'Butt Massaging' Fourth Grade Teacher Should Have Known Better

Say What!? 22

When you think of ways to break the ice with someone new, there's telling a joke. There's sharing a story or pictures of your pets. And then there's -- massaging someone's butt? A teacher found out the hard way that perhaps this isn't the best idea of how to break the ice -- especially when the butt you're massaging is that of a student. In front of the whole class.

Brooklyn teacher Celestine Sam was fired after reportedly bringing a male student up to the front of the class during an "icebreaker routine" and giving him a massage. And then having him reciprocate. And reportedly that massage extended to each other's rumps. Oy vey.

The exercise was apparently inspired by the teacher's time in a workshop of potential missionaries. Her father defends her by saying, "It wasn’t justified what they did to her. All she was trying to do was break the ice -- she didn’t touch anybody."

But a judge disagreed and ruled that Sam "exhibited poor judgment by engaging in an activity involving physical contact with a male student’s buttocks."

If this did happen, the fourth grade teacher showed incredibly bad judgment. What on earth could she have been thinking?! The boy, who was 9, was “embarrassed and upset during the massage," according to the judge's report.

Perhaps she just lightly patted him on the butt? Still wrong. Perhaps she didn't really touch his butt but just massaged him? Still wrong. If this was a male teacher who touched a female student in that way at all, there'd be all kinds of outrage.

There's a whole list of things teachers might have been able to get away with at one point, but probably couldn't now. A couple from my experience: A teacher who screamed at me and told me to get out of the room. I was made to stand in the hallway while other classes exited and all the kids laughed at me. Can only imagine the lawsuit I'd have today for "extreme emotional distress."

Oh, and there was the time a teacher, talking about childbirth, said, "Women are really stupid. Childbirth would be so easy if they'd just exercise throughout their pregnancy." Man, what I couldn't do with that intel today.

I feel sympathy for teachers who are stuck trying to simultaneously teach, bond with, control, and discipline their classrooms. But touching a kid in any kind of manner that could be misconstrued as sexual is just asking for trouble.

Do you have any memories of teachers doing stuff that would get them fired today? Should this teacher have been fired?


Image via Cherice/Flickr

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Coles... Coles_mom

I was raised in an ultra conservation religion that came with a lot of stigma. we wore certain types of clothing and we had an unusual way of praying, among many other things. I was often teased (again, I stuck out like a sore thumb due to clothes) relentlessly, but the worst time I remember was being in a jr high sociology class and we were discussing religions. The teachers pointed at me and demanded I come up to the front of the class and demonstrate the way "my people" prayed. I started sobbing and saying no (because praying in tongues in front of other people and not in a church setting is not acceptable) and he kept going on about it. The conversation finally ended after he'd thrown in a few cracks about how crazy we were. My mom was a teacher in the same school, but I never told her. She would have been livid.

Coles... Coles_mom

*conservative- not conservation

nonmember avatar Gretta

You know this isn't just teachers. It's any job. If you demonstrate poor judgement, you get fired.

zandh... zandhmom2

I swear everyday I have less faith in our teachers.

nonmember avatar Michele

zandhmom2 really?! As a young teacher in my first year on the job I can assure you that we get more scrutiny than almost all other jobs. If you even look at a student sideways you can be sued by parents. Obviously touching students is completely inappropriate, but just because once in a while there is a report of a teacher using poor judgment with a student doesn't mean we are all like that. I would do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING for each and everyone of my students. Do not discredit all of us just because there are a few creeps out there!

missusmc missusmc

If you actually think about the number of teachers that exist, and compare that to the number of teachers who do something stupid, like this one, you will realize that the vast majority are hard working and care very deeply for our children.  Only a very small percentage are butt massagers, or abusive, or even bad in general.  The good teachers just don't generate headlines.  Perhaps we should consider this before we lose faith in our teachers.

Carme... Carmen8706

I can't read this woman's mind, but she sounds like a pervert to me, the same as if it were a man doing this to a female student. Whatever the reason behind it, it shows and incredible lack of good judgment, and I am always wary of someone lacking that much common sense being in charge of the welfare of children.  I'm glad she was fired.

zandh... zandhmom2

Michele, I know that there are good teachers but right before I read this blog, I read the article about the teacher in CA who is accused of molesting over 20 kids during his career.  It is a shame that these bad teachers reflect on the good teachers but honestly, I'm sick of hearing about teachers who abuse their students or have sex with their students. Teacher used to be held at a higher standard but these days, a lot of teachers (just like some parents) want to act as if they are their students peers and/or friend and that has caused a lot of problems of where the line of authority and respect is drawn. Just my opinion.

Mrs.W... Mrs.Winchester

I think that there are two sides to every story,  and I'm not sure that just touching a student should warrant being fired.  I'm not sure if I really believe that she touched his butt or not.

Seren... Serenitymom

Apparently for her to accept this as ok must mean something about her history... and how quick for her father to side with her about butt touching is ok.... does anyone see this or is it just me?

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