Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Teacher Cuts Off First-Grader’s Braid; Union Blames It on “Budget Constraints”

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Dec• 12•09

Sid Hatch of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association wins this week’s Soylent Green Eater Award for Spouting Union Talking Points in the Wake of Indefensible Teacher Behavior.

Seven-year-old Lamya Cammon was absentmindedly playing with her braids, which have plastic beads on their ends. The noise annoyed her first-grade teacher. The teacher called Lamya to the front of the room, cut off one of her braids, and sent her back to her seat, crying. The teacher ultimately apologized to Lamya’s mother and was fined $175 by police for disorderly conduct. She remains in the classroom but Lamya was assigned to a different teacher.

That would be the end of this unremarkable story if not for the efforts of Mr. Hatch, who told WISN-TV on camera:

“As budget constraints get tighter every year, the stress level and frustrations do increase.”

How about the stress level and frustrations of parents and taxpayers? Between 1990 and 2008, inflation-adjusted Milwaukee Public Schools per-pupil spending “increased by 36% and state aid grew by 58%. Over the same period, enrollment fell by a percentage point and is projected to continue falling, leaving the system with enough excess capacity for some 22,000 students.”

So let that be a lesson to you, parents of Milwaukee. Spend more on public schools or some stressed-out teacher will hack off your seven-year-old’s hair. This message has been approved by the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association.

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6 Comments

  1. Annoyed says:

    While I disagree with what this teacher did and think it was a horrible thing to do, the increases in spending make sense. Think of the technology required in a classroom today that would not have been used in 1990. One main cause of the increase would be computers and then a more basic cause would be simple inflation. Also, technology for special needs students is becoming more widely used. Just think about these things. Also while costs may have increased and enrollment fallen that doesn’t say anything about the student to teacher ratio in the classroom.

  2. Mike Antonucci says:

    The numbers cited are adjusted for inflation.

  3. Dorth says:

    In a case like this the budget and frustration levels should not even be in the picture. This teacher took into her own hands a pair of scissors and cut off a childs hair. Something she had absolutely no right to do. I know about the budget cuts and how stressful teachers can get with the classrooms getting larger and (some) kids getting harder to handle, but this teacher was wrong, wrong, wrong and a simple ‘gee, I’m sorry’ doesn’t make it as far as I’m concerned. What happens the next time she gets frustrated? She going to put an eye out on one of the kids because they were gazing outside too much?

  4. Rich says:

    When the union defends the indefensible it loses credibility with the public and, most importantly, with a large percentage of its membership.

  5. North of 49 says:

    What gets me is that the DA’s office isn’t willing to take this woman to court. FFS! She assaulted a child. Did bodily harm to that child. What does she have to do to get fired, let alone arrested for what she did? Stab the child?

    Fire her, have her hauled away in cuffs and never let her teach again.

  6. Jim Stegall says:

    Not to defend what the teacher did (it was inexcusably hurtful to the child and extremely unprofessional), but is cutting someone’s hair really “bodily harm?”