Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Society of Meanieheads

A few days ago a story came out about a five-year-old boy in Florida, Alex Barton, who was voted out of his kindergarten class. The teacher should be ousted permanently and I hope to heaven that the parents sue the school and the teacher for everything they’ve got because the behavior that the teacher displayed was all kinds of disgusting. Unfortunately, her attitude is not uncommon enough.

There’s always talk about social skills that children need to learn. Autistic children are drilled with them constantly. My daughter is starting kindergarten in September, and I was given a long list of skills that she should have in order to be ready for kindergarten. But what I see from some of this year’s kindergartners doesn’t exactly jibe with the supposed ‘social skills’ on the list. Instead I hear stories about our neighbor whose ‘friends’ were sitting on her and refused to stop even after she asked them to and said she didn’t like that. When she started crying and wiping her nose with her hand, they went to her mom on their way off the bus to tattle that she was picking her nose and eating her boogers. Her mom has often commented that the little girl was the sweetest, happiest child before she went to school.

I look at my own daughter and know that she is not the sort of kid who would be that mean spirited. Hopefully school won’t corrupt her.

Then there’s Gus. He’s another of those kind-hearted, laid-back kind of kid. He’s got an easy smile and he wouldn’t harm a soul intentionally. Yet he’s had kids even younger than him call him names. Even now I hear snippets of stories – little kindergarten girls in the schoolyard telling him to “go away” when he tries to use the social skills he’s made to learn at school. No wonder he’s started picking up words like ‘dork’ and ‘stupid.’ We thought it was from TV, but I think it’s the kids at school.

I have to wonder – who has the better social skills here?

I hope Alex Barton finds a better, more accepting school. He doesn’t need to be around those kids who are being taught that mean is socially acceptable.

Here's the Palm Beach Post article from last Friday, and apparently the teacher has been removed from class during the investigation.
Here’s the link to the St. Lucie school board if you want to voice your displeasure about this outrageous injustice.

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