As we send our most valuable treasures back to school, I feel compelled to help other parents learn from my mistake. I have always supported the Cape Girardeau School District and naively entrusted the staff and administrators at one of our "better" elementary schools to treat my child with dignity and respect. I believed by participating in meetings and classroom activities I was informed. Sadly, I learned at my son's expense that he experienced daily humiliation for months on end due to the uncaring tenured teacher ruling the cafeteria and her inexcusable absence of compassion, communication or accountability.
Before letters pour in from caring, talented teachers, let me clearly state that I hope our experience was an exception and not the rule. I know most teachers do care. (Although I have learned of another child pulled from this school due to a similar circumstance.) It is tragic that our tenure system allows those who exhibit little compassion and even less common sense to remain in positions of power over our children as we parents continue to pay their salaries.
I thought I was an involved parent, but I now realize I was too trusting. Whether your child is in a public or private school (thank heaven for Deer Creek!), I encourage every parent to visit not only the classroom but also the playground, the library, the gymnasium and, most definitely, the cafeteria to check on your children and, sadly, on those entrusted to care for them.
ELIZABETH SHELTON, Cape Girardeau