A sad 7-year-old walked home from school. He was trying to hide his tears from his parents, but they saw right through that and all but begged him to share what was wrong.
The second-grader attempted to shrug it off but eventually, he pulled a piece of paper out of his school bag. It would be the clue that held all the answers.
Young Kamdyn Piland was just your regular school kid. According to his parents, he wasn’t an overachiever but he also wasn’t a naughty or bad child. He wasn’t particularly hyperactive nor was he addicted to video games and TV.
So it came as a complete surprise when he was so upset by something that happened at school that day. After studying the note written on the test paper, Kamdyn’s father got rather upset himself. The more he read it the angrier he became, and with good reason too.
Kamdyn had been going to Valley View Elementary School for a while now, and there had never been a problem with the completely ordinary public school. All that changed when he was promoted to 2nd grade.
Suddenly Kamdyn’s parents were getting an unusual amount of negative feedback about their child. Wondering if there was something brewing at school, Chris decided to probe a bit further.
It’s no secret that pretty much all children loathe doing homework when there are friends to visit and games to play after the school day has ended. Kamdyn was no different and his parents chalked this up to being a normal school kid.
That is until he started falling behind in his assignments. This sudden change only began when he was well into grade 2 and it was difficult for his parents to watch him struggling in his academic life. But what was the cause behind it all?
Chris knew his kid was well up to the challenge that second grade presented and that he was finding it so difficult sent alarm bells ringing in his head. To him, it seemed completely out of character for Kamdyn to be failing at school.
When he came home with a piece of criticism from Alyssa Rupp Bohenek, his teacher, his father realized that it may have something to do with the teacher. His gut instinct would prove to be completely right.
We have all had that teacher that no one and nothing seems to please. And while some students seem to have thick skin and do well in their class, not everyone is so lucky — especially the children that are soft-hearted and unsure. Kamdyn had exactly this kind of teacher.
Ms. Alyssa Bohenek had a reputation at the school already and she seemed to have it out for poor Kamdyn. The constant negative criticism was having a bad effect on the boy’s self-esteem and confidence, but he kept it all to himself.
Every parent wishes that their kid will be great at school, so when you hear that that is not the case at all it can be very upsetting.
There are various steps that a parent can take to get grades back up, such as extra lessons, tutoring, spending more time supervising the child while doing homework and generally being more hands-on. One thing that has been proven not to work is giving the old ‘tough love’ approach, especially at such a young age.
Even adults will find negative feedback to be draining. We accept that there will come a time when one has to deal with it, but it is always more helpful when such criticism is given in a constructive or professional way.
Getting criticized for kicks will always deal a huge blow to the confidence and self-esteem of an individual. Can you just imagine how much more it would hurt a child when it is given by an authority figure?
Teaching younger children is a completely different ball game to teaching anyone else. It’s not just about standing up and talking at people hoping that they are listening to you. You have to be fully engaged with each and every student.
A teacher should teach children how to learn effectively, and of course, be a good role model and mentor. Chris didn’t feel that his son’s teacher was living up to these standards at all if she thought those kinds of criticizing comments were helping the students.
No one can blame a parent for getting upset with the type of comment that was left on Kamdyn’s maths test. Not only was it completely out of line, but clearly it made Kamdyn feel really awful too, and no one likes their child hurting.
The note that the teacher left for the 7-year-old was this: “Absolutely pathetic! He answered 13 in 3 minutes! Sad!” Chris knew that his son would not be inspired by this bullying, it would, in fact, only make things worse. Whatever happened to constructive criticism?
The problem was that this comment was not the first that this teacher had left Kamdyn, and it was the straw that broke the camels back. For Chris, it was the last straw and he intended to do something about it.
To add insult to injury, the messages were right from the beginning of the year. It was time to confront this nasty teacher.
It’s the go-to action that a lot of people take – posting a worry or thought on social media. A lot of the time this is because we can get so close to the issues that we can’t see them clearly anymore. Chris wanted an opinion on this situation.
What he wasn’t expecting was to have such a large impact. Chris began by just stating the facts along with a picture of his son holding up the offending test paper. He was sure that everyone would agree with him.
Chris was absolutely amazed at how the post took on a life of its own, racking up thousands of reactions, comments, and shares. It seemed that a lot of people felt really passionately about what happens in the classroom and about how children and treated and what skills a teacher should have.
He felt significantly better that his gut instinct was right and he hadn’t been overreacting at all. Almost everyone disapproved of the harsh words that the teacher left on the piece of paper.
“You don’t write that on anybody’s paper, let alone a little 7-year-old, second grader’s paper. It said on the top of it that he answered only 13 of them in 3 minutes and that it was absolutely pathetic with a sad face,” Chris said as he spoke to more and more papers and TV stations, “It broke my heart.”
He was still absolutely furious about the whole ordeal. “I believe what you wrote on his paper was extremely unprofessional and just very rude. “… And she messaged me back and said she was sorry I felt that way,” he said, incredulous. But what would she have to say for herself?
Teaching is not known for being an easy job, it’s far more challenging than standing in front of a class and talking. Every child learns differently and it is the responsibility of the teacher to find out how each child learns so that they can succeed in school and later on in life too.
Leaving harsh comments seemed to Chris like this teacher wasn’t teaching his son how to learn, she was taking the easy way out and putting the blame on his son.
No one likes to work in a negative environment. Take yourself for instance, if your boss was constantly on your case no matter how hard you worked you would very soon lose your passion for your job and quit.
But Kamdyn still had so many fundamental things to learn, new abilities, skills, and tasks to take with him in the future. Quitting wasn’t an option. This teacher had to understand that learning is most effective when it is carried out in a creative yet inspiring way.
Chris was glad that he was getting so much validation from his little Facebook post, but then things took a turn for the worst. He couldn’t believe it but all the strangers that had rallied behind him had started a kind of movement of their own.
Someone had even taken it so far that there was now a petition online calling for the sacking of Bohenek. It was great that people felt so strongly and Chris was sure this was something that he wanted to go ahead with.
The situation became serious now. Ms. Bohenek could lose her job because of a mean comment. She needed to protect herself against the angry group of people on social media that kept on growing.
Chris was still so angry over the whole incident that he did want her to get fired. After all, getting a new teacher for his son seemed like a great idea.
Amazingly the petition was tallying up an unusually high number of signatures. Already over 10,000 people wanted the teacher sacked with very little information or her side of the story. But teachers at her school took a stand on Ms. Bohenek’s behalf, saying she did not deserve to be fired at all.
Even though little Kamdyn went on to say, “She made me really sad and upset. I was really mad. And [it was] really mean to do.”
Everyone agreed that the teacher had indeed done something wrong, but should she be fired for it? It seemed a very harsh punishment for something that a firm talking to could change.
The school felt like she only had to be reprimanded for what she did. They thought that it was too much to fire her for this. Teachers, parents, and other adults are those who mold these little kids into what they’re going to be in the future.
The school decided to look further into the matter and make sure justice is served. Chris posted an update and said, “Thanks to all the efforts and support of the dedicated people who signed and shared this petition, I’m happy to announce that the teacher in question is currently being investigated by the Valley View school board.”
According to a news outlet, school superintendent Rose Minniti has become aware of the remarks written on the assignment. After having a meeting with the Valley View School District and the teacher, an investigation had begun. But would Chris get justice?
As a response to the media, Minniti said, “As always with everything, we’re going to try to do what’s best for the students and what we need to do for the employee under investigation.”
Speaking to the same news outlet, she said, “It’s a personnel issue and the results of that are not going to be dictated by social media. It’s going to be dictated by the facts and evidence.”
Hopefully, something will come of the investigation. Although the inquiry was underway, people from all over the world continued to respond to the story on social media and the petition had garnered over 20,000 signatures.
But some people weren’t on Chris’ side. Instead, they decided to place the blame for Kamden’s teacher’s behavior solely on Chris!
Some people felt that it was necessary to reprimand the dad and said that he should spend less time on Facebook and more time helping his son with his homework.
Furthermore, they had the audacity to argue that the incident wouldn’t have happened at all if Chris had taken more of an interest in his son’s curriculum. Then, a new detail about the teacher emerged.
The people who were following the story closely had learned that Mrs. Bohenek had, in fact, been pregnant for the last few months.
It came as a surprise to many that she would be having a baby of her own soon and this opened up another can of worms on Facebook. Netizens were left divided.
Some Facebook users were empathetic to the teacher’s situation, pointing out that pregnancy hormones could easily be to blame for her behavior. It wasn’t lost on other parents that this could have caused her to become more impatient and short-tempered than usual.
However, the story also brought another question into the spotlight. What would she have done if she found herself in Chris’ situation now that she had more of an insight into the life of a parent?
Would Mrs. Bohenek just let it go, or would she make a point as well? And, as a teacher, she also should know that the best way to get the most out of your students is to inspire them. And, teachers have to be inspired as well.
If a teacher feels dispirited or has to deal with personal issues, they might bring their personal problems into the classroom. An inspired teacher will be more upbeat and positive, which encourages more interaction from the students and fosters better results.
Perhaps that is the true issue of the story. It is important to ensure that teachers are also in the right state of mind since they often have such a huge impact on the development of the children and other learners.
People’s reactions online were mostly negative towards the teacher. As you’d expect, people had more than enough to say on the matter and went on to voice their opinions on the post as well as the petition. “A teacher bullied […] a second-grader,” said Peckville resident Beth O’Brien. “I think they should be fired.”
Chris explained that by raising awareness about the incident he was looking out for his kids. “It’s something that shouldn’t happen and shouldn’t be tolerated at all,” he said.
On top of filing a complaint, Chris was having Kamdyn moved to a new class. “Maybe it’ll be taken seriously now and it’ll keep it from happening to other teachers and other students,” Chris said.
The responses on Facebook were addressing a bigger issue than just one incident, though. Parents’ complaints were creating awareness about a flaw in the entire educational system. And many parents agreed that the issue lay with the teachers.
To be a teacher, the simple ability to teach is just not enough, and the job goes beyond just relaying information to students — guidance and mentorship should also be taken into account.
It is evident that teachers also need guidance and mentorship, and this should be implemented within the entire faculty.
Simply teaching subjects and developing teaching techniques is very different from stepping up into a mentorship role. Teaching staff should also be able to adapt easily in order to overcome any obstacles that may arise in the classroom.
Have you or your child ever gotten lucky enough to have a truly inspiring teacher? If you have, you probably know that a little inspiration can go a long way. A good teacher knows that she doesn’t have to be the center of attention. And when a teacher looks forward to teaching her class, she’s more likely to engage with her students more.
At the end of the day, what happened between Camdyn and his teacher turned out to be an important lesson — for both the teaching staff and the parents. we all know the way a teacher is supposed to behave, but we should never forget that they are only human, after all.
Even after all the backlash, bad publicity, and outrage that Kamdyn’s teacher caused, it doesn’t look like his dad’s actions did much to help at the end of the day.
According to the school district’s website, Mrs. Bohenek is still employed at the school. CreditsWho can say if she was reprimanded for her actions, or even is she’s learned a lesson from the ordeal.
One woman wrote in response to the story, “Such a tender age to be scarred from this form of abuse. There are a lot of so-called ‘teachers’ that are working in schools that don’t care for children and aren’t fit to teach…”
“…little to no training or love for the profession. I’m a former teacher and has taught for 20 years, I can truly see why many students and families are turning to homeschool and other non-traditional learning opportunities”.
Another person was horrified by the teacher’s actions. “I’m disgusted by this teacher’s actions and she should be fired if she doesn’t know how to censor her thoughts as well as promote the kids learning with positive feedback.”
However, problems like these aren’t rare, and this wasn’t an isolated incident. There are many children who have been in the same situation as Kamdyn. have been in similar situations and have had issues with a difficult teacher. Karen Eubank found herself in the same situation with her son.
Karen’s 9-year-old son had been complaining about his “mean” teacher, but the mom didn’t take it so seriously. Karen thought that he just needed to adjust to his new school — which is common among children of this age.
Karen also took what her son said with a pinch of salt. She knew that children often said that their teachers are being mean — especially when they are instructed to do their schoolwork. Unfortunately, Karen was wrong.
Karen didn’t take her son’s complaints seriously and thought everything was fine. She was sure that the teacher wasn’t singling her son out. But, as it turned out, her son had been trying to tell her something important. And he had every right to be upset.
Karen, like Kamdyn’s mom, had visited the school before deciding to enroll her son there and she was happy. She thought it would be a good fit.
Karen’s son, however, was not so enthusiastic. Even early on, he began to complain that he didn’t want to go to school anymore. And when that didn’t work, he began to pretend to be sick in hopes of not having to go in.
But Karen wasn’t having any of it. But soon, she began to notice that every time she picked her son up from school, he would be in a terrible mood.
Karen rationalized her son’s strange new behavior, chalking it up to new school nerves. Maybe he was just taking a bit longer to settle in.
She was sure it was something that would get better with time, so she didn’t worry too much. But, by the time Halloween rolled around, the truth was finally revealed.
Unable to shake a strange feeling she was having, Karen decided to approach one of the children in the classroom next to her son’s.
The boy told the startled mom that her son wasn’t having a good time at school. Then, he said that his teacher constantly yelled at him. In fact, she yelled at Karen’s son so loud that he could hear it from his classroom next door!
After Karen heard this unsettling news, she knew she had to do something. She had to get to the bottom of it and find out what the problem was.
She scheduled meetings with her son’s teacher and the principal to try and understand what was going on. The teacher defended herself, saying that her son wasn’t attentive in class. And the principal took the teacher’s side on the matter. Karen was getting more frustrated by the minute.
The principal and the teacher also told her that they were worried about her son. They said he wasn’t able to concentrate in class, so Karen took him for a psychological evaluation.
In the end, the evaluation confirmed what she had been suspecting all along: her son had no problems at all, despite what his teacher and principal had claimed!
After voicing her concerns with other parents in the class, she was surprised when they told her that they had never seen a smile on the teacher’s face. Then, her son confirmed it.
He said that his teacher was mean and that she was always picking on him. He said that he does try to pay attention, “…but I look out the window because I’d rather look at trees and listen than look at her angry face.”
Karen had heard enough. Even the other parents had noticed how unpleasant her son’s teacher was! She couldn’t tolerate the teacher singling her son out and making him miserable all day.
She’d had enough. Just a few days later, Karen pulled her son out of that school, opting to rather home school him herself instead.