Charges Dropped Against Teacher Accused of Forcing Student to Eat From Garbage

Charges Dropped Against Teacher Accused of Forcing Student to Eat From Garbage

A Chapter by Debbie Barry

An esay about an incident of abuse in a public school. Written for EDU 108: Introduction to Policy & Education.


Charges Dropped Against Teacher Accused of Forcing Student to Eat From Garbage

November 21, 2009


My initial reaction as a parent would be shock and disgust that a child was made to eat food from a garbage can. There may have been nothing wrong with the food, but there is no way of knowing what the food came in contact with after it was thrown away. No doubt there was food waste from other students which could have carried any number of germs and bacteria. Also, the inside of a garbage can is just not usually a clean place. If this had been done to my child, I know I would have been all over the school and the school board about it.

My initial reaction from the viewpoint of the student would be humiliation at being made to eat garbage, even if it was only in the garbage can for a matter of seconds or minutes. By the time a child is in kindergarten, he or she usually knows that people do NOT eat out of the garbage, and that it is yucky, nasty, etc.. The child might have had good reason to not eat his food. For starters, a kindergartener's stomach is very small, and he might simply have been full, especially if, as happens in many kindergartens, he ate a snack at mid-morning. The child might not have been feeling well that day. He might have reached a growth plateau and didn't need as much food that day. Typically, kindergarten students aren't allowed to choose or refuse food in the lunch line, but are given a tray exactly like the trays the other children get. There is going to be waste in such a system.

Oops. You didn't ask for the student. My statements remain, however, as I think the child's perspective is important.

As the teacher, I can understand being frustrated with seeing food wasted day after day. The teacher was aged 67, meaning she was part of a generation where children were required to clear their plates, no matter what. She wanted the child to eat his food and to learn not to waste, but I believe she went too far. I doubt she thought so, however.

As the principal, I would have to look at all sides of the situation, including its impact on the child. I would assure the parent that I would talk to the teacher about the matter, and that the situation would not be repeated. I would try to calm the parent to avoid legal action, which either didn't happen or didn't work in the actual case. I would talk to the teacher, but knowing the teacher was about to retire, I doubt any disciplinary action would have been particularly effective.

In response to the final disposition of the matter:

As the teacher, I would be relieved that the charges were dropped.  I would probably feel vindicated.

As the teacher, I would be relieved, as well, because charges against a teacher reflect badly on the school.  I would also be relieved that the teacher in question had retired.

As the parent, I would be irate that the charges were dropped and that the teacher was not punished for her treatment of my child.

© 2017 Debbie Barry

Author's Note

Debbie Barry
Initial reactions and constructive criticism appreciated.

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Added on November 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017
Tags: essay, education, teacher, student, abuse, charges dropped, news report

A Journey through My College Papers


Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI

I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..