Teachers deal with physically unstable students everyday, and that is just one of the reason why teacher burnout is so incredibly high. But how much should any one teacher take? What happens when it gets physical? What happens when the abuser is a 50-pound first grader and the teacher being abused is a 220-pound former college football player? The lines clearly get blurred, right?
Read on because this story gets a little complicated.
John Webster, a gym teacher at P.S. 330 in Queens, New York, claims that six-year-old Rodrigo Carpio, 6, went on a “rampage” and kicked and hit Webster, the school’s principal and a security officer last April.
It began when Rodrigo acted up on his way to the cafeteria. Webster reprimanded him and the child began hitting and kicking Webster as well as other school officials. Police were called.
As a result, Webster says that he now must wear a brace on his right ankle and knee, and has suffered emotional stress, for which he now needs therapy:
“[Rodrigo] looks like an angel, but then, all of a sudden, that halo turns into horns. It’s been a nightmare. It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating.”
While Carpio’s parents admit that their son has had behavioral issues, they maintain that what Webster is saying about their son is cruel.
The boy’s father, Jorge says, “The lawsuit is totally absurd. How could my little boy do so much damage? My poor son.”
The boy’s mother, Josefa Marcia da Silva, says:
“This is a terrible thing to say [about] a child. To every mother, their child is an angel. I know that he has problems, but he doesn’t deserve to be called such names.”
Rodrigo has received treatment and is said to be doing better this school year, but Webster says he still lives with that terrible day. Recently, he was ordered by a Department of Education doctor to go back to work, and that is when he filed a lawsuit against the city.
To Webster’s defense, police were called and the boy has been on file with the school for having aggressive heavier.
Here’s the thing though: all sides involved in this story are a little right.
Webster deserves to not being physically abused by any student but the parents hold some responsibility for their son’s behavior even if he does suffer from behavioral challenges. The school should protect its teachers but you would think that a 220-pound male teacher would be safe when walking with a pint-sized six-year-old. While Webster may suffer from some physical damage resulting from the incident since physically aggressive children can be incredibly strong despite their size, it’s highly unlikely that Webster is traumatized over the it. I mean, really. If he is, he shouldn’t be teaching to begin with.
The incident should never have happened but it did. Does the teacher really need to sue the city? The child is being treated and doing well now. That is at least, one good outcome of the terrible situation.
Do you think Webster deserves to be compensated by the city?
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