled at him to get off me and he backed off very startled. She then looked down to see which wrist was covered in cuts, reached down, grabbed it, twisted and attempted to pull me down the hall. I immediately fell to the floor and just started crying even more loudly.I soon left the school. This left me isolated to deal with my depression and trauma. The mental health system treated me terribly. I then went through 8 years of abusive (physically and sexually) relationships, suicide attempts, rape, hospitalizations and substance abuse issues. I know my school didn’t cause all that, but treated a traumatized child so terribly and leaving them so alone greatly increases their chances of going through more trauma. The way I was treated at school was justified to them by the fact I wasn’t a good Christian. At the time I still believed in god, but now Christianity is a pseudo trauma trigger (I say pseudo because of all the more intense traumas I went through). It didn’t help that at the school they went on almost constantly about how people were basically worthless if they were no longer virgins, especially females and that sexual assault is equally the victim’s/woman’s fault. They shamed me very publicly for my depression and instability and they unknowlingly shamed me for the rape I had suffered. This school is still running and has tons of things like encouraging critical thinking, spreading god’s love, being supportive and caring, etc. on their website. It’s bad enough a number of people who almost killed me in the mental health system (medication interactions, saying very unwise things to anyone who has been through trauma, kicking me out of the hospital for having a flashback in -20 weather, etc)have won awards for their work or are considered experts in their fields on matters they ignored or drastically worsened with me, but I have so much dread that this school will treat other students with mental illness as pariahs or shame rape victims into not disclosing the incident to anyone for fear of judgment. The world is dark and terrifying as well as beautiful and full of endless possibilities. Children’s happiness and zest for life should be protected and fostered as long as possible. There are enough cases of child abuse in homes, it shouldn’t happen at school. It is extremely dangerous for a child to be suffering abuse at home and school.

  129. I just got done dealing with a situation at my 6 year old daughter’s school that I think needs to be significantly investigated. My daughter, who is known to have some developmental delays and is on an IEP, got suspended for threatening her general education teacher with a pencil. When she got home, her father questioned her about what happened. She stated that the teacher “shoved her with the buckets”, and that the pencil incident was after this. Daughter was able to re-enact the scene too. She also claimed that the teacher yelled “get out of my classroom”. At one point, one of the aides from the Special Education department needed to get my daughter to sit in a chair. She apparently gripped my daughter’s upper arms with enough force that my daughter said “It really hurt.” Daughter’s response was to pull the hair of this aide. There were marks still present on her arms the the next morning. I had a half hour meeting with the principal, the Special Education Teacher, and the School Counselor, who all took the situation extremely seriously. Violent behavior is unusual for my daughter, and always results when she is hurt or scared. I agreed with her being suspended, but emphasized that these incidents need to be thoroughly investigated. Because of the obvious physical markings, which we do have pictures of, we contacted the police, and the school district’s investigation unit also contacted me. Daughter’s story has not changed at all, and this is a 6 year old.

    For all you teachers who are trying to find a way to justify the actions, understand, I do not expect teachers not to get angry. Teachers are humans and just as subject to bad decisions as the rest of us. I also fully believe that my daughter needed to be restrained; however, this can be accomplished without leaving a mark. Nurses in dementia units have to restrain violent adults without leaving a mark; teachers should have the skills to do so with children.

    The district and the principal are being EXTREMELY proactive in handling this. The real reason I was concerned enough to bring this to the attention of the administrators is the major behavioral changes that have been noticed by both the school and us as parents. All year we have been trying to figure out what is causing these outbursts, and have been unable to form a reasonable explanation. Inappropriate classroom management techniques could be the issue.

    The little things I have noticed while handling this situation, and trying to understand my daughter’s issues, have caused me extreme discomfort; some very bad memories have returned. This whole situation, and situations like it are a huge trigger for me. I swore to myself when I became a mother that I would always listen to my children’s concerns and investigate thoroughly.

    I am more aware of the things an abused child will do than many. I was once this child; the abused child; the withdrawn child; the child who spoke up and was ignored and gave up. I suffered through more than 7 years of hell at the hands of a teacher, who just happened to also be the principal. The damage is real. My self-esteem is fragile at best, and non-existent all together too often. I was suicidal by 3rd grade, and still have to conscientiously steer my thoughts away from such negative thought patterns weekly. The psychological scarring has affected my relationships; my current spouse frequently worries about my constant need for approval and validation.

    My abuse was all the worse because I was forced to watch my brother, who is 6 years younger than me, endure the same treatment – all for being a hyperactive boy. We weren’t the only 2 victims either. There were others I remember. I also remember a revolving door of students in the school. When my parents realized what was happening, even though I had made my best attempts to communicate the situation multiple times, I was immediately moved to another school. Just imagine how horrible it was for me to be told I was worthless, and an insufferable liar, constantly at school, and then to have my parents tell me “You’re just upset because you got in trouble at school again.”

    When the abuser was caught by my parents, I was 14, and in 9th grade. My mother had the unfortunate experience of watching the teacher heap her verbal abuse on me when she was called in for a conference about my behavior that day. The whole school heard her verbal dressing down. My classmates got to see my blood red upper arms, and disheveled hair. Everybody was trying to figure out how to get me out of the situation; a bunch of teenagers against the principal. That night, I told my parents everything that had been done to both me and my brother. I even told them about the other students being abused. I had known it was wrong the entire time, but now I had somebody listening.

    To place all behaviors directly on parental guidance, when, in many cases, the teachers have as much contact with the children as the parents do, is exceedingly ignorant. All aspects of an individual’s environment will affect their behavior – peers, parents, teachers, medical professionals, extended family members, pets – ALL have an effect. The parents are not only responsible for instilling good habits and behaviors, the teachers bear part of this as well.

    I fully believe that teachers need tools with which to discipline students who repeatedly break the rules, but that these methods need to maintain the respect afforded the student. I do believe that school staff need to have appropriate methods for restraining students, for the safety of EVERYONE. I fully believe that the parents and the school staff should actively work together to help all the students have the best educational experience possible. In short, as my daughter’s school counselor said in our meeting “It takes a village.”

  130. my transgender daughter, now recognised as a male, goes to a college in the uk. I work in the education system, so i know quite a lot alreaady. my son has a tutor who regularly shouts at him and regularly puts false information on his etracker, A system whereby other tutors can see what the student is like in other lessons. My son obviously has access to this too. just lately it’s getting really bad to the point that she wrote He was asked to leave the lesson due to not working, what she neglected to say is that it was 2 minutes before the end of the lesson. She claims he swore at her yet He has several witnesses that say no swear words were heard or used. she has even invaded his personal and intimate space to the point that he was cornered and couldn’t move. It’s starting to affect him mentally. we have tears,sleeping problems, lack of appetite and now the dread of a disciplinary action based on misleading information and lies. He went to his student guidance helper and explained he thought he was being targeted/victimised. the response was that he could not make that accusation against a member of staff as it would come crashing back down on him. What can i do? at the last meeting the tutor and supervisor just sat and smirked and made fun of his concerns. I’m absolutely fuming

  131. For as long as I can remember I feel or experience rejection ever since I was still in nursury and it may not have affected my academic performances at School it did affect my social life,I started to get uncontrolably mad at the age of 6 and even if I want to stop I just can’t do it until I let all of my anger and hate that was Building up inside of me…and with my parents being overprotective of me..I started to feel that I was abnormal and so from a Young age and maybe up until now I believe that socializing is worthless and that people will just judge you no matter what you do…

  132. Got to love the school that emotional abuses your daughter, then calls you to explain said matter and that the abuser would apologize the next day. Instead of that happening as promised, this parent was reported to “county authorities” because the school “had reason to believe there were troubles at the home.” While the noncustodial parent had issues, this custodial parent did in no way deserve to be thrown under their bus. Greers Ferry West Side in Arkansas, way to go. You got away with it just like most abusers do. Shame on you.

  133. Omg, I only got to the part u mentioned ur daughter threatened to be humiliated, punished, labeled different( as of coarse it screamsthat to the victom and all who watched, demeaned n shamed of her performance…….ugh I cud go on and on…Id lose it wether it was my kid or anothers at my child school, I wud n have in the past stood up for others children, I wud publicaly talk bout their abusive behavior, insenctivity, lack of compensate as a teacher, civil servant, child advocate, etc etc and then xplain, can u see how ur “behavior” made these feeling occur n imagine u again as my daughters age, how do u think u wud feel being treated like that by ur teacher, the person u trust ur parents n community trust to help guide,educate, teach thru modeling healthy self image, good character,compassion, underdstanding and tolerance,MOST IMPOTANTLY SELF CONFIDENCE, Was doing these things to you?………. Ive always had a way to try tomake people see their behavior thru honesty n talking but their actions n how it affects themselves or others and then show them mercy thru understanding n explaining I care enuf bout them by bringing it up and then cheer them on n offer future emotionl support… and as a matter of fact Im doing this sam subject now w my son’s school , I have a HSC and empath son and long story short, Ive always told my son teachers shud not xpect children to act as adults n b remain quite n sit still,, set incorsiderrent tules as in expect this for the cildren but the adults get passes, that they are to expect to be respected just as the teacher is………N I FUCKING HAD IT, IM ALSO A EMPATH N HSP LIKE MY SON… AND IM FIGHTING FOR TEACHERS TO BE GIVING SENSITIVTY TRAINING ETC ETC, AFTER THEY ARE PRAISED FOR BEING CIVIL SERVANTS WHO CHOSE TO TEACH OUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN and teach them times are changing our children TAHNK GOD r being born more sensitive in general these generations…. my poor child has suffered in school, hated it since grade K, never gets in trouble, is brite and A student, n the school teachers affected my poor child beyond what u can imagine…… love n peace all, im gona try to pick up where I left off but if these stories get so OMG WHAT WRONG W THEM, ill get triggered n have to protect myself n how much I take on emotionally or Im greatly affected – ‘ily by it

  134. My seven-year-old second grader has been telling me that his teacher is mean, he expressed this to me the first day of school. At first, I took it with a grain of salt as he is the sensitive type, and thought she was more the strict type. We did everything to smooth things over. I talked to him about some people are like that and he needed to try his hardest to listen and be respectful of his teacher. He said she would not answer his questions, she made nasty faces at him, always frowned at him, and that no matter how hard he tried he never got picked for the “Friday eat lunch with the teacher in her room than watch a movie.” Apparently, she picked 5-9 kids every Friday, with no set criteria, only being the “good kids.” I did email his teacher after she took his shoes away and made him go outside for recess and set by a wall with no shoes on. The teacher assured me that my son was not a troublemaker and she had no idea why he thought she didn’t like him. Long story short, after a few weeks he began crying and saying he didn’t want to go to school. He came home one Friday and said he just wanted to go to heaven, that is when I knew something was wrong. I called the principal and school counsellor and requested a meeting. They tried to dismiss everything as my son’s perception of his teacher. They said they would let the teacher know and I thought she would try to make an effort, her being an adult. No such luck, things got worse and I finally talked to two other parents, one parent told me that she had heard my concerns from a couple of other parents. And some other parents seemed to think things were going well. I did find out from this parent that her child was one of the chosen children and she didn’t like it as her child was having lunch in the teacher’s room as much as four times a week. She thought her child should be eating with friends and playing outside. The principal told me I should not be talking behind the teacher’s back to other parents. And now my son would be removed from the class and into a new class. Business as usual for the teacher, who I feel was gaslighting my seven-year-old. In Colorado, there is no way to get answers, you can not call CPS as they do not take calls about teachers, they refer you to the police department. Now I am also blackballed at the school. It is very frustrating because they told me that my son was now causing trouble and none of my information matter because parents need to come forward, likely they will not, if they know what is good for them!

  135. I have an 11 year old daughter who has been bullied by two girls in the class for about 1-1/2 years now. One of the girls stalks her and spends her time following her, talking about her, making up lies and has even “accidentally” knocked her over. The school had to get the mother involved and after some threats of expulsion, she now just lurks from a distance, but still talks about her to others so the problem is still there and I’m afraid of when it’s going to start up again.
    The second girl is in sports with my daughter. She is jealous because a boy in the class likes my daughter (my daughter’s isn’t romantically interested in boys yet – she’s 11), and this girl likes him so every chance she gets, she does pretty nasty things to her. She encourages the team members to not hit the ball to her in volleyball and now in basketball is trying to get the team to pretend she isnt’ there. My struggle with a lot of this is the fact that there are 3 other girls that just stand there and dont’ say anything, three of them……they are nice to my daughter, but when things happen, they pretend like they dont’ know what happened. I’ll give you an example. They have a rewards system that if you get a +5 in behavior, you can pick from a list of rewards, one is that you and 2 friends can each lunch int he teacher’s room with music and games. This girls BEGGED the teacher to let her pick 3 friends instead of 2, the teacher finally gave in and let her. He is well aware of the severity of the bullying and the fact my kid is in therapy because of this….that’s another kick, MY child is in therapy, not these beasts of children that need the help. The teacher must have done the math and realized the reason this girls wanted to pick three was to include the group EXCEPT my daughter so she would be alone at lunch. The teacher went down to the lunchroom and sat with her out of guilt. Here’s my problem with the whole thing, number 1. He let her have 3, when the rule is two. Number 2. his solution is to go sit with my daughter to “fix” it, instead of addressing the fact that this girl used a reward to isolate and bully my daughter, she still got to have the reward along with the other girls instead of being punished for pulling the stunt. Number 3. The teacher now banned that choice of the lunch due to his error, but he won’t admit that he unwittingly helped the bully crush my kid again.
    I spoke with the coach of the team, his own daughter had the SAME problems with this bully’s older sister and his own daughter on the team last year. He promised to keep any eye on things, split the girls up and focus on making sure they understand that a team has each other’s back on and off the court.
    This bully also pulled another stunt 3 weeks ago, she talked a boy into sitting in my daughter’s spot at lunch for about a week so that my daughter couldn’t sit with the group. My daughter is introverted so she just say with a couple of boys in the class and said nothing. Then she got that same boy to come over to the table after of week of this and single out my daughter sitting with two boys and which one was dating her and trying to slut shame (yes, this is a religious school, and once again, 11 year olds in 6th grade). The boys she was sitting with made a smart-aleck comment and then it got worse. This girl that started it all started hollering things and pushing these boys to make fun of her. The kicker was, the other 3 girls and about 5 boys just say there and did NOTHING, even when my daughter went to the bathroom crying. No one reported it, told the bully to stop, nothing.
    I reported all of these incidents to the school and the bully and others are “talked” to, but it doesn’t stop.
    Kicker was, after the lunch exclusion stunt, the bully was feeling pretty good that she tricked the teacher and crushed my daughter so she decided that day at recess to tell the other girls some mean things about my daughter. They all listen, but do and say nothing. Then, at gym the same day, they were playing dodgeball, this girl was trying to get my daughter out, she whipped the ball, my daughter caught it which made the bully out, so then she sat on the sidelines screaming to the rest to get her out. My daughter managed to get 12 people out and won the game which made the bully even nastier. Next game she tried to get a group to get her out and most wouldn’t participate, but they wouldn’t stop her either. Phy Ed coach is a single woman with no kids and she believes kids need to “just work it out” bs so she does nothing. Then after school, the team had an hour practice before their game the same night. This girl kept whipping the basketball at my daughter (I was there and witnessed it), whispering about her and causing more trouble. I could see my daughter was completely shut down (this was before I knew about the lunch, recess, gym incidents the same day). The coach knew something was wrong and tried to get her to talk then tried to get the other girls to talk and no one was saying anything……8 girls on the team, no one spoke up. During the game, my daughter usually plays 90% of the game, the bully sits the bench 80% of the game so that of course makes her nastier. During plays she was hollering to not throw the ball to Shayla, coach finally caught it and benched her. By then, my daughter had a bit of a breakdown on the court so coach benched her the rest of the game. After the game was over, my daughter told me about everything that happened that day so her two coaches and I had about a 70 minute meeting to go over a list of things that happened that day and a summation of incidents for about the last 18 months. the coach told me about his own situation with his daughter and this bully’s old sister (guess it’s a family thing). He promised me that he was going to change practices to separate out the ones that listen to the bully and start working on team building exercises and have the bully talk and that if anyone is caught doing it, first time they are benched, next time, off the team. That seemed to help somewhat because the practices since have been great and my daughter was come home quite happy. Now that the bully can’t do anything in practice, she is now doing more in school. The teacher decided to change how lunch seating is going forward. The bully and her bestie bring cold lunch so they sit down together (always) right away, most everyone else has hot lunch, now you can’t save seats or sit with your friends unless you are next to them in lunch line. So now because of the bully, everyone else can’t sit with their friends, but she is unpunished and sits with her bestie everyday and now got her way and doesn’t have to sit in a group with my daughter. Now my daughter is stuck sitting with people she doesn’t really know and it’s different ones each day (introverted and struggles in social situations), and most everyone else has been split up too. How is it that because of the bully’s evil everyone else gets screwed and she is unaffected? I know people may disagree with me, but why didn’t they punish her with having her sit alone at lunch for a few days to know how it feels and what she did to my kid? punishment should fit the crime, not reward the bully.

  136. I am a full grown adult but I have so many emotional and behavioural issues that I started to think about some of the abuse I had to endure at school and I stumble on this article. At age 7 i urinated sitting at my desk in front of the whole class bcause when I asked to go to the toilet the teacher said I had my chance at break and she would not let me go. After I utinated I was asked to clean it up, which I did. At age 6 a teacher said I would be good for nothing while standing at the blackboard in front of the whole class, there was a language barrier, I was tiny child, well brought up and shy. Then ensued bullying for the remaing of my school years. As adult I have low self esteem, anxiety and depression, i am afraid of failure and am constantly in an emotional turmoil. I am angry. Parents must watch out for emotional abuse in schools and talk to their children to ensure it never happens to them or to other kids.

  137. I was bullied twice in middle school by the same teacher. (This was about 40 years ago, but it still pisses me off to this day). For some reason he seemed to have it in for me, even though I was never in his class. The first time, I was heading upstairs to a class, and I was walking behind him. When we got to the top of the stairs, he turned around and physically put his hand on the back of my neck, escorted me next to the wall, and proceeded to interrogate me on why I was walking up the stairs skipping 2 or 3 steps at a time (even though I wasn’t). I explained that I was trying to get to my class on time, but he would have none of it. Before he let me go he said something the effect of “I’ll be watching you, and rest assured if I see you do this again, I will keep you after school”. Seriously?! WTF?! Not only was I physically abused, but also verbally threatened – by someone who was supposed to be a role model for the students.

    The second incident happened at the end of the same school year. I was in the cafeteria waiting to take my Spanish final exam. The same teacher was one of the test proctors. Every student was at their own table, and I was just sitting at mine trying to relax before the test started. All I did to my knowledge was drop my arms hard on the table, which for some reason set him off. He came over to my table, and again put his hand on the back of my neck and made me stand up. Then he ordered me to walk around the whole cafeteria and pick up any paper or trash that may have been on the floor. As I did so I weaved in and out of the tables where my fellow students were sitting, and even the Spanish teacher asked me to sit down. Again, seriously?! I felt so humiliated, and all for what? For putting my arms down too hard on a table?! Not only was this humiliating, but it was just before taking a final exam, where I was supposed to be relaxing and my mind focused on the test. This teacher in my opinion had a screw loose. He shouldn’t have been a teacher, and he certainly had no right to abuse me like that!

  138. I was a sociology major in college and sat in on a class that I was thinking of taking. The teacher — a supposed feminist — had everyone introduce themselves. When it came to my turn I said I was visiting and she asked “visiting from another planet or visiting with the intent of taking the class.” The whole class laughed. I wish I could remember her name. I’d call the [email protected]$$ out.

  139. I’ve finally found someone who shares my views. many children are ridiculed for saying they do not enjoy how they are treated, and even punished when they say this. I a sick of how children are treated just because they are little. i want to escape school as soon as possible.

  140. I am a teacher and I reported a teacher for bullying children and I got sacked. I have written a short story for therapeutic reasons and want to share. Sorry it’s a long story to explain how it all happened, but I have done it in approx 2000 words.

    The head teacher was like a mouse. I had never met a quieter meeker person in charge, but she was a very likeable mouse. Her presence didn’t scare me at all, which I liked at the time, but I was soon to discover why head teachers should be scary. Our eyes met over the shoddy maths folder, and I knew I had gotten the maths teaching job, the job of my dreams. Sure enough, she rung me later to offer it to me, and I accepted gladly. During the mania that would follow three years later, this was the moment when I ‘realised’ it was my destiny for all that was to happen.

    The school was established for vulnerable students. It was a special school where the clientele were students whom other schools couldn’t control. The building was small, it was a porter’s cabin that had been used as a morgue during the war. There were partitioned rooms, and parallel to them was one corridor with a room at either end. Students would say there was a good end and a bad end of the portacabin corridor. The bad end was where my arch nemesis worked, while the good end was where students often flocked in tears with yet another tale of the bad end. People claimed that a ghost ran up and down the corridor at night. Even the lighting was darker down at the bad end, so as you walked you were leaving brightness to go into the darkness, that is, if you dared to venture into my arch nemesis’s class. Most students didn’t venture there, or if they did, they didn’t stay long. Mouse was just glad students were attending school for her attendance figures, and my arch nemesis got some computer time and a cup of tea while students bunked her lessons, which wasn’t seen as a problem. This was probably because my arch nemesis can talk the talk, and she does talk. She seems very competent, went to Oxford and is also very good at being professional and knowledgeable and correct. But behind closed doors and with a little bit of inspection, you realise she’s lazy and lies to appear knowledgeable and correct. Her motive at work is to do as little as possible on a lot of money and lie to do so, in a school where, unfortunately, she hates the kids.

    I do not remember the first time I saw her, my arch nemesis, but I can remember the first round of rumours. The dream job I worked for was at a split site, and she was working at the other site with two learning mentors who were my friends. Well, they would often worry about the way she spoke to the children and the way she ‘taught’.

    Teachers’ meetings were the worst as my arch nemesis would be there when both sites joined together, and she would often overrule Mouse. Meetings would become about how incapable the kids were and would sometimes escalate to labelling students as functionally illiterate. There is no test for this, I looked it up, and Mouse had to tell her to stop using that term. My arch nemesis was very unstable; she would run out of meetings hysterically crying if anyone challenged her, which had become my job to do. So she gathered a gang of office staff and began to tell people she felt bullied by me. I had been promoted, and she didn’t like this. While the teaching staff liked my promotion, the office staff thought I was too young and unprofessional. They also did not understand what good teaching was, considering they thought my arch nemesis’s lecturing was good for the disengaged students and that my fun lessons were just playing and not learning.

    I was lead at a school where I didn’t know what I was doing, but neither did the head teacher it turned out, and there was a lot of winging it and hard work. But now, for the school to really improve, it needed to stop that unstable, head of literacy and English—my arch nemesis. By this point, she had a long history of unfairness against the students, and Mouse had not managed to stop her, but neither had her Giant Power Dresser boss, who had failed to investigate. I learned from Mouse that it was because she had been dumped by her girlfriend. But what was her excuse when something happened to Lexi. Lexi was a student at the school who had a stammer but still wanted to be a radio DJ. He had brightly coloured hair and certainly could put on a performance. He was more able than some of the other students, especially in English. He saw through my arch nemesis’s ‘teaching’ and demanded better. She hated him because of this. When his school year came around, it was announced in a meeting that he would not be sitting for his speaking and listening exam. Well, now that I was in my new role, I had some questions about this.
    What my arch nemesis did to Lexi as well as my response turned her energy towards destroying my life. That’s why the incident happened, triggering a domino effect of events that led to me losing my mind. What she did to Lexi made it onto Giant Power Dresser’s desk, but she failed to investigate.

    Why wasn’t he allowed to do his speaking and listening exam because of his stammer? Where was his exam feedback? Why had he done worse in an exam after a term of my arch nemesis’s teaching? All these questions were left unanswered, but now at least I had asked them, Mouse got scared of me probing and agreed all students should do it. Although Lexi had a stammer, he wanted to do his speaking and listening assignment, and was now allowed to, but he had been given no criteria. He felt this was on purpose as my arch nemesis didn’t see him as fit to sit for the exam. He came in at the agreed time, and for some reason she was too busy to see him. He came in again and re-wrote his notes. My arch nemesis took this as him avoiding doing the speaking and listening, and she didn’t do it with him. There was always an excuse as to why he couldn’t do it. Eventually he missed the deadline and had lost a big percentage of his exam because speaking and listening was a coursework component. I had had enough and I emailed Mouse, who emailed her boss. Would Giant Power Dresser reply to one of Mouse’s emails asking for help?

    To be fair to Giant Power Dresser, she thought Mouse was sorting it out, and Mouse’s excuse not to reprimand my arch nemesis or stop her was always that she was waiting for her boss to reply to her email directing her on what to do. Mouse and Giant Power Dresser go out clubbing together on ‘70s nights. All of the Local Authority management were long standing in post and friends, Giant Power Dresser was dating someone in management. My union told me, yeah, but who’s going to manage Giant Power Dresser, they are all friends. All were oblivious of what was going on under their eyes, all building up to that day, and the incident the that ruined me.

    The incident happened in January, and Giant Power Dresser was not free to meet me until February. I needed her this time as Mouse had directed me not to tell Bryan’s father what had happened in the classroom. Mouse would do anything to avoid confrontation, especially with my arch nemesis. Bryan again was hated by my arch nemesis, he spoke out against her and had a history of anger problems.

    Poor Bryan, when he came into school that day he hadn’t dreamt he would be leaving with a criminal record and that it would be the day I lost my job. As my arch nemesis and her gang gathered around me in the corridor, I knew she had won. She called me aside and started telling me her lie, the lie I had to act upon: Bryan had thrown a chair at her. Bryan and a teaching assistant called me aside saying Bryan had not thrown a chair and that he had been very unfairly treated in the classroom.

    My arch nemesis’s mate refused to give me the CCTV footage. They gathered around me in the corridor, my back pushed against the wall. This mob mentality meant that I had to exclude the student. Everyone but the ignored teacher’s assistant had forgotten about the shaking student, shaking from the injustice, and who now had a criminal record for throwing a chair at a teacher, an imaginary chair. The teacher’s assistant was asked not to write a statement by my arch nemesis’s gang member, and the CCTV had not been saved. She had won. But I still tried to stop her. I called a meeting about the incident.

    In the first meeting, I presented an article about teachers psychologically abusing children. Giant Power Dresser refused to read it and directed Mouse not to read it. Giant Power Dresser accused me of being a whistleblower like it was a bad thing. I started crying and blurting random things out. I did an impression of my arch nemesis humiliating a disabled student by shouting across a crowd of his peers, ‘Do you want your reader and writer’ before his maths exam. I spoke about her calling a student fat and reading at the back of another’s head as they faced the toilet door. I didn’t even reach the incident. Giant Power Dresser walked out of the room with Mouse scuttling behind her. Then the emails started. My head was a mess; no one was talking about the article, the other reports or the incident. ‘Everything is linking. My arch nemesis got employed at the school as she’s friends with Giant Power Dresser. I was brought in to spot the psychological abuse and save everyone—I’m the hero. My arch nemesis is making a bet with her husband on how many students she can make cry because he is a teacher too and she has been so vicious.’ My mania was out of control.

    I was banned from the site by Giant Power Dresser and was alone from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day. In my mania, it became my job to email during these hours. I had to keep retelling people this story, as there were so many meetings about it. I escalated to explaining people’s motives as to how my arch nemesis had gotten away with it, since people did not seem to understand what I was saying.

    I decided it would be best to document what had happened and why in detail to all those who now had ‘investigated my claims’. My partner didn’t know all this as she was at work. When I began emailing outside of work hours, I told her I was having a fag so she still never knew. I was documenting three years of abuse in detail, using evidence and student testimonies, but the amount of email I sent was too large to process HR said and the Local Authority sent me many disciplinary emails for filling people’s inboxes and giving people nicknames like Giant Power Dresser. I also have harassment charges, which I now have to declare on my Disclosure and Barring Service check.

    I was thinking as fast as I was typing. I had finally reached a peak and was ready to expand to Facebook. I set up a Facebook cult that was going to overthrow the government. It was the only way to stop her. My friends phoned my partner, and it was time to see a shrink. Other than being really intense and talking a lot about work, I seemed happy because the mania makes you feel like you’re having the best high! I enjoyed my time ruining my life.

    Meanwhile, the ignored TA, the witness of the incident did not have his contract renewed; he was probably kicking up a fuss too.

    I felt well as the medicine kicked in. I was £5000 in debt from the mania. The school offered me £20K to go away, and there were no more avenues for me to pursue. No one believed a mentally ill person, so the abuse continued and I lost my dream job.

  141. I am a teacher who witnessed emotional abuse happen in the classroom over many years. Lawyers said there was not a lot you can do about it, esp if you were only a witness.
    I did not win as it sent me loopy so everyone focused on me not the teacher- she got no sanction. If anyone wants any help with the reporting procedure I know it pretty well and can help. Let me know on this.

    I also started this petition, as I feel there is not enough in place to stop emotional abuse – how many times is too many times for verbally abusive comments etc?

    If enough people sign this petition there may at least be a rule that teachers have to be nice to students.

  142. I am a mother of two children from one of the school districts in California. When my daughter told me what the principal and the school psychologist were doing to her, it brought awareness to how they had been treating my son as well. It was devastating to find out that the people I trusted my children with everyday were the ones causing them pain. My blood boiled and I wrote a letter to the district which includes other parent’s statements regarding the principal. Needless to say, the principal and psychologist are no longer at that school. The superintendent I spoken to regarding my son had just gotten a promotion yet he suddenly retired that year. I later saw him as the substitute principal of the school. Within weeks after, my daughter thanked me for helping her stop them ostrisize her, cps was at my door. It has affected my son to where he dreads school and authority figures around school settings. Growing up, I was the bully to the bullies. Not that I was in the right to do so, but I felt right in doing it. Parents should be more involved in their children’s education. Not just getting to know teachers and other parents, volunteer as your child’s TA for the day, or in the office, sign up for talent show help organize, get to know their curriculum. It would make a huge difference if you want to make an impact in your child’s life.

  143. My grandchild who is 5 yrs old and was required to put on a weighted backpack and walk the hall in her school. On top of all of the other things that you have mentioned above. Please share what recourse we have?

  144. On my gosh. I am so sorry for your pain and suffering. How horribly insensitive your school environment was!!! May God heal you of all your pain, sadness, and indignation. God bless you!!! May you come to know your true beauty, value and purpose!!!!! You are God’s child…made in his image!!!!

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