LOSER: Constructive Relating or Destructive Criticism
Last week, a 6th grade teacher in a North Carolina Middle School, deemed one of his students a ‘Loser’ and put his comments on her school paper. The teacher, Rex Roland, insisted that he was ‘just joking,’ and used this kind of language to ‘relate to the students.’ His supporters said that he likes to joke with students and that’s part of his teaching style. Well, writing ‘loser’ on a student’s paper is no joke. In fact, the mother of this girl had previously complained to the administration and was assured that the teacher would stop using the word. He didn’t.
And now, the girl is paying the consequences. She has reportedly been staying home from school due to student response to their teacher being side-lined for the next two weeks. She has been getting angry Facebook and text messages threatening her, saying that she did a “bad thing” and for that she must be punished. Other messages called her names such as ‘freak’ and used gay slurs and many obscenities. The family says that some threats were serious enough that the girl and her family fear for their safety.
Well, hasn’t Rex Roland been a great teacher? He has been a stellar model for using name-calling, demeaning remarks and derogatory comments as ways to deal with his students. And, guess what? The students seem to have learned their lessons well. They are now using his techniques to bombard their classmate with name-calling, threats and obscene messages. Their parents, the supporters of this teacher, should be so proud.
All because this girl didn’t want to be called a “loser.” No child—ever—should be demeaned by anyone, especially an adult. Kids can joke around, gesturing an “L” for loser on their foreheads. When they all agree it’s funny, then it’s playful. When kids do it in an effort to degrade another kid…it’s not funny…it’s bullying. It was bad enough that Mr. Roland thought it was funny to write ‘loser’ on the girl’s paper the first time. However, to have been requested to stop—and then to purposefully do it again is bullying. Plain and simple.
We rely on teachers to be good role models, set the example, and treat kids with dignity and respect. Those who do should be thanked and appreciated. Those who don’t, do not deserve to be in the classroom. Those who bully, do not deserve to be around kids. And, the kids who are feeding off of Mr. Roland’s example of demeaning and denigrating their fellow student need to see what happens when those kinds of messages are delivered. Their teacher, Mr. Roland, needs to be fired from his position and sued by the family. These ensuing events need to occur for two reasons. One is to show him who the loser really is. And the second, and more important reason, is to teach his students, his ‘followers,’ that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable.