A kindergarten teacher in Roane County, Tenn., reportedly told students in her class to make a circle around a classmate who was messy, call him a pig and say “oink,” according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

On March 16, a teacher at Bowers Elementary School walked into the classroom of another teacher, a 38-year veteran named Debbie Hayes, and saw kids in a circle making pig sounds at another kindergartener, who was crying, the paper said.

The principal was alerted and called in Hayes, who, according to the reprimand letter obtained by the newspaper, had told the child, “Your area looks like a pig sty. Oink. Oink.”

Kindergarteners in the class told the principal that their teacher had told them to make a circle around the child and “call him a pig and make pig noises,” though Hayes apparently denied it, saying she didn’t notice that the kids were taunting their classmate.

The victim’s mother turned down an offer from the school to transfer him to another teacher and classroom.

Just when you think this can’t get much worse, here’s what happened to Hayes for this offense: She was suspended for a day from her $44,283-a-year job, and told to apologize to her students.

I feel the need to repeat: For bullying her student, and for encouraging her students to do the same thing, this teacher was suspended for a day.

The questions stemming from this incident are legion. Was this really the first time a teacher in the profession for 38 years did this sort of thing? Doubtful.

Who thought a one-day suspension was enough?

Why didn’t somebody insist that this child -- and all the other children in the class -- be given another teacher? Why didn’t the child’s mother? Where were the other supposed professionals at the school and in the school system who are supposed to be able to recognize bullying behavior and understand its serious consequences?

Something is not right at this school. Someone needs to intervene. Fast.


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