As if being a sixth grader wasn’t difficult enough, now it’s the teachers that start going for youngsters psyche. No wonder our kids don’t find school conducive to learning.

Sixth grade teacher Rex Roland shapes young minds at Enka Middle School outside of Asheville, North Carolina.

At least he did until Sunday, when the Asheville Citizen-Times reported Roland was suspended for writing “Loser” not once but twice on one of his student’s graded assignments. He indicated that this was his way of “relating to” his students. Though Roland apologized, the child’s mother said she thought he was “bullying” her daughter.

Of course he was bullying her daughter and also sending the signal to her classmates that this behavior and language is not just tolerable but accepted and appropriate for use by those in authority. The teacher should be fired if the investigation being conducted by the school bears out the charges in this situation to be true.

The Citizen-Times piece quoted some of Roland’s supporters, like Kim Kinser, as stating the matter is being blown out of proportion. Children commonly call each other “loser” and the term is not considered demeaning, Kinser said.

The values we are teaching our kids are clearly askew when calling someone a “loser” is acceptable.

Kids need encouragement, support and appropriate role models from all adults they encounter, especially their teachers.  Twelve year-old children have fragile egos and self esteem is something that can easily flag based on casual comments or perceived slights. What kind of teacher doesn’t instinctively know this and instead uses a position of authority to berate and humiliate a child?

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Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender is a recent corporate refugee whose opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and is the City Life Editor for Charlotte ViewPoint. His micro-fiction has been featured online at Bull Men’s Fiction, Calliope Nerve, Danse Macabre, Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Full of Crow, Pangur Ban Party and others.

You can find more of his work at his website and also at his blog.