Yesterday, I wrote about the disturbing incident at an Ohio elementary school, where a sixth grader was systematically mortified and subjected to ridicule because of the length of his hair. That was bad; this is worse.
A teacher at a New York City public school, P.S. 65 in the Ozone Park neighborhood, turned his fourth-grade classroom into a fighting ring and forced two children to duke it out.
Teacher Joseph Gullotta told the students, ages 9 and 10, that they needed to settle a dispute with a fist fight, under his supervision. One student suffered a cut lip, the other a bruised and swollen head as their rewards for the January 28 fight. Gullotta sent one of the injured boys to the school nurse, and told him to say he was hurt when he bumped into another student.
Gullotta is now under arrest, along with his teaching aide, Abraham Fox, who apparently witnessed the whole, sickening event. A teacher’s aide was involved in the humiliation of the student in Ohio, too. Do these people think “aide” refers to “aiding and abetting”? Neither of the two assistants were able to find the decency, common sense and courage to object to such blatant child mistreatment and either stop it or report it. What do they teach aides that their duties are? “Do whatever the teachers says, no matter how senseless, illegal or cruel”? If the teaching aides wouldn’t intervene, protest, threaten to call authorities, or take over the class under these circumstances, they have been trained to forgo all independent judgment. Or perhaps they have had their character and values surgically removed or chemically neutralized. A teacher’s aide has a duty to look out for the welfare and safety of the students above all. This would undoubtedly come as a surprise to Fox or the aide in Ohio.
This is Kiddie Abu Ghraib, and it should be sounding alarms all over America, in every household that sends a child to public school, and in every school district and PTA. People are in charge of our children’s education and socialization who should not be trusted to take care of a gerbil, and their assistants have been trained to be ethically inert.