By now most of you have heard about this...Kindergarten Teacher in Trouble for
I have sort of mixed feelings on this issue.
For one, I have worked in a school.
It can be a very frustrating place.
But there is another reason that I am feeling unsure of this one.
Long ago when I was a child in the 6th grade,
I had a similar experience.
My teacher sat me between the Dillinger brothers;
Bobby and Richard.
Bobby was handsome and I thought he was wonderful.
Richard, his twin was not handsome.
He was an awful brat that bugged everyone.
If he wasn't pulling my hair,
he was knocking the heels of my shoes off...
or poking me with a pencil...
or heaven help me...
blowing on the back of my neck...
or any number of other annoying activities.
He drove me crazy.
My teacher did not fail to notice this.
All day long she would tell Richard to leave me alone.
She made him stand in the hall.
She made him stay in at recess.
She made him write on the chalk board
"I will not..."
Nothing seemed to work.
It was her habit to read to us after lunch and recess.
We could put our heads down on the desk and listen...
or nap if we wished.
It was a quiet time designed to calm us back down after being wound up.
I loved to listen.
I loved the books she read...
"The Black Stallion" series.
One day as she read, Richard began to play with the collar of my shirt...
like he was going to pull down my zipper...
and tug at my hair.
I tried to ignore him for as long as possible.
"Stop it Richard!"
I hissed over my shoulder.
He blew on my neck.
"Rebecca! I want you to stand up right this minute."
the teacher snapped.
I thought that I was in trouble for talking...
which was not at all unusual.
But when I stood up, she instructed me to turn around and KICK
Richard as hard as I could in the shin.
Kicking was not generally allowed.
I gave him a tentative bump on the leg.
This went on for about three more times...
until Richard said "Ow!"
"You may sit down now Rebecca. Thank you."
I sat and she picked up her place in the book
and read uninterrupted until the end of the chapter.
The class had loved the display.
They began to giggle with the first kick
and howled with laughter when Richard said
I could hear kids talking about it when the bell rang
as we all left for home that day.
Even my dad laughed when I told the family about it at diner.
Did Richard stop bugging me in class?
Bobby told me that his dad had been mad enough about it to give Richard a
switching for being a pest in class.
Its been an amusing story that I enjoy telling over the years.
Was that child abuse?
Was Richard damaged by the experience?
Last I heard he was doing fine.
Was I affected?
In a funny way I was.
I was both startled and pleased that it had happened.
I had wanted to do something like that to Richard for a long, long time.
But there was no lesson about being empowered in it for me.
After 6th grade ended...
the Dillinger brothers and I parted company to attend
I have no idea if Richard learned to stop picking on everyone.
All I know is that the last couple of months of that school year,
were blissfully pest free.
So did this teacher step over the line?
Of course there is a big difference between
6th grade and kindergarten.
And there is something particularly shameful
about bein g slapped in the face.
I would like to think that I would never do that myself...
but I did kick Richard and enjoyed doing it.