When parents send their kids to school, they expect them to acquire new knowledge and social skills. The last thing they think of is exposing their children to abuse. Even though the time of corporal punishment is long gone and considered unacceptable, still some children are faced with cruelty from teachers.
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Fairly recently, a headline-making incident took place in one of the schools in Pasadena. We all know that kids may sometimes misbehave. Even a kid's own parents can't always curb the naughty rascal, let alone the teacher who has to control the behavior and safety of a much larger number of pupils. Fox Baltimore reported that a second-grade student was subjected to violence. The boy was ignoring the teacher's requests to take his place, so she therefore decided to fulfill her threats and proceeded to tie him to a chair using tape. The school's headmaster suspended the teacher while an internal investigation is being carried out.
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There have been numerous incidents involving the abuse of power in the school environment. For instance, one teacher grabbed a 6 year old by the face. In another school, a girl died as a result of cruel disciplinary methods when her teacher taped her mouth.
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The child abuse issue is one of the most common in present-day schools, but we often have no idea that a teacher can be the offender. In such situations, children appear vulnerable before their mentors, the very people who are supposed to guide and protect them.
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According to Teaching Tolerance, abuse in educational institutions is associated with:
- inaction of schools' disciplinary systems;
- actions minimized or ignored by colleagues who remain silent;
- actions rationalized by offenders;
- actions normalized by students;
- lack of proof from the students' and their parents' side.
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Bullying from the teacher's side usually involves:
- unjust lowering of grades;
- actions with hidden or visible sexual implication;
- isolation and discrimination;
- use of inappropriate language;
- impolite and insulting comments on appearance, race, abilities, etc.;
- public humiliation;
- corporal punishment, including restraining or immobilizing as in the incident described above.
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Although there are many instances of power abuse by educators, it is a serious allegation – meaning that the child and his/her parents have to be certain that child abuse really took place and be able to prove it.
- Make sure that the accusations against the teacher are valid and not exaggerated.
- Make sure that the child knows the signs of verbal, physical and sexual bullying, as well as comprehends them in the right way.
- Talk to the alleged abuser, as well as other parents and students who are able to verify to the authenticity of your claims.
- Document all cases of bullying, for instance, by using recording devices.
- Don't disregard signs that your child is being offended; pay attention to his/her complaints.
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There probably isn't precise statistics of how many children are subjected to abuse by their teachers, because many victims prefer to silence what's going on. It's the parent's main task to recognize the possible danger coming from the educator and take action.
The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.