When Christina Valdez’s daughter came home from school with an award certificate for presenting the most homework excuses, Desert Springs Academy tried to pass off the teacher’s in-class announcement of the child’s “award” as joking, she told KGUN TV. Valdez quite rightfully was not amused, says Carol Bengle Gilbert for Yahoo! News. Jokes at the expense of 8-year-olds aren’t funny to mature adults and are developmentally detrimental to kids. The dual message the teacher, Ms. Plowman, delivered was powerful: to Valdez’s daughter, the message was be fearful of mistakes; to the class, Plowman endorsed making fun of others for their perceived deficiencies. This is no message for teacher and role model to deliver. Mocking a child- and encouraging other children to join in- is wrong and harmful. Slapping the label “humor” on it doesn’t change that. The immaturity and ignorance inherent in Plowman’s creation and presentation of a humiliating award to a captive and defenseless 8-year-old unfortunately is shared by too many teachers…

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