Could this be what is wrong with this country? When a headline reads that a teacher is being charged with a felony for making one of her students clean out a urinal; a urinal that the student allegedly clogged, it causes rational thinking people to pause. To stop what they are doing and wonder if this is what is wrong with the country. Not that there are teachers who try to teach responsibility and correct bad behaviors, but rather teachers who when they do step up face losing their career or even worse going to jail.
Basically what happened was a teacher in Broward County Florida last week instructed a wayward student, whom she believed had clogged up a urinal, to remove the clog. The news story and the police report do not say that she told the student to remove the clog by hand without equipment, only that she didn’t offer him gloves to do so. So, supposing that the teacher is correct and that the student clogged up the urinal, her crime was not offering him a pair of gloves to remove the clog. A rational thinking person might assume that the child was not wearing gloves when he shoved paper towels into the urinal to clog it up. A rational thinking person might also realize and accept that this is not the first time a ten year old boy has come into contact with urine.
Going back to what happened, the teacher then took matters into her own hands so to speak, and requested that he unclog said urinal. How he did it was left up to him, the fact that there was no soap in the bathroom really fell on maintenance, and not the teacher, and since he shoved the paper towels -allegedly- into the urinal so he already got his hands dirty.
So, there is a boy who vandalizes the school, and there is a teacher who corrects this behavior by making the boy clean up his mess. When did teaching right from wrong become a felony? The child is embarrassed because his teacher corrected the behavior; perhaps he should be, after all he committed an act of vandalism allegedly and got caught. The parents are angry, but the mother’s anger is misplaced. Anger directed toward the teacher should be directed at her son for his misbehavior.
Did the teacher over-react? Some people say that she should have turned the child over to the principal and let him handle it. Perhaps the student should have been expelled. What could he learn by being sent home from school or even being expelled? What did he learn or could he have learned from this teacher by having to remove the obstruction he supposedly put in the urinal in the first place? The teacher most likely was hoping to teach him not to vandalize school property. In this case though he is being taught that he can vandalize a urinal and his teacher will be charged with a felony.
There was a time when shame and embarrassment were good things. When children would think twice about doing something wrong because if their teacher found out then a parent would find out, and if a parent found out then they would be punished. Now the society of today says that it is wrong for a child to be embarrassed by his actions, this same society says that no one, no matter what they do, should feel shame.
Some might make the argument that this teacher should have handled the situation differently. They would not be entirely wrong either. There are many different ways in which the teacher could have handled the situation. What she did was not a crime. She may have even handled it differently in the future, had the principal simply said that what she did was wrong and not to do it again. Does she deserve to go to trial? Does she deserve to face a felony conviction? Does she deserve to have her teaching career ruined? The answers to these questions are all a resounding no.
There is no justifiable reason for crucifying this teacher, simply for righting a wrong, even if the way she went about doing it was not entirely right. The teacher is now being charged with a felony, in a case where yes the urinal was clogged, and probably by the student who was disciplined, but a felony is a harsh sentence, too harsh a response for the action. In the end for justice to be served the teacher needs to be vindicated, and the responsibility placed squarely at the parents’ feet. When parents refuse to teach their children right from wrong they are placing that responsibility on someone else. If parents expect teachers to handle all of the discipline and teaching children then they need to stand by the teachers when this discipline is handed down.
Editorial By Rachel Woodruff