By Myrlia Purcell on
Celebrities are speaking out against a North Carolina middle school teacher who is accused of bullying and name-calling.
Teacher Rex Roland tries to relate to his students on ‘their own level,’ but his methods are controversial; he has called the school-kids names such as ‘Loser’ and ‘Meanness’, and thrown their personal items, such as pencil cases, into the hall.
He recently made headlines after a mother defended her daughter against his abusive actions: Roland has repeatedly written notes such as “-20% for being a loser” on the 6th grader’s homework, despite being asked to stop.
Some people say it is just his way of joking around with the 11- and 12-year-olds, but others – including several celebrities – have denounced his methods as demeaning.
“We were so heartbroken hearing about the teacher who, for any reason, was calling his students derogatory names. We were almost comforted when we read that it was supposedly a ‘joke language’ between teacher and students…We were so pained by the actions of this teacher that we were willing to be comforted where there really was no comfort to be derived.
“Philosophies of raising children change with the eras. But one method that has proven most psychologically and behaviorally destructive, each time it’s come back into fashion is verbal berating and belittling.
“In Alice Miller’s FOR YOUR OWN GOOD she speaks of the Nazi generation who were controlled by their parents through insults and name-calling. This is a form of abuse from which there is often no recovery. One need only engage a simple thought in order to find a compass on this issue: how would I feel if someone were to call me a loser?”
When confronted, abusers will often claim an incident was “just a joke,” leading the victim to believe that she isn’t clever enough to recognize, or strong enough to cope with, a simple and “innocent” game. This harms the victim’s self-confidence further.
Abusers also aim to isolate their victims, and in this case, the 12-year-old child has been thoroughly isolated. She is receiving threatening text messages, and her mother has had to keep her home from school.
Many are asking why a young girl who is just on the verge of entering her teenage years should have to defend herself from people protecting her full-grown bully.
Writer and producer Lila Garrett says, “[Loser] is a life-altering word, and in my opinion, a lawsuit.”
Ross Ellis, founder of Love Our Children USA explains, “When you write the word LOSER on a child’s assignment or call them a demeaning name, you tear the foundation of their spirit. These comments stay with kids and can destroy their self-esteem for years. No child should think they are a loser, regardless of their grades. A better way to grade papers is to say something like ’Let’s talk and see how we can work to bring your grades up.’ Something like that gives the child hope. Teachers are supposed to be role models …not tear away our self-esteem.”
Maria Sansone, of LXTV New York, and member of the Love Our Children USA Celebrity Board of Governors said, “I have so much respect for good teachers. They inspire and can be incredible role models for children. So, to learn that a teacher is bullying a student is beyond disappointing and just plain unacceptable. I think it’s clear who the real ‘loser’ is in this story.”
Finally, comedian Tom Arnold has a message for this young girl, and anyone who is forced to tolerate ignorant bullies:
“As a kid from a small town whose mother was an alcoholic who abandoned our family when I was 4, the local bullies – young and old – had plenty of fodder for name-calling and hurtful put-downs, both physical and emotional, which is why I don’t have my original teeth (kids can be mean, too).
“I also heard adults, including a teacher or two say “he’ll never amount to anything” which was my generation’s equivalent to “loser.” (I heard it from my own family.)
“But I also had a few teachers who believed in me more than I did myself, and I decided to achieve whatever I could, and I don’t mean Show Business success, I mean success as in being in a position to help others. Their nastiness combined with a few positive pats on the back motivated me to keep going forward. (I also out-grew the bullies who pushed me around so that by the time I was out of high school, I’d settled up with everyone of them…I’m not recommending this, but it was satisfying to turn the tables and no one said anything, at least to my face, anymore. Again, I’m a man and this was a small town:)
“My advice to this young lady is to not let one teacher’s attempt at humor or “being cool” define you. Look around at all the love, support and positivity in your life. Grab onto that.
“But no one deserves to be bullied – and I know that speaking out has it’s own consequences, but if you don’t, they’ll keep doing it to the next kid. Eventually we have to forgive the idiots, and living a good life is the best revenge for the real haters.
“In my business, if I believed or allowed every negative comment some stranger makes to hurt me (and on my bad days, I can because I believe them:) then I’d never be able to enjoy the gift of my life, and the loving, supportive people in it, or even appreciate the random kindness of strangers. And THAT would make me a real loser.
Copyright © 2010 Look to the Stars