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Boy's Family Upset At Unflattering Awards; Parents Demand Apology From Teachers, Reprimand

Ohanian Comment; I'm a firm believer in the ability of everybody to make bad mistakes, but I can't fathom this one, can't fathom teachers getting together and coming up with this way to hurt children's feelings. I mean, they went to the trouble of making certificates. It sounds rather like they looked at student slam books and decided to copy the approach.

The TV station airing this story ran a poll:

Do you think the teachers should be punished for giving out awards that could hurt students' feelings?

Yes, fired 30%

Yes, verbal and/or written warning 25%

Yes, a suspension 21%

No, they should not be punished 25%

I find it interesting that it is so evenly divided and that 25% must feel that anything goes in teacher treatment of children.

by Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sixth-grader Matt Porter didn't enjoy getting "Most Likely Not To Have Children" and "Sir Clowns-a-Lot" awards from two teachers at his school.

His parents aren't pleased, either.

Matt said he received the awards in front of classmates during a ceremony at the Decatur Intermediate Learning Center at the end of the recently finished school year. His mother and his stepfather have asked the Decatur Township school system to reprimand the teachers, and they want an apology.

"Words cut deeper than any knife could. They hurt," said his stepfather, Joseph Sims. "When you hurt a child like that, you not only hurt him mentally, but it does hurt physically because you withdraw within yourself. That is what Matthew has done."

The certificates were signed by the teachers who distributed them. Matt recalled what the ceremony was like.

"I was standing in the middle of (the two teachers), and they (were) reading them off," he said. "Everyone was laughing."

Matt felt humiliated.

"They (were) putting us down and everything," he said. "That is not what their job is for, to put kids down. They are supposed to teach us."

Amy Sims, Matt's mother, said she met with a school official over the matter but was not satisfied with the response.

"She just told me that the teachers would call and apologize to him, and we've not heard anything at all," Amy Sims said.

Gary Pellico, spokesman for the school system, declined to say whether the teachers have been disciplined. He said system officials regret the incident.

"We don't feel like it was an appropriate awards ceremony at all," Pellico said. "It wasn't part of the school's award ceremony, and it will not happen again."

Amy Sims said her son needs counseling because of the awards. The school has offered it, but an agreement on who will provide it has not been reached, Thomas reported.

— staff
NBC 10.com





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