History Professor Who Silenced Stuttering Student Should Shut Up

sorryMaybe history professor Elizabeth Snyder is telling the truth when she says she "didn't mean to silence" her 16-year-old stuttering student by asking him not to speak in class. Sure, whatever, I'll bite. But if Philip Garber Jr. was my kid, no excuse would make up for the pain of knowing he was singled out and humiliated, told to save his questions until all the other students were gone.

Nothing would make up for it, in fact, but an apology would be something, at least.

Instead, Snyder claims she was just trying to put Garber at ease and that she's the "victim of a character assassination."

That's unfortunate, because in this case, trying to out-victim the victim is probably the worst possible approach for Snyder to take.


Like I said, maybe Snyder really is telling the truth. Maybe she just got flustered because it was taking Garber a long time to say what he wanted to say and the other students were getting impatient and she didn't know what else to do. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

But whenever an adult harms a child in any way, shape, or form, however unintentionally (particularly in a professional capacity), there is only one appropriate course of action to take:

Apologize. Sincerely. Repeatedly, if necessary.

Snyder can even stick with the "I didn't mean it" line if she wants to. But unless she adds the all-important element of remorse for the pain she caused, I'm afraid her excuses will fall on deaf ears.

Even administrators at the County College of Morris in New Jersey, where the incident took place, are saying Snyder took the "wrong approach," which might be part of what's putting her on the defense.

Somehow, though, I doubt that matters to Garber or his parents.

If a teacher hurt my kid and didn't apologize, nothing else she had to say would matter to me, either. 

Do you think Elizabeth Snyder needs to apologize to Philip Garber?


Image via Butupa/Flickr

Read More >