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Teacher's "Catastrophe Award" to 3rd Grader Stuns, Angers Mother

If the teacher who recently presented an 8-year-old student with a special “Catastrophe Award,” which was delivered to the child in front of the child's entire 3rd grade class, thinks this was funny, I think the teacher needs some classes in appropriate humor. And appropriate behavior.

The teacher, one Mrs. Plowman, who teaches 3rd grade at the Desert Springs Academy in Arizona, gave the award to little Cassandra Garcia, for “the most excuses for not having homework.” The teacher signed the award with a smiley face and her name.

Using a different word, couldn't this be described as bullying?

Cassandra’s mother, Christina Valdez, didn’t see the humor in the award either. At first, Valdez and her daughter were confused, since Cassandra's homework folder was complete, and Valdez said she hadn't been notified by the teacher about any missing homework. But the mother's confusion quickly turned to anger when her daughter said she was humiliated after receiving the award in front of her classmates and all of them laughed at her. And that's when Christina Valdez, called the school’s principal.

Valdez told KGUN-TV in Tuscon that when she complained to the principal, “… she blew me off. She said it was a joke that was played and that the teachers joke around with the children.”

Some education experts interviewed by the TV station and asked to comment on the “award” agreed with Valdez—that this was no laughing matter and that any such negative award was detrimental, especially to a child that age.

Personally, I think this was appalling and an utterly unacceptable gaffe on the teacher’s part. What was she thinking? What do you think? Couldn't this qualify as bullying?


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