Teacher accused of slapping a boy

don shelbyI was going to write a post about this and then I came across this “Good To Know” segment that Don Shelby had and I really couldn’t have said it better myself.

“A story Wednesday night got a lot of you talking. A Minnesota teacher is accused of slapping a student because the boy taunted an overweight girl. A lot of you e-mailed Don. And he found that depending on your age, the solution to bullying changes.

First, the boy in question, according to his Mom and Dad, is an A-Honor Roll student, participates in choir, band, sports, and is an all around good kid they said, and they add, he is not a bully. 

He did call a student a name, and that set off the teacher. 

He says he didn’t slap the boy, but witnesses say he did. 

Most of the e-mailers had been victims of taunting and bullying. They said the scars remain. 

Some older e-mailers said that back in the day, teachers could handle such situations, short of mayhem, and parents sided with the teachers. 

Maybe this kid was out of line, maybe the teacher, according to the law, the teacher was out of line if the accusations are true.

Somebody said sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. The guy who wrote that didn’t know what he was talking about.”

I don’t necessarily think a teacher needs to slap a child but on the other hand, I abhor bullying. I also feel parents are to quick to think their little “darlings” are never in the wrong. I’ve seen it and it had a big part in to why I no longer do what I used to do. I feel far to often parents either turn a blind eye or just believe their kids without questioning them. I always told my kids that if they got into trouble at school, they would be in trouble when they got home. I didn’t always agree with the teacher but I stood next to them most of the time because working in the school, I saw kids lying every day if they thought they were going to get into trouble at home. You know what, the kids who knew their parents would believe them NO MATTER WHAT, were the worst ones.

What do you think?

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28 Responses to Teacher accused of slapping a boy

  1. SKL says:

    OK, I know I’m old and that’s probably why I believe that corporal punishment should still be allowed in schools. It needs to be regulated, not abolished. In my state, in fact, it’s still legal. And I have no problem telling my kids that if they don’t watch out, the teachers have my permission to spank them AND they will get some more when they get home.

    Now as to the present case. Do those witnesses even know what a slap in the face is? Seriously. I find it very unlikely that the man put his arm back and gave the child a serious slap on the cheek. Of course, I wasn’t there, but a touch on the cheek or lips is NOT the same as a “slap.” What are the chances that any of the kids in that class has ever been “slapped” the way my mom used to do it?

    Seeing the parents describe the child as “an A-Honor Roll student, participates in choir, band, sports, and is an all around good kid” makes me wanna puke. How do you stand there and say that when your child admits he repeatedly and intentionally hurt another child for no good reason? Do they think kids who make As don’t need to be compassionate? Or if you play the flute that takes the place of kindness? I would be horrified, and what I’d be saying publicly is that my kid and I would be talking seriously about how he needs to treat others. These parents’ reaction shows exactly why their kid got to the point where he needed a slap in the face.

    I am sorry that this old guy is going to get into trouble for trying to make up for what the kid’s parents failed to do. He probably shouldn’t have “slapped” the child if that is really what he did. But I hope they are lenient with him. Because it takes a lot of patience to deal with today’s kids, and it sucks that everything good that he ever did will be wiped out with one act of frustration that caused no permanent harm.

  2. Lucy says:

    I have a very different opinion compared to SKL. I think that teachers have NO right to slap, grab, or physically punish any child. Violence (yes, physical punishment is violence in my book!) is not the answer to physical or emotional abuse (name calling). What kind of lesson is this teacher teaching his students? Its not ok to call your class mate fat (or ugly, or dumb), but its ok to hit someone if they do something wrong? I’m not saying that emotional abuse is ok…. but what happened to talking to children and letting them know the dangers and implications of bullying?

    • Joy says:

      The sad thing is Lucy that “talking” with a child like this will do no good if it’s not taught at home. I would be furious if a teacher slapped or hit one of my boys or grandchildren but I’d be just as horrified if any of them name called and taunted a child that was fat or “different” in any way. I love SKL’s analogy of making good grades and being in the band as they can do no wrong if they are “that great” in academics. Life is about more than that.

      If you only get “talk” with no consequences for your behavior, it’s a bad mix because after a while it’s just “blah, blah, blah” to anyone who is being lectured.

      The last year I worked at the school I had an apple thrown at the back of my head. I took all the “gawkers” and “laughers” to the office and the principal came out and told me they told him nobody did it. There were parents HE KNEW would be in in the morning and he didn’t want to “deal” with them so he let it slide. Easy for him wasn’t it? I also got shoved from behind and took that boy into the office as well. This kid told his mom that he was pushing me out of the way because he thought someone else was going to push me. AND I WAS THE NICE PLAYGROUND LADY!

      I don’t think anyone should hit anyone but I feel we have to back our teachers. They are with our kids more than we are and we need to make our kids aware that it they screw up and they’ve tried talking, you have my permission to hit them upside the head because this boy said he’d made fun of this girl. He admitted it so we know he did it all the time and talking won’t help someone like this.

      Let me put this another way. Let’s say this teacher didn’t put his hands on the child but instead said “you stupid, dumb, lazy piece of nothing.” Let’s say he used words and “hurt this boys feelings.” Is it the same thing? Teachers just have to be all warm and cuddly? I for one feel we need to back our teachers and if our kids are naughty, we should let them handle it at school. We’ve stripped them of having any say of kids they are with all day long.

      • Lucy says:

        I agree with you that there need to be consequences to this kind of behavior… children definitely shouldnt get away with it. I understand that it must be very frustrating to work with children who have no respect for teachers. However, I don’t think a teacher will gain respect by physical punishment… at most s/he will be feared by the students. I dont think thats a good learning environment. My friends is a middle school teachers and she outlines the consequences for misbehavior very clearly from the beginning. She earns respect by being respectful towards the children, but never lets them get away with disrespect towards anyone (teacher or children).

        To answer your question about the teacher calling the student “stupid, dumb, lazy piece of nothing”… I think thats terrible too. That is probably more damaging than peers calling you fat!! However, teachers dont have to be warm and cuddly, but as JOZ1234 says below… they have to be professional. If the student population doesnt allow you to be warm and cuddly (because they misbehave) then the teacher should be stern/strict, but still respectful.

        I do totally agree with you that its very hard for teachers/schools to correct the behavior of students if the children aren’t taught at home. However, sadly we dont live in a perfect world where all parents know how to parent, and where teachers don;t loose their cool.

      • mssc54 says:

        Lucy; it’s attitudes like yours that have screwed up our kids today! Do you honestly that this is the very first occurance that this “accomplished” brat has done something like that?

        For the most part educators are professional people. They have to put up with violance in their classrooms almost daily. I know for a fact!

        I would not be the least bit surprised to find out that those who said the teacher slapped the sassy mouthed, taunting, “accomplished” brat-student are his friends. It may very well be like a gang mentality. They all stick together to nail the authority figure. Maybe, maybe not.

        I’ve seen it all too often. Students who (on paper) seem like accomplished children use thier position of eliteism to get away with things that most average students would be chastized for.

        I say slap the boy and then slap his parents too. Just get violant all over every one of them!!

        • Lucy says:

          Well, since we are wildly speculating that this child is a brat, and that all his friends helped him “nail the authority figure”… how about we wildly speculate about his motive for telling his class mate she was fat. Maybe it was in defense of her calling him stupid… or short… or nerdy.

          I’m not even going to try to get into a discussion/disagreement with you about physical violence in schools (or in the home) because we clearly have differing opinions and will unlikely see eye to eye.

          • mssc54 says:

            Yeh the fat chick probably was looking for a fight. The mouthy kid was probably a skinny nerd and she just wanted to draw even more atttention to herself by calling HIM names.

            Kids like the kid that got slapped will get away with stuff for a long time. Eventually they will have to enter the work force where mommy and daddy won’t be there to pick up the pieces for him.

            Neither will I try to guess what we will or will not agree or disagree upon.

            This generation of “time out” kids are the ones looking for the free ride. After all, society owes it to them. Right?

            This kid’s parents better get used to seeing him on visiting day.

    • SKL says:

      “What happened to talking to children and letting them know the dangers and implications of bullying?”

      It seems that is what the teacher tried first. And I’m sure the child has been previously advised of the reasons why bullying / name-calling are bad ideas. What can teachers do when none of that works? I agree that slapping wasn’t the best choice, but it resulted from the frustration of being unable to stop the destructive behavior any other way. It should never have gotten to that point, because the bigmouth should have had enough respect to listen his teacher and shut up. There’s no way to teach kids respect if parents don’t care and schools can’t enforce.

      There is only one innocent victim here – that is the girl who was called names. In today’s system, there is no justice for her. And incidentally, the harm done to her will last a lot longer than the harm allegedly done to the boy.

      • Lucy says:

        I know this opinion may not be popular with many, especially since many of you are teachers, but if a teacher repeatatly cannot control his/her students (on multiple occasions)…. then I dont think they are qualified to teach at that particular school… with that particular student population.

        I do agree with you that its hard to teach students respect if their parents don’t teach it to them… however, I don’t think it is impossible.

        You are right about the innocent victim. It really is a shame. I read an interesting study about the success of intervention programs that talk about bullying and emotional abuse.. apparently they almost reduce the incidents of bullying to 0. It would be nice if there was enough money to implement such programs in most schools… but its wishful thinking considering most schools do not even have enough money to pay teachers or repair buildings.

        • mssc54 says:


          In fact check out this link:

          This white teacher was REPEATEDLY physically abused, had the tires on her car slashed, etc. by students in her middle school. Simply because of her skin color. She taught in predominately black school and the school district administrators actually testified that the vulgar language and violant tendancies towards other students (and herself) was part of their culture!

          So (according to Lucy’s School of Logic) this teacher should have been barred from teaching because the students/administration were racists?!!

          • Lucy says:

            You are actually putting words in my mouth… and maybe I wasn’t as clear as I meant to be. I never said it was the teachers fault that the students won’t behave. What I meant to say is that if a teacher cannot find other solutions besides physical violence to resolve problems with students then the teacher is not qualified to be a teacher. I don;t believe in physical punishment, especially not in school. There are many different ways to punish and redirect children.

            Also, the children in the example you bring up are not the type of children I’m talking about. Clearly there is a problem at the school district level… no teacher should be treated that way.

  3. joz1234 says:

    I have a different opinion than both Lucy and SKL.

    I abhor articles like this that make it seem like a certified teacher did this!! This was a substitute teacher. I don’t know about Minnesota, but here in Texas a substitute teacher only needs a diploma.

    I think that whoever wrote this article needs to articulate the truth a little better. I think everything must be taken with a grain of salt until evidence is presented and REPORTED accurately.

    Can you tell I’m a teacher?

    IF he did it, he has no business being a teacher or Substitute teacher OR COACH. It all boils down to professionalism. We have to model that for our students and rough handling anyone is not the way to handle it or gain respect of your students.

    Yes, just because you are a teacher doesn’t entitle you to respect.

    You earn respect just as students earn it from you.

    If the student was bullying the other kid, they should have been called on it and taken to the office. It should have been documented. He should have been shown how to be sympathetic to others, rather than be shown how to bully a little more effectively.

    • Lucy says:

      I do agree with you on this…. I believe that teachers have to be role models. And being violent towards your pupils is not an appropriate response to any behavior.

  4. Tosha says:

    I don’t agree with anyone slapping someone’s kid.. But I can certainly understand it. There has been more than once that i’ve wanted to slap someones child.

    Taylors kindergarten teacher would take a ruler and pop the students who aggravated her or each other on the hand with it. Ticked me off big time. Some people don’t think.

    The punishment system in place now days does little to discourage this kind of thing. Although they claim they are all over it. They aren’t. It’s ignored and when its brought up too many parents now days think lil timmy is incapable of doing anything wrong.

    Most of hub’s family are teachers or work in the school system. Biggest complaint is parents not being involved or following through. There is only so much a school can do with out parents backing them up or getting involved.

  5. birdpress says:

    I disagree with teachers hitting students, if that is really what happened. But on another note, I wanted to say that just because this kid is an honor roll student and involved in school activities does not necessarily mean he is an all-around good kid. I remember when I was a kid and the kids that were outgoing “joiners” were often the worst bullies. That is one more thing his parents need to instill in him: how to be show kindness to others. That boy is not the only victim here, and his actions should not be overlooked because of a teacher’s possibly showing poor judgment in his reaction to this students terrible behavior.

  6. Just a Mom says:

    I have no problem with corporal punishment being used in school as a last result. With that being said it must be administered correctly with another adult to witness it. I would also be the parent who then busted her kids when they got home as well.

  7. Nik :) says:

    Under no circumstances should ANYONE lay a harmful hand on any child that is not theirs. From my own experience you cannot teach a child anything unless it is being taught at home. I have been doing daycare for about 5 years and I have had to give children up because of this. It becomes very frustrating and overwhelming. As frustrating as it may be it is not my position to place physical discipline on any child.
    Bullying is the main cause in most school shootings. Teachers need to be school (not sure they are) on handling bullies. EVEN subs…
    When I as in the 6th grade we had a substitute teacher once. He was very mean and I will never forget this day….we stood up to do the Pledge of Allegiance as we did every day, he proceeded to tell us to sit down and the flag should be burned. By the end of the day he had been fired and I’m betting he’ll never teach again. He slapped one of my friends on her hand with a ruler because she disagreed with him.
    Now as a parent, if my child deserves a spanking (and I’m not totally against it as a last result) that is for me and his father to determine, not a teacher or sub, friend, aunt, uncle or grandparent. That’s just how I feel.

  8. nikki says:

    I’m sitting here reading all these comments and wondering one thing….don’t we teach our children from an early age to keep our hands to ourselves? That you don’t let anyone touch you in a physical way, sexual or otherwise. That fighting isn’t the answer? “I don’t like how he said that or what he called her, so I’m gonna hit him??” Sounds like adults acting like children to me. This is what I teach my son and my friends teach their kids. At what point or age does that go out the window and an adult is allowed to put harm onto my child?? If this were to ever happen to my child I would pull him out of that school faster than you can say…(I’ll let you add what you want!) I am very aware of what bullies can do, and very aware they come in ever shape and size. I don’t think my son is perfect and if he were to ever warrant a spanking it will be coming from me! Communication is huge, keep an open line of it with the teachers. If it gets so bad that a teacher needs to slap or hit or whatever…I think a serious evaluation of the child and classroom needs to be done.

    • birdpress says:

      I think you made a really good point about what we are teaching the kids. They learn from watching, and they will repeat what they observe from adults. If they see adults hitting students, or other adults, won’t they conclude that it’s okay to hit?

  9. Sue says:

    Teacher’s shouldn’t hit kids, but they also need the support from administration that if a student acts up in class and the teacher punishes appropriately, then the school will back them up no matter how “wonderful little Timmy is”. As a parent, there’s always that sense that your child is perfect (because we HOPE they are) but you also have to be able to see that they are human too and we all make mistakes and do things that aren’t always perfect.

    That said, I’ve been teased for as long as I can remember. When I was in school it was called teasing not bullying. At what point did it change? I know there’s always been bully’s but at some point in ALL of our lives we’ve been teased or called a name that hurt our feelings. I was called green giant, chicken legs, flatty, four eyes, whitey; you name it! I’m STILL teased about how tall I am, how long my legs are, how big my feet are, how white I am blah blah blah. WHATEVER! As a kid, the only thing that really affected me was being told my legs were too skinny so I never wore shorts without shoes/socks. NEVER! I knew that I mattered to my true friends and my family so those words didn’t get too deep. The bully-er’s need to get a taste of their own medicine and those being bullied need a good support system to tell them how great they are no matter what anyone says.

  10. JQ says:

    No way would I ever think it’s ok for a teacher to lay a hand on a student. I can only imagine what would follow after one of my kids came home and said, “My teacher slapped me today” – the world would end as far as I’m concerned. I’d wind up in jail probably. The woman down the block told my kids to get “off her ‘effn driveway” and I ripped into her so bad she had to call the cops. I cannot even imagine if she touched them.

    Being on honor roll makes no difference whether your child is capable of being in trouble. My 13 year old daughter got in trouble with THE LAW this summer, yes, you read that right and she has always been on the honor roll – I NEVER saw that coming.

    Whomever is calling names or making fun of someone (bullying them) needs to be dealt with. My God, do we want to teach our kids that the way to fix things is with violence?

    I wouldn’t tolerate bullying for one millisecond – that’s the kind of shit that can bring on a Columbine situation. Administrators and teachers need to be on top of this! Nobody should be allowed to bully. It can damage a kid for life to be made fun of and harassed on a daily basis.

    I think parents need to be more in tune w/ their kids and BE INVOLVED. Parenting is so hard. There is no manual but there is common sense. If your kid bullies someone and you find out about it, there needs to be some immediate discipline – if your child is the victim of bullying, you need to get off your lazy ass and get over to school and make sure your kid is safe.

  11. Joy says:

    Sadly Nikki, all parent’s aren’t like you are. It would be easy if talking to a child was always the answer but a lot of kids can do what they want at home so they think they can do what they want everywhere. There were times I was really treated badly by the students in my last school and I had no back up from the administration because it’s the parents of the “perfect” kids who make their lives hell and they are the ones coming in all the time saying “my kid is getting picked on.” So then the kids develop the same attitudes that the parents have.

    I really disagree with a lot of the comments today but I’m trying to keep my mouth shut and I don’t really think anyone knows until they put a LOT of time in a school environment. If a teacher hit one of my kids I’d be right up there and demand to know what happened. Then I’d take it from there. Would I believe what my kids told me. Not always I wouldn’t have because they knew if they got in trouble at school, I’d be really mad. If it were making fun of someone, all the madder I’d be so yes, I know kids lie. I’ve seen them lie and tell very tall tales. That’s what kids do.

    This kid said he called this girl fat and he did it a lot. He admitted that and this teacher “asked” him to stop. He did not stop. His gang of friends stuck up for him and now a teacher who’s on the old side will lose his job most likely over a bratty kid who’s parents don’t want to wake up as to how their child is. You know why? They don’t care he was making fun of someone. Hey, the apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree and by their actions, they are condoning what their son did. Can’t you see that? Kids also really push subs a long way.

    I also don’t think a teacher or anyone should just be able to hit someone but “maybe” if these kids know it’s a possibility, they might smarten up. The whole “violence” thing to me is a joke. This boy knew exactly what he was doing and he didn’t care but this man stands up and defends something he knows is right and now he’s in trouble??

    If you all raise your children the right way and the way you are professing, you won’t need to worry because your child will never be in this situation. I’d also like to ask you about bullying. What if your child was getting bullied and you were the one who went in to complain? Wouldn’t you want to know why it wasn’t stopped? Why the teacher didn’t do anything about it? Maybe they “talked” to the bully.

    • nikki says:

      Yes, bullying starts at home in some way or another. They are being beat, they get to do whatever they want, they are ignored at home. So many things can play into it. I think if it came down to having to hurt someone to get a point across or stand up for what he thinks is right..I don’t know, I just don’t see how it could be productive. Just my opinion, and the violence remark, yea may be off kilt. Kids do need to learn consequences of their actions, absolutely. Teachers need to feel they have support from the parents and the school. I wouldn’t automatically assume my kid was not lying. But I also have tricks of the trade to know when he is lying….know your kids…talk to them, teach them…it all begins at home!
      And about the bullying, if Bailey were being bullied and he has been, and it didn’t stop….I’d be in that principles office every day, demanding meeting with the other parents. I’d sit in class with him if I had too, same as if he was the one bullying. And no I don’t care how old he is. If the teachers can’t figure it out themselves then I will. Bullying can lead to adult bullying and being bullied can lead to very bad things, as we all know.

  12. Karen Joy says:

    AMEN JOY!!!!!!

  13. LVISS says:



  14. SKL says:

    I have to respond to the argument that if adults use corporal punishment then kids will think it’s OK to go around hitting people.

    Now, I’m not talking about adults losing their minds and going off on kids. I’m talking about using corporal punishment in accordance with rules and regulations, preferably with a witness, etc. I understand that kids who live in physically abusive situations internalize an unhealthy concept of how violence should be used – or fail to learn self-control.

    But let’s be honest. Aren’t there things we all do that we expect our kids to know they cannot do? How about turning on the stove, going out after a certain hour, driving the car, ordering Mom to be quiet or go to bed, arguing with dad or granny, taking off someone else’s clothes, yanking an adult out of the road, or even confiscating Sister’s toy for misbehavior? If we (rightly) expect kids to understand that none of this is appropriate for them, is it really logical that they will think they are allowed to paddle someone’s butt under any circumstance? Not only does the logic fail, but real-life experience proves otherwise. People who grow up with corporal punishment (that is not abuse) don’t habitually hit other people. Most have a high level of respect for others’ rights and feelings, throughout their lives.

    On the other side of the coin, we see plenty of kids who manage to figure out how to be violent without ever being struck. In fact, it is my observation that kids who have never been spanked adopt more violent behaviors and take longer to “grow out of them” than kids who are spanked. It goes without saying that violence and disrespect in the classroom – against teachers as well as fellow students – has increased since we “got modern” and stopped all that “barbaric” corporal punishment. So now when our kids go to school, there is less worry that the teacher may spank them, but there is more worry that they or their teacher may be beaten, raped, or knifed by their classmates. I prefer the old way.

    I know there will be times when teachers misuse corporal punishment. It happened to me more than once. But in most cases, it just makes the teacher look stupid; it rarely causes significant harm to the child. When I was in 3rd grade, I was swatted with a yardstick now and then (usually over unfinished homework). It didn’t “hurt” and it was sort of a badge of courage to go into the hall, be swatted, and come back grinning instead of crying. By contrast, when my younger brother was in 3rd grade, his teacher regularly ridiculed him, told him he “didn’t care,” and dumped his desk on the floor in front of his classmates. The reasons were similar to the reasons my teacher used to swat me. But my brother was traumatized a lot more by his teacher’s behavior. So the reality is, some teachers are going to be stupid no matter which punishments they are allowed to administer. But it’s easier to snap back from a moderate spanking than from emotional abuse. It’s also a lot easier to regulate spanking than emotional abuse.

  15. Tony says:

    A good slappin’ never hurt me. I say bring back the cane. The fear of the cane kept a lot of kids in line back in my day. Even if you never got it the fear of it was a good enough discipliner. Too many kids have no respect for older people these days & a lot of them mouth off because they know they can & get away with it.

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