A story coming out of Orlando, Florida today outlines with broad strokes how Middle School teacher, Kasey Goodin, was suspended for her recent creative use of duct tape in the classroom. Here is the actual lead for that story:
A middle school teacher accused of using duct tape to bind a student to his desk was suspended for more than a week without pay for the alleged incident.
Quick experiment: Do this right now. On a scale of 1-10, how outraged are you by that headline and lead?
1 = “I think this is funny.”
5 = “I couldn’t care less one way or the other.”
10= “The thought that a teacher would do this pisses me off big time.”
Just humor me and jot your answer down somewhere next to the letter “A”.
Great, now let’s move on by filling in some of the blanks with some text I selected from the story.
Goodin took that duct tape and taped the student’s leg to his desk before she used the masking tape to tape his hands and his face.
Goodin claims it was a joke.
The student involved has since been removed from Goodin’s classroom.
“It’s just not funny for a child to be taped, whether it’s in jest or it’s a disciplinary measure,” said school board chair Betty Burney.
Burney was the only board member who voted against Goodin’s 10-day suspension, saying she didn’t think the punishment was harsh enough.
Board members also voted that the teacher should get counseling.
Alright lets take a break for another quick poll. Using the same scale as above please rate your amount of outrage again. This time put your number score next to the letter “B”.
Okay. Now let’s fill in with a little more information and hear a bit from Goodin herself. Again, this was taken from the actual text of the story:
In Goodin’s written account of what happened in the classroom, the teacher said, “There was a light-hearted mood in the class as I walked to the supply closet and removed a roll of purple duct tape and a roll of masking tape … The class was laughing. I was laughing. The student was laughing.”
“The masking tape was applied to the student’s hands. The student immediately removed it, laughing throughout the incident. Within the next few minutes, the ‘play’ was over, the tape was removed,”
She ended her account stating, “This incident, was in reality, an opportunity to have fun with the students while getting a message to them. Looking back, I know that it was inappropriate for me to break the lines of formality.”
“The reason why we didn’t go for something as severe as dismissal, it did appear at least it started out as something more lighthearted,” said Duval County Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals.
Board members said the teaching position at Kirby is the teacher’s first job and she has shown good behavior in the past.
“I understand that it was a young teacher. I just felt that we needed to send a stronger message,” said Burney.
So now what do you think? Was this punishment justified? Was Goodin out of line? Should the board have sent a “stronger message”?
Now what’s your score? Call it “C.” Did anything change from A-C?
If you feel no empathy for Goodin at this point–you’re obviously not, nor have you ever been, a middle school teacher. And that’s fine.
I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in that classroom. I have a feeling this got blown completely out of proportion. I may be wrong. Part of me almost hopes I am and that the incident was serious enough to warrant a 10-day suspension and national news coverage.
Because if it wasn’t–if it was all just a bit of fun–I’m pretty sure we just sucked all the spark and spontaneity from one more teacher’s classroom. And the sensationalist press is just as much to blame. One thing that I’ve learned as a blogger is that half the time, with a story like this, people never read past the headline. This doesn’t stop them from commenting and spreading toxic anger however.
A teacher duct taped a student to a desk! That’s obviously wrong! I’m mad! What’s more to know? (Insert your opinion on the state of education here)
Great. Just what we need–more “formality” in the learning environment.