Several years ago, in a Portland middle school, a little girl did not have a food voucher at the end of the lunch line. Her mother forgot to renew them. The cashier scolded, berated and humiliated the child, took her food tray and threw the food into the trash. The nightly news reported it and interviewed the principal who defended the cashier.
A similar experience of public humiliation from a kindergarten teacher, has left me with a lifetime of horrible consequences. And because children are cheerfully sent off to school by parents, they believe that the parents are in agreement with everything that happens to them.
Parents need to keep an open, clear conversation with children, every day, about what happened in school that day. Pay full attention, careful to not blame the child for anything or become overly agitated as the story unfolds. You don’t want to shut this communication off, children are literal, they only learn embellishment and lying later, embellishment if they are not listened to and lying to avoid bad consequences to what they are saying. Then go to that school and raise hell!
One of my children did not bring an expected drawing home from her small religious school that day. When asked she said the teacher threw her drawing into the garbage. I took the book Picasso’s World of Children, went to see the teacher and told her she would have thrown away Picasso’s work and that she had no business being anywhere near a child. Then I joined the Board of Director’s of this school and fired her. As an adult, this child of mine was blessed with the entire gene pool of generations of portrait painters, she could draw as a photograph looks. This could bring hours of delightful magic to her life but she will not draw or paint.
Teachers, nurses and police are professions that appeal to the same segments of society, the supporters and the controllers. Because exchanges between them and client patients, students and the public are essentially private, the controllers can be as nasty as they wish. Watch out!