Skip to comments.Teacher placed on leave after paper towel incident
Posted on 04/05/2012 8:51:14 AM PDT by Puppage
Groton, Conn. (WTNH) --Some Groton parents are angry after a teacher had students hold a paper towel in their mouths to try to keep them quiet; and now the school says the teacher made a mistake in judgment.
At the heart of the controversy is how a fourth grade teacher at Northeast Academy disciplined her students for speaking out. Latest reports from the school department are that she had the students place a paper towel between their lips and just held it in place, sort of like a duck bill, but some parents are disputing that.
Debra Frank says parents have told her Carol VanErven, a teacher in Groton for more than 20 years, had the children stuff a paper towel inside their mouths.
"One child was gagging and had to move the paper towel over into his cheek," Frank said.
Frank's children are not in that class, but she is afraid one day they could be. That is why she has started a petition calling for Zero Tolerance of Abusive Behavior by any staff.
"Somebody who does this needs to be held accountable," said Frank.
Superintendent Paul Kadri tells News 8 the paper towels were not in the children's mouths and when one student tried to chew it like gum he was told to spit it out.
Kadri says the students backed up the teacher's claims. She was put on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
"I would like to know the teacher's side of the story," said Cherie Girard, "you know, where did she get that practice from? I just need to know the whole entire story before I can even make a judgement."
In a letter to parents, the school principal says the teacher "...admitted to her mistakes, and is fully remorseful." The principal continues on to say the teacher "...apologized to students..." and once she returns to school she "...is willing to do whatever is necessary to earn back the trust and confidence of her students and their parents."
"I believe in second chances," Frank said. "I don't believe this is a situation that warrants it."
VanErven is expected to return to the classroom sometime after the Easter break.
Frank says she may take her children out of school if VanErven is brought back. The superintendent says other parents are comfortable with her return and the confidence this will never happen again.
Boy times have changed. In my sixth grade class in 1978 if you were caught chewing gum the teacher made you stick it on your forehead for the rest of the day. How did I ever survive that child abuse.
I feel for the teacher. Having been in some of the classes up here, I understand the frustration. Kids are poorly behaved - they don’t shut up.
I used to teach reading to 3 or 4 at a time. I made them sit with erasers on their heads and challenge them to keep the eraser from falling off. It made them sit still for awhile.
The Paper Towel Incident.
Cry me a river.
(Then use that paper towel to mop it up.)
"If women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."
In 8th grade, for chewing gum, the teacher drew a small, nose-high circle on the board and made one of my classmates stand with her nose in the circle. She was so emotionally destroyed by the event that she became a cheer leader in high school and was, a few years ago, the wife of our mayor and the mother of his children.
You can see how devastating a thing like this can be.
Paper towel between the lips, aspirin between the knees... simply barbaric!
Muslim honor killings, black on white gang beatdowns... progress.
Just having it sit above the chalk board was good enough to insure that the was order in the classroom.
My sixth grade teacher would make us pull out an entire sheet of notebook paper, wad it up in a ball, and put it in our mouth until class was over if we spoke out of turn after a warning... I thought it was quite effective, and it only happened twice all year. The second guy that it happened to wasn’t there when it happened the first time.
We had the “board (1x6) of education”.
I was paddled twice in H.S. Once for falling asleep in Algebra (I plead extenuating circumstances - morning paper route, 4AM wake-up. The “judge” [the basketball coach/algebra teacher] overruled). The second time was for not getting a test paper signed by my Mom. I’d made a 100% and Mom was working late, so I carry no heavy guilt burden...only the scars!
Just kidding. However, my civics teacher was also the football line coach. Yeeeeooooowwwwch!
Hey, you breaka de rule, you pay de price!
I got the paddle my first day of 8th grade for fooling around at the start of gym class and unfortunately for me, it was delivered by the new gym teacher who had been an All-American fullback the previous year. Ooouccchhhh!