Ok, so last night I was scrolling on my I-phone and ran across this story about a 7 year old little girl whose teacher decided to humiliate her in front of the entire class. When I first read the headline “Milwaukee teacher cuts off little girl’s natural hair as punishment, throws it away in front of her”, I said to myself this can’t be real. I thought for sure this was a joke or one of those outlandish headlines that get you to click on the story and once you read it, there is a totally different story. I was not correct in my assumption.
First let me say that I read the entire article before I jumped to any conclusion. Once I finished reading I was livid to say the least. My poor husband had to suffer through my rants until I noticed that he was looking wounded and came to my senses. This poor little girl was made to come to the front of the class and stand there while being reprimanded by her teacher for playing with her hair. Not for talking, not for running around or hitting someone, but for mindlessly playing with her hair. Now we all know there are certain things that push our buttons and the teacher had told her to stop. I am the last person to claim to have patience, but the teacher took things too far when she picked up a pair of scissors and cut a chunk of the child’s hair off and threw it in the trash!
Let me set the scene as I imagined it in my head… The little girl has braids and beads. (There was a picture of the child with such a hairdo). All kids love to make noise and as a girl when I had beads I loved the sound it made when I swished my head back and forth. However, when my mom told me to stop playing with my hair I listened. The child continued to play with her hair after being warned to stop because she liked the sound, was being rebellious or hell because she’s a child and sometimes they do that. The teacher became annoyed at the noise and the fact that this child had the audacity to ignore her instructions. With a rush of emotions the teacher jumps up, I can’t take it anymore! Get up here. Didn’t I tell you to stop? Imma show you that when I say stop that’s exactly what I mean! Somebody give me some scissors. Now, the next time I tell ya’ll to do something you better listen. Go sit your little tail down. As she tossed the braid in the trash, “Now what you gonna go home and say to your mama?” While the entire class laughed at her. Are you horrified yet?
Don’t get me wrong, I know teaching is not the easiest job in the world. The teachers are underpaid, overworked and stressed to the max. However, there is never an excuse for a teacher to physically damage a child’s person. Even more appalling is the fact that she felt like she was entitled to do this and even mocked the mother by saying what you gonna do now tell your mama? The mother showed real restraint here because I know for a FACT my mom would have gone Ma to the D-E-A on her.
Here are a few ways the teacher could have better handled the situation:
- The teacher could have reiterated the fact that playing with her hair was annoying the teacher and it needed to cease immediately
- Punish the child by making her write 100 times ”I will not play with my hair in class”…Yes I went old school
- Send the little girl to the principal’s office for disrupting the class
- Give the girl a special project that would take her mind off of her hair and exhaust some of her misplaced energy
I’m sure there are several other more constructive ways the teacher could have gotten her point across. As a result of this insensitive teacher’s behavior, this little girl will wear this shame for the rest of her life. Now her shame will not show like the Scarlet A on her sweater, but it will show in her eyes every time she enters her classroom. She should be able to go to school care free and ready to learn, now she will always have the memory of having her hair chopped off in front of the class and being ridiculed by the very person who was supposed to protect her. She will have trust issues with authority figures from now on. This is way too soon for this to happen to her.
Teachers need to remember that when a child gives you their trust and you betray that, it scars the child deeply. The school system has indirectly reinforced this by allowing the teacher to continue on her quest to “educate” young minds. The school’s only inkling of punishment was to move the child to another room, which indicates that it was the child who was the problem and not the teacher. I am not calling for the lady to be fired, I would just like to see some reassurance that this will not continue happening to children. At least have her participate in stress management therapy and maybe even have a monitor in the room for a set time period until she can prove that she is no longer to “stressed” to do her job safely.