As a parent, have you ever experienced that gut feeling that something just isn’t right at your child’s school? I have worked in the public school system and I know there is a good chance your parental instinct is correct. This article outlines the types of undetected child abuse occurring in public schools daily.
Parents, it’s that time again. The time of the year where we send our darling angels and our darling devils back to school. Some of us are full of sorrow and some of us are full of joy. Regardless of our emotions when we see the big yellow school bus coming down the road, we all send our children to school expecting them to be in trusting hands. But, have you ever experienced that gut feeling, the heaviness that pits the bottom of your stomach, when you see your child ride away on the school bus? If you have ever experienced this feeling, you should be concerned.
As a former employee of a public school and student working on my Masters in Teaching, I want to warn parents that not all public schools should be trusted. I have witnessed abuse to children by school administrators, teachers, and staff. If you have that negative gut feeling when you send your child to school, act on it. It is a natural defense mechanism called parental instinct. In the same way a mother bear instinctively knows when her cub is in danger, so do we.
Types of Abuse to Students
Most students will not experience this type of abuse at the hands of school staff. Adults know physical contact with a child will lead to jail; therefore, they refrain from physical contact and express their power and control in more demeaning ways, through verbal or emotional abuse.
The most common form of verbal consists of word choice. A teacher who chooses to use words that directly impact a student in a negative manner is directly verbally abusing the child. Indirect verbal abuse occurs when teachers use sarcasm, inappropriate tones, and/or negative nonverbal gestures. For example, a teacher who tells students they are “too stupid to learn” is directly verbally abusing the students. However, a teacher who answers a question by sarcastically saying, while rolling her eyes “What do you think?” is engaging in indirect verbal abuse.
Emotional abuse can be difficult for a parent to identify in their child because children are actively developing emotionally and many different factors can affect emotional development. Teachers can negatively affect the emotional development of children by abusing their power as the teacher. Examples of emotional abuse include withholding bathroom rights, overly threatening punishments without abiding by the code of conduct, rejecting students work, and grading harshly.
Parents Know Best
From my perspectives as both a parent and an educator, I can say verbal and emotional abuse does occur in public schools. If you experience the feeling of rocks in your stomach as you send your child to school, pay attention. Your parental instincts are probably correct. However, finding the source of abuse may not be an easy task due to the sneakiness of the “wise teachers”. Ask your child detailed questions and to show you exactly how a teacher said something. Pay attention to nonverbal gestures and the tone of voice. When you confront the teacher or administrator on the issue, be prepared to hear lies. Use your judgment as a parent and follow those instincts. You, the parent, know your child best and you are your child’s best protection. Don’t let your school get away with child abuse.
Published in: Family