Fourth-graders who flunk reading have faces marked
DECLO, Idaho — A fourth-grade teacher in southern Idaho is being criticized after having her students use permanent markers to draw on the faces of classmates who failed to meet reading goals.
Some parents and administrators say the punishments given to nine students in Summer Larsen's class were inappropriate and left the children feeling shamed.
Cindy Hurst said recently her 10-year-old son came home from school Nov. 5 with his entire face - including his eyelids - scribbled on with green, red and purple markers.
“He was humiliated, he hung his head and wanted to go wash his face,” Hurst told The Times-News of Twin Falls (http://bit.ly/QMwMTJ ). “He knows he's a slow reader. Now he thinks he should be punished for it.”
Larsen, who has taught at the school for six years, didn't respond to requests for comment. But Cassia County School District Superintendent Gaylen Smyer confirmed what took place in her classroom, though he didn't name Larsen.
The students were allowed to choose their own incentive to meet the reading goal, but instead of a reward, the class chose a punishment: Students who failed to meet the goal could either stay inside at recess until it was met, or have their faces written on by classmates who met the goals.
Nine students didn't meet the goals, the paper reported Friday. Three chose to forgo recess, and the other six chose to have their faces marked on.
“Although all the students in the class agreed to the incentive, once it occurred it was not so well received. Nor should it have been,” Smyer said.
LeRoy Robinson, who has two grandchildren who had their faces marked for failing to meet the goals, said the punishment was bullying. The children had their faces marked in the morning, and were told to leave it on all day but to wash it off before they went home, Robinson said.
“Other kids were asking them about it and laughing at them,” he said.
Robinson's wife, Karla Robinson, said the ink was hard to wash away and most kids couldn't get it off their faces, leaving them embarrassed - especially when they had to ride the bus home with junior high and high school students.
Some parents were supportive, however. Karla Christensen, whose daughter met Larsen's reading goals, said the teacher was just trying to motivate students.
Smyer wouldn't confirm whether the teacher faced any disciplinary action, but parents said she was absent from school for the next few days, returning to the classroom Nov. 12.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Laurel Ballet student dancers entertain at Mad Hatter Tea in Unity
- Junior Princess from Marshall continues community work with pasta fundraiser
- Jazz musicians draw crowd at art gallery in Pittsburgh’s West End
- Flash!: Circle Sinners and Saints; Tribute to Veterans
- Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify women’s business center bestows Winners’ Circle Awards
- Arnold Palmer presents Spirit of Hope Award to archabbot at St. Vincent College event
- Craig Davis Consortium wows Westmoreland Jazz Society audience in Greensburg
- McCandless ‘Rock-a-thon Queen’ keeps on rockin’ for fundraiser
- Quantum Theatre celebrates 25 years with gala in Pittsburgh’s Union Trust Building
- Greater Pittsburgh YWCA gives Women Leadership Awards to diverse group
- Motorcyclist killed after striking pole in Penn Township