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Monday, November 19, 2018

Opinion

Substitute teacher partakes in bullying of student


Being a teacher may be a difficult job at times, but it is also a job filled with rewards. A teacher is an important person in a child’s life because they help to mold and shape the child into the person they will one day grow up to be.

The student-teacher relationship is one of confidence and trust. But when that trust is abandoned, it may result in a plethora of consequences.

According to The Daily Mail, a student-teacher relationship was broken in a horrific breach of trust by a substitute teacher at Streamwood High School in Illinois. The substitute teacher humiliated a 15-year-old freshman Stephen Davis when he drew an unflattering picture of Davis with a caption reading “Stephen’s ugly ass” for the whole class to see.

Davis was able to record the entire incident on tape, proving that the substitute really did partake in this horrible activity and it wasn’t just Davis asking for attention.

The substitute teacher’s decision to humiliate Davis in front of the entire class shows that not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. Granted, the perpetrator in this case was simply a substitute, but he was the figure of authority in the classroom. He had no right to humiliate Davis in the manner he did.

The substitute’s actions show that just about anyone can receive a teaching license and then have free reign to do whatever they please in the classroom.

Creative writing senior Mariesha Keys said she had a difficult time watching the video that complemented the article. Nevertheless, she had strong opinions on the matter.

“I think the most disheartening aspect to the video is that the teacher feels OK doing this. He is openly mocking one of his students, and while it might be too much to expect a fellow peer to stand up and speak out, one would not expect a teacher to exhibit such behavior,” Keys said.

Keys said that while she does not think this incident is a representation of all school environments, she is glad the teacher will be incriminated after this substantial evidence is provided.

“Another incident in the video occurs towards the end that is equally disturbing, when Stephen sadly corrects the spelling of his name in the horrible caricature of himself drawn by the teacher,” Keys said. “I could tell from that reaction alone that Stephen has adapted himself to this sort of ridicule, but he should not under any circumstances have to adapt the same passive and defenseless attitude towards an authority figure.”

According to The Daily Herald, Davis — who weighs 330 pounds — has been bullied since the first grade due to his weight. Unfortunately, as Davis said, he has “learned to just move along.”

The fact that Davis has been picked on for throughout the majority of his schooling career, without any consequences to the bullies, shows that the American school system has failed in its simple duty of making sure every student has a safe and enjoyable school experience.

The video that Davis recorded was posted onto a “School District U-46 Uncensored” page on Facebook by Davis’ sister, Brianna Davis. Brianna said it was a student who started the bullying, but it was the substitute who “took it to another level.”

The Daily Herald reported that the Illinois State Board of Education has the responsibility of giving out teaching licenses to substitute teachers. However, the lack of background checks on these potential substitutes is clear in their decision to allow this particular individual into the classroom. This individual was entrusted with the safety and well-being of this group of students — and he failed in his job.

The Daily Mail mentioned that the substitute teacher had been suspended as a result of his actions, but this suspension is not enough. His suspension is useless because he already damaged the confidence of Davis.

Davis was accustomed to being bullied by students, but he should have always had the support of the person in charge of the classroom and its students. The fact that the substitute engaged in the bullying, rather than putting a stop to it, could result in Davis’ lack of trust for educators everywhere.

This matter could have been prevented had there been a more thorough background check on this substitute. Solving a problem after it has happened is essentially useless. The only fortunate matter is that the substitute will, hopefully, not have an opportunity to bully another student.

Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected] 

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