Teacher Forces 3rd Grader to Unclog Toilet (and You Won't Believe the Rest)

teacher forces kids to put hands in toilet clog

Several weeks ago my 6-year-old clogged the toilet in the bathroom we all share, and it was a gross bummer in the way that clogged toilets are ALWAYS a gross bummer. I gently chided him for having stuffed way, way, way too much toilet paper in the bowl before flushing (this is, I suppose, preferable to not wiping thoroughly), but it never once occurred to me to ask him to fix the toilet. Because ... no. No way is that gonna end well. However, that’s exactly what an elementary school in Othello, Washington, did recently: a teacher told a third-grader to fix a clog. All by himself. WITH HIS BARE HANDS.

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Artie and Lisa Adams learned that on November 6, a teacher at their son’s Scootney Springs Elementary School ordered their third-grader to unclog a urinal with his bare hands. The boy had apparently reported the clog to his teacher Brent Taylor, at which point Taylor told him to clean up the mess — without using a plunger, gloves, or any other tools.

After the 8-year-old reached into the toilet and pulled out a few strands of paper, the teacher himself reached in barehanded and pulled out the mess. Supposedly, only paper was involved, not solid waste (although the whole thing is still pretty gross in my book).

Taylor admits that he did this, and he’s since been reprimanded. The principal warned Taylor that any further related incidents would lead to his termination and ordered him to review a hygiene course.

The Adams family isn’t happy with the teacher’s punishment, however, and says he deserves more than a scolding. Othello Superintendent George Juarez has stated that the punishment was made in consultation with the school’s legal team and was appropriate “considering the teacher's record and contract protections.”

Juarez:

The child had flushed the toilet several times, and it didn't go down. I am sure that the best judgment would have been to call our custodian to handle the matter.

Taylor has not publicly commented on the incident, and the family has since decided to transfer their son to another school.

Frankly, if I were this kid’s parents I would be EXACTLY this mad. I would be calling for that teacher to be suspended, at the very least. If anyone else did this at their job — if I were a secretary in an office, and I forced a child to stick their hands in a toilet — I would be fired, wouldn’t I? So why isn’t he punished with anything more severe than a reprimand? Even if the kid put paper in there himself, which he probably did, this was a highly inappropriate course of action.

Where do you stand on this story? Do you think the teacher got the punishment he deserved?


Image via sean/Flickr

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