Just when you think you've heard all the outrageous stories about our nation's schools you can handle, along comes one even more unthinkable. In San Diego a 14-year-old student says her teacher refused to let her use the restroom and made her urinate in a bucket instead.
According to the Los Angeles Times, when the student asked if she could be excused, her art teacher, Gonja Wolf, told her no and that she should go into a storage room, use the bucket, then dump it into the sink. The student says after that she was teased by other students and "no longer feels safe or comfortable" at school.
I can't say I blame her; it's outrageous. But, as a parent, I think what's almost more concerning than what the teacher told the girl to do is that the girl actually did it.
That's not to blame the girl by any means, but I do have to wonder why she followed the teacher's humiliating instructions. Couldn't she have just as easily walked out the door? I would hope that if she'd marched down to the principal's office -- after a stop in the girls' room -- she would have found some support there. Even if she was punished for refusing, it surely would have been better than what happened.
It's one of those cases that reminds us as parents that beyond all of the lessons we teach our children about the importance of respecting those in authority, we also have to teach them that sometimes it's okay to defy them. We spend so much time teaching them to be obedient, to do as they're asked, to listen to their teacher, and not to speak out of turn, but they need to know that sometimes it's okay to throw that all out the window. It's a fine line, for sure, but an important one.
Time and time again we see the trust of children broken by adults who abuse their power, and we can't just issue a blanket statement to our kids to follow the rules of those in charge. We must teach them to think for themselves, even if that means breaking the rules sometimes.
The fault here is definitely the teacher's, and the girl's parents are suing for psychological and medical treatment and for the school district to pay for her to attend private school for the rest of high school. Hopefully, they'll get some kind of justice.
Do you teach your children that sometimes defying authority is necessary?
Image via Erlomo/Flickr