Teacher Has Kids List Reasons To Hate Classmate On Blackboard, Is Confused By Her Firing
When you send your kid to school, you generally have a few reasonable expectations: they will learn new things, their teachers will work in their best interests, and their teacher won’t encourage the class to make a giant list about why they dislike your kid. Wait, what? Yeah, that last one is a thing that actually happened.
According to DNAinfo New York, an Inwood middle school teacher was fired after she addressed bullying in class by having her class make a list on the chalkboard of all the things they hated about one of her students. What’s more? She’s fighting to overturn her termination because she thinks it’s unfair.
Madeline Luciano was teaching at P.S. 18 in June 2014 when one of her 13-year-old students, who’d been a victim of bullying in the past, noticed her bag was missing. Eventually, she and Luciano found it turned inside out with pages torn out of the girl’s student portfolio. Luciano asked her class what happened and they responded by saying they didn’t like the girl and that she was ‘annoying’ and ‘fake.’
Instead of shutting that shit right down like a normal human being, Luciano thought it seemed like a good opportunity for an experiment. She asked the class to write a letter to the girl explaining all the things they don’t like about her. The kids began hurling insults at the girl as one student wrote their complaints down on the chalkboard. Luciano claims she never asked anyone to write on the chalkboard, but students from the class reported she handpicked a volunteer for the job.
The assignment continued with people calling the girl ugly, fake, stupid, and annoying, until Luciano looked at the student in question and realized she was crying. Apparently it took the girl breaking down in tears for her to realize the assignment was ‘inappropriate,’ and at that point, her volunteer erased the stuff on the board and wrote ‘sorry.’ Luciano then told the class they needed to work as a team and ‘treat each other with love.’ She was investigated and then terminated.
Last week, Luciano filed a petition to overturn her termination, saying her punishment was too harsh and firing her was ‘an abuse of discretion’ — you know, kind of like instructing your class to fill the chalkboard with hateful words directed at an innocent 13-year-old girl as a way to address bullying in the classroom.
Luciano screwed up and she deserved to be fired. Her little social experiment likely scarred a vulnerable child and, as the victim of childhood bullying and a similar public chastising, I can tell you from experience there’s no way to undo the damage she caused. What was a poor judgment call to her was the obliteration of self-esteem and a sense of belonging for the kid in question, and she deserves the punishment she got. Whether her firing is overturned or not, Luciano will be eligible to teach again in 2016, which is a shame because she really shouldn’t be in charge of children.