Teacher's aide shames boy by making him unclog dirty toilet with bare hands

Apr 6, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. ET

If your 7-year-old came home from school with a story like this, there's no doubt you'd be livid. One South Carolina mother is demanding that two school employees be fired after her son was made to unclog a dirty toilet using his bare hands.

The boy, a charter school student at Royal Oaks Live Academy of Hardeeville, South Carolina, was allegedly forced by a teacher's aide to remove excess toilet paper from a clogged toilet filled with feces using his hands. The young student's "crime" was that he had reportedly used too much toilet paper when going to the restroom. Other students saw the boy attempt to unclog the toilet with his hands.

According to his mother, the elementary schooler came home traumatized after the incident. Though the teacher and the aide in the classroom deny, deny, deny, other students confirmed the boy's story. The school workers were suspended, apologized and have since returned to work. In light of the humiliating and disturbing event that occurred, most people think a slap on the wrist just isn't enough.

Barbara Clark, Council Chairwoman and teacher for 35 years, was among the outraged. She said, "That is wrong. That is so ridiculous. And every time I think about it, it makes me sick."

Clark and the student's mother both believe the employees should be fired. As a parent of very young children, I wholeheartedly agree. Yes, teachers are people who sometimes make mistakes. But there is a distinct difference between mishandling a situation and abusing power in a way that could permanently damage a child.

Before you file this event in the "no big deal" category, don't underestimate the power of humiliation. A young boy was publicly shamed for a normal human act, using the restroom, and he is never going to be the same again. The fact that other students witnessed the boy using his bare hands to unclog a dirty toilet only adds to the damage that was done.

Whether the teacher and aide meant to be malicious is beside the point. The most telling part of the story is that it was the aide's first instinct to use shame as punishment, when there were literally dozens of other ways the situation could have been handled. If a parent had done this to a child at home, CPS would have been called. School employees with this kind of backwards, damaging thinking should not be working with kids.

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