I wish I knew what the teacher was thinking when she decided to have one of her students stand in front of the room and then asked each of his classmates to tell him what they did not like about him. I wonder what her intent was when she then had each student vote as to whether he should be in the class. He was voted out 14-2. I wonder what she expected when she asked him how he felt about this in front of the class. I wonder what she was thinking when he said, "I feel sad."

Do you think this is emotional abuse?

Do you think this sent a signal to some of the other students that public humiliation is acceptable?

I wish this was a hypothetical situation but it is not. This happened last week in a kindergarten classroom to a five year old student who was being evaluated for autism and asberger syndrome.

The teacher then asked the student what he was going to do now. He said he would go to the office. The teacher replied, "They don't want you there either." The little boy went to the nurse's office and stayed there for the rest of the day. His mother only found out about this when she picked him up from school.

People ask me if mobbing happens in elementary school. Of course it does. How do children learn to treat each other without respect? They watch what the adults do and not just their parents. I wonder what lesson the other five year olds learned last week when this happened.

The little boy targeted by the teacher in this way won't be going back to school there. What the other children won't see is their classmate repeating word for word the negative statements they made as he stood in front of the class, then saying, "I'm not special." He's doing this over and over again. They won't see him scream when his mother drives to the school to drop off his sibling. They won't understand that another person's life has been changed as a result of what happened. They don't understand that they just participated in a mobbing.

The teacher has been "reassigned" while the school district is investigating.

There are no winners when it comes to mobbing. Everyone loses. Everyone is changed. But each of us can make a difference for the better. Talk about this with your children and your friends. Then take some action to spread awareness in your community. This is not the only child, teacher, classroom, school, or community where this type of situation happens. We must be the change we wish to see in the world and each of us can begin in some small way, today.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Pursell Elliott is author of the book School Mobbing and Emotional Abuse: See It Stop It Prevent It with Dignity and Respect, Brunner-Routledge ISBN 0 415 94551 8
This accessible and easy to use book has down to earth, real examples of what you can do to incorporate dignity and respect principles into your school, family and community.
**Invite Gail to speak at your school, train staff, create insight and awareness in your community.