I'm all for healthy doses of humiliation. Being humbled really lets you see where you are in life and how people perceive you and it can teach you valuable lessons.
But there's a fine line between humiliating someone for a good reason, and doing it to just be mean.
And things get really tricky when it's a child being subjected to said humiliation.
Which is what people are saying happened to 1st grader Hayden Albert who, during an award ceremony for his class was presented with two distinctions: "Most Talkative" and "Class Clown."
Oh, and he was given a red nose to wear in front of everyone, just to drive the point further home.
Hayden's great-aunt, LaTosha Alexis, writes in her facebook post about the award ceremony that things got real awkward real fast when he was given the certificates, especially because all of the other students were being recognized for their academic achievements.
I am highly disappointed with the inconsiderate decision that Jessica Bordlee (1st grade teacher at Evangeline Elementary School in Lafayette, Louisiana made on today). Out of all the awesome & excellent things happening with my Great-Nephew academically she could have honored him in, she presented him with two certificates. The 1st is for class clown & the 2nd is for most talkative.
The red nose came at the end of the ceremony, a moment that Alexis says was embarrassing for the child and made the room super awkward. The mental image of a kid doing something that he's uncomfortable with, or doing it simply because he doesn't know any better, and it's humiliating, is painful to imagine.
My great nephew went up to retrieve his certificates as everyone sat in silence and waited. To make matters worse, Jessica Bordlee called Hayden back up at the end of the ceremony and said, "Oh! Hayden, I forgot your red nose". Not wanting to disappoint his teacher, Hayden put on the red nose as everyone watched.
The awards apparently went beyond just trying to lightheartedly acknowledge Hayden's talkative or joking demeanor, Alexis says that it was clear to everyone in the room that the teacher was attempting to embarrass the student and get everyone else in the room to join her, which is troubling, to say the least, coming from a first grade teacher, if that was her true intention.
I am appalled because she really went above and beyond to try and have her audience to join in with her to humiliate my great nephew but the audience was too embarrassed themselves while witnessing such behavior from a woman in power of little children.
Alexis called for an apology from Bordlee, and it seems like the school's administration agrees.
Principal Felise Williams saw the incident on Facebook and met with Hayden's first grade teacher, who apologized to the family.
Joe Craig, the chief administrative officer for the Lafayette Parish School system told The Daily Advertiser that he and the district's Superintendent Donald Aguillard were in total agreement about the inappropriate nature of the award. They also said that further disciplinary action would be taken against Bordlee.
"Additionally, due to the severity of the incident, the principal will be recommending disciplinary action taken against the teacher. That is a personnel issue. However, we were very concerned about the teacher’s actions and human resources will respond accordingly."
Hayden's grandmother who attended the ceremony, Shaneka Hayes, said the entire situation made her very uncomfortable, and that people in the room kept looking back to gauge her reaction to Hayden's awards.
"Everything was just so quiet and people had these strange looks on their faces. People kept looking at me to see my reaction. I was so uncomfortable."
Hayes broke it very simply: that there probably isn't a single person who'd want to save those awards for their first grade child, and it wasn't right for Bordlee to hand them out, period.
"When our children get certificates, we frame these. We keep these. Who wants to frame something like that?"
In Bordlee's apology voicemail to Hayden's family, which Alexis says sounded insincere, the teacher insisted that Hayden requested the clown nose and she was sorry that they were offended by the class clown award.
Alexis has been gathering a number of community members on Facebook to bring awareness to the situation in the hopes that other first graders aren't embarrassed like Hayden was.
What do you think? Were the awards in good nature, or are distinctions like that inappropriate for a first grade setting?