Teacher Forces Six-Year-Olds to Rub Her Feet.

From time to time I find myself blogging about incidents that involve the school system. Usually the news pieces centre around the bad behaviour of students, but today’s post is about the misdoings of a teacher. A South Carolina teacher of Batesburg Leesville Primary School has been accused of forcing her first-grade pupils to rub her feet.

Brenda Norris, the grandmother of one of the students, became aware of the questionable behaviour when her granddaughter came to her and begged not to be sent to school. The six-year old girl then revealed that the cause of this was that she hated to rub her teacher’s feet.

“It’s just painful, just to know that this woman would have them touching her feet. What was going through her mind?” said Norris. “My granddaughter has nightmares, she cries. She said ‘I have three wishes, Grandma. One of them was not to go to school today.'”

Lexington School District Three Superintendent Dr. Chester Floyd says an investigation has been launched into the matter and meetings have been held with the teacher and the parents and all necessary actions have been taken. The district hasn’t specified what these actions were though.

“The administration took immediate action. Immediately began an investigation, took appropriate action, rectified the situation, had a follow-up meeting with the parent who brought the incident to our attention. We took very stern and appropriate action and that situation has been rectified,” said Floyd. He says the incident was not racially or sexually motivated.

As of yet, no charges have been filed against the teacher so the teacher’s name has not been released.

WTF? Why was this lazy cow of a teacher asking six-year-olds to rub her feet? Did she think it was an acceptable request? Sure, this isn’t a scandal the magnitude of the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State situation but I am just shocked and flabbergasted at this news. This little girl only just started school around four months ago and already her trust in teachers has been destroyed. What a stupid, stupid woman. She should lose her job if she proved guilty and should no longer be allowed to work in the education system.

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“Find a Pox Party in Your Area” Controversy!

A Facebook page named “Find a Pox Party in Your Area” is currently under-fire by the media and medical experts alike over it’s unethical practices. What is a “pox party” I hear you ask? Well it’s a community of parents who try and willingly infect their children with chicken pox by exposing them to belongings of children that are currently infected by the illness. The FB users request items such as used lollipops/suckers covered with infected saliva, items of clothing and even wet rags covered in infected saliva. Yuck!

The theory is that by allowing them to contract the illness naturally, it will help increase their immune systems. Vaccines are available for the illness, but some parents are choosing to let them catch it the old fashioned way because they believe giving kids too many vaccinations is bad for them. The problem is, by mailing people the virus they’re actually breaking the law. Here are a couple of posts left on the page’s wall:

One post reads: “I got a Pox Package in mail just moments ago. I have two lollipops and a wet rag and spit.”

A mom chimes in: “This is a federal offense to intentionally mail a contagion.”

Another woman offers up some advice, “Tuck it inside a zip lock baggy and then put the baggy in the envelope :) Don’t put anything identifying it as pox.”

Experts have this to say on the subject:

“If you have a young child over to your house specifically to get chicken pox, I don’t think anyone would like to really consider what would happen if that child ended up being hospitalized,” Elizabeth Jacobs from the University of Arizona

College of Public Health said.“This is dangerous,” Dr. A.D. Jacobson, the chief of ambulatory pediatrics at Phoenix Children’s Hospital said. Dr. Jacobson added that chicken pox is extremely contagious and that it’s unwise to send it via mail.

It really is a strange story. I think as a society today we tend to wrap up our children in bubble wrap and shelter them from germs too much. When I was a child I was always playing in the dirt and getting messy. And I’m sure it made me sick from time to time. Heck, I even had chicken pox as a kid and I believe I’m better for it. As a vaccine-trigger-happy society I think we’re opening up problems to today’s young-uns to where they may have weaker immune systems when they grow older. I’m not basing this on any particular medical study, this is just how I see things.

But I have to admit that the idea repulses me. Sending viruses in a jiffy bag? Shoving secondhand lollipops into a child’s mouth that has been slobbered on by a sick kid? No thanks! I think their hearts are in the right place, they’re just a little misguided.

Hallowe’en Costumes Through the Years!

My wife and I spent a wonderful night with our little niece last night at Hattiesburg’s Zoo Boo (although she did turn six today so I guess she’s not so little anymore). For the uninitiated, Zoo Boo is a week long Hallowe’en event held at our local zoo where they open their gates from 5:30-8:00 p.m. for young trick-or-treaters to come and play games and win candy. It’s been going on for many years now.

It’s really become quite the tradition for us. This year marks the third time we made the trip out. And looking through some of my old photo folders, I’ve put together a little collection of my niece’s costumes from year to year.

2009

It started in 2009, at age three, she dressed up as Supergirl. At the time I had been letting her watch a lot of She-Ra Princess of Power episodes and she had kind of fallen in love with the idea of self-empowering female superheroes. She saw this costume for sale and she had to have it. And she continued to dress up in it for months on end. She used to love running around the garden as her red cape flapped behind her. Bless!

2010

2010 saw her graduate to a Wonder Woman costume. Hmm, another superhero costume… Am I seeing a pattern here? Now four, we had a wonderful time. Zoo Boo is made up of little games that kids can win candy from and I remember this particular year there was one where you had to shoot a basketball through a hoop. This little bugger, aged four, rimmed it! Clever little thing!The accompanying picture is of us on the carousel inside the park grounds.

2011

And last but not least, here is me and the little ‘un posing outside Zoo Boo 2011 (we got there early this year). Keeping the streak alive she went dressed as Batgirl. I flippin’ love this kid! What great taste! And boy was it freezing. The little love had to don a jacket shortly after this picture was taken. It was another great night at Zoo Boo and we had kept the tradition alive for the third year. Roll on next year!

Is Sarcasm Genetic?

So is sarcasm genetic? I guess you could make a case for that being true, but I think it’s generally taught. My five-year old niece (who you will be familiar with if you’re a regular reader of my blog) is walking evidence that this may not be the case.

A lil background on me. I’m a 32 year old English male who has been living in the United States for nine years. If you grew up in my household, you should have a firm grasp on sarcasm. Myself, my brother and sister were always jibing at each other growing up. I have to feel sorry for my poor mum. I’d always pick at her with my sarcastic humour. Not in a malicious way though. She actually enjoyed it in some kind of twisted way. So you see, I had a firm base in sarcastic humour, and when I moved to the States all those years back, I faced the task of having to adapt my humour style to mesh with your average American citizen.

Chalk and cheese. Oil and water. Ice cream and horse manure. Somethings just aren’t compatible. And it turned out my sense of humour wasn’t tailor-made for the Stateside peeps. Besides having to slow down my thick Norfolk accent, I had to figure out how to connect with them on a humour level. This blog is in no way a dig at the American people. The English have their ways and the Americans have theirs.

Case in point. One time I was working a concession stand with a girl who is a close friend of my wife and I. She made the comment that whenever she hears me talk, she pictures me as somebody drinking tea with a little teacup, wearing a bowler hat and carrying an umbrella. My natural sarcasm kicked in and I exclaimed “That is so racist!” I waited for her to laugh. It never came. Instead she apologized to me and asked if she had offended me. I said of course not, but I could really see that she felt bad about it. I tried to reassure her it was okay, but the damage was done. Whoops!

So what about my little niece? Well, I’ve been there for her since she was born and have babysat her on numerous occasions. I’ve taught her how to draw, colour, read the alphabet and many other things. One other thing is that she’s learned from me is my sarcastic sense of humour. Say that I trip over. She laughs at my misfortune. In response I quickly snap “Why are you laughing?! Did somebody tell a joke?!” Does she feel bad and apologize profusely? Nope. She just quips back “Because you just fell on your butt!”

Now genetically her and I are no relation. Meaning that my sarcastic streak has not been genetically passed down to her. But through nurture, instead of nature, she’s picked up sarcasm. This is why I think sarcasm is not genetic. It’s brought on by learning through example at a young age. And boy did my little niece ever learn it!

Where Does Pork Come From?

Kids say some ridiculous things, don’t they? I’m sure we’ve all heard them come out with some funny stuff before. So in honour of this, today I’m going to share with you something my nephew once said.

One day my wife and I were at Walmart and we had our six-year old nephew with us. As an uncle, I love to test out the knowledge of my nephews and nieces. So, going by the meat section, I started testing out his meat knowledge…

Uncle: So, do you know where chicken comes from?
Nephew: Erm… Chicken?
Uncle: Yep, that’s right! Do you know where beef comes from?
Nephew: Erm… (long pause) Cows?
Uncle: That’s right! So do you know where fish comes from?
Nephew: A pond?
Uncle: Haha! Okay, you got me there. You’re right! So where does pork come from?
Nephew: Erm…
Uncle: What do you think?
Nephew: Erm… Porcupines?

Porcupines. Yep, I almost died laughing. Right there in the middle of Walmart. You have to love kids, eh?

Read your Little ‘un a Bedtime Story!

If you’re a parent or a guardian and you pass up the opportunity to read a bedtime stories to the little one in your life then shame on you! I may not be a parent myself, but I have a little five-year old niece that stays with my wife and I on a frequent basis. In fact, before she started school this past August, I  babysat her for two years, daily,  from 6AM to 2PM while her mother worked. To say that she and I have formed a close bond would be a gross understatement. She’s like a daughter to me. I taught her how to colour, draw, act silly, taught her ABCs, and most importantly, how to do a very convincing English accent (I’m an Englishman living in the United States).

Now I’ll probably get more into the relationship of my wife and I with our little niece at another time, but right now I have a message. We live in a time of fantastic technology. When it comes to handheld and tablet devices, the World around us is changing at an alarming rate. There are actually apps specifically aimed at children too. And they’re great. I actually helped my niece learn her ABCs through such an app. But something about this troubles me…

Always remember how we were brought up as kids. Realize the importance of reading a child a bedtime story. These days they have apps that can sing lullabies to children. There are also apps that play bedtime stories to children. All well and good. But I think it’d be a crying shame if the app revolution were to replace the art of reading a bedtime story to a child. To me there’s nothing more rewarding than reading a tale to my little niece. Be it Chicken Licken, The Enormous Turnip or The Magic Porridge Pot, there’s no other way she’d prefer to go to sleep than hearing her uncle reading her a bedtime story. This blog’s accompanying picture is the cover of a book that I picked up back in England the last time I visited home. This somehow makes it more special to her in her eyes. I’m creating memories for her that she will never forget.

What kind of memories is a child going to make by listening to a storytime app or a lullaby app? My guess would be crappy ones. Parents, guardians, be a part of your children’s lives. They are there to be appreciated, not to simply raise. And reading a bedtime story to a child is one way to show them how much you love them.