Third Grade Teacher Forces Kids to Massage His Feet & Scratch His Back

Say What!? 12

teacherAll right, why do you send your kids to school? To learn? Or to give their teacher massages and scratch his back?

What? It's not the latter? Well, then you better not send your kiddo to Taylorsville Elementary School in Utah. There's a third grade teacher there who was caught ordering his students to scratch his back and rub his feet. And yes, he still has his job.

The Granite School District has disciplined Bryan Watts, the 53-year-old who was taking advantage of a bunch of 8-year-olds, and forbidden him from "inappropriate contact" with kids again. But he's still in the classroom, teaching.

As the mother of a second grader who I know is pretty eager to please (literally, those were the words her teacher used on her latest report card ... something I thought, at the time, was a good thing), the whole debacle scares me to pieces. Eager to please kids who have been raised by parents like me to listen to authority figures, especially teachers, can easily be drawn into a situation like this.

A teacher says jump, and they say "how high," because, after all, they're a TEACHER. But the idea of my little girl with her hands on a grown man's feet gives me the willies. She shouldn't be put in that position, no matter how important it is that we teach our kids to respect authority.

Perhaps this situation scares me most because I had a situation that came close to this as a child. I am the only person I've ever encountered from my school district who loathed a certain teacher, but I have a secret. When I was about my daughter's age, I stumbled in line, accidentally stepping on the man's shoe. As punishment, he made me get down on my knees and clean his shoes for him.

I didn't know at the time that I could say "no." I thought I had to do it. I imagine the same can be said of the kids who acquiesced to Bryan Watts' demands that they turn the classroom into a spa. They were just kids, listening to their teacher.

I'm horrified that this guy is still in a classroom, but I will say this has empowered me to have another talk with my daughter and her rights. She can and should say no when she feels uncomfortable, whether it's a teacher or a cop or any other authority figure. She has to know that she isn't powerless simply because she's a child.

She has to know that she should never be forced to touch a grown man (or woman for that matter) when she feels like it would be inappropriate.

Will you be having a talk with your kids about this story? What will you say?

 

Image via Bunches and Bits {Karina}/Flickr

back to school, elementary school, in the news