I Am Writing an Anti-Bullying Book

I am Finally focused enough to work on “my baby”. It is a book about bullying. This link and article from the link will tell you some of the things that are going on……pray for this child. I know, pray for the teacher and the principal who are so misguided, but my focus is on the child. These things are the seeds of PTSD. This action is inexcusable. Grown-ups know better.


Teacher gives 3rd grader a Catastrophe Award in front of class

Teacher called it a joke, but parent said her daughter was humiliated

CREATED MAY. 24, 2012

Catastrophe award given to 3rd grade student
Christina Valdez, Cassandra’s mother, said her daughter was humiliated when the teacher presented her with the award in front of the entire class.
8-year-old Cassandra Garcia shows her completed homework

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON, ARIZONA (KGUN9-TV) — Every parent beams when they find out their child is singled out for a special award. But in the case of one 3rd grader at Desert Springs Academy — her mother was far from thrilled when she came home with her award.

8-year-old Cassandra Garcia proudly showed us all her completed homework in her labeled folder. So it confused her mother, Christina Valdez, when her daughter came home with this end of the year award.

It is a “Catastrophe” award for most excuses for not having homework — followed by a smiley face and the teacher’s signature, Mrs. Plowman.

Not only confused, Valdez was upset because she said her daughter felt humiliated. She said the teachers announced the award in front of the whole class and all the children were laughing at her daughter.

Valdez contacted the principal to complain about the award. “And she blew me off. She said it was a joke that was played and that the teachers joke around with the children,” said Valdez.

KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos headed to Cassandra’s school, Desert Springs Academy, for an explanation.The principal said she wouldn’t comment. Cavazos asked the principal if she thought it was okay for teachers to hand out “catastrophe” awards. She simply shrugged her shoulders and then she blew off the reporter.

Cavazos asked Valdez: “As a parent what do you think about that award?”
Valdez: “I think it’s cruel and no child should be given an award like this. It’s disturbing.”
Cavazos: “You don’t see this as a joke?”
Valdez: “No.”

And neither do experts. “That isn’t an award. It doesn’t fit the criteria,” said psychologist Sheri Bauman at the University of Arizona College of Education. She says any negative award — joke or not — is inappropriate — especially at that grade level. “They feel less than, they feel fearful of authority of what might happen if they make a mistake.”  She said being humiliated after making mistakes is counterproductive to learning.

Former teacher and current UA education psychology graduate, Marlon Jones, agrees. He said educators should always strive to empower kids. Jones said, “Make them feel better about learning. I don’t think a catastrophe award is doing that. It’s just not. We have to set a better example, I think.”

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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21 Responses to I Am Writing an Anti-Bullying Book

  1. Gilly Gee says:

    Mrs Plowman needs to learn some sharp lessons.

  2. Maria Tatham says:

    The teacher’s and principal’s responses, when asked about what had happened, are so callous. Both showed a lack of commonsense, professionalism, courtesy, kindness – you name it. They’re rationalizing bad behavior. The teacher was wrong.
    Thank you for letting us know about this, Kate, and prayers for your book about bullying (your ‘baby’)!

    • You know, I was thinking today, that if the officials had apologized for the teacher’s horrible “joke”, it would have made a big difference, but the fact that the entire troup of them was in league made it a no-win situation for the child and for her protectors.
      I always told my children, “If EVERYONE is not having fun, it is not fun: It is someone enjoying someone else’s misery. Not fun.” They could understand that when they were very young.
      What’s wrong with these grown-ups?! 😦

      • Maria Tatham says:

        Katharine, yes! an apology could have gone a long way to turning things around for the little girl, and for the teachers, and for a better year next year.
        That was a good thing to teach your kids, “If EVERYONE is not having fun, it’s not fun…”

      • Kate Kresse says:

        the grown-ups never grew up; they never gained maturity; they are modeling bratty behavior. it was and is a no-win for the child….it is infuriating, Katharine!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      you are so right, Maria. They are definitely rationalizing bad behavior. They give every indication that the behavior will continue year after year, student after student. thanks for the prayers!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Maria~ Callous is a very accurate word for what occurred. you are so right, Maria. They are definitely rationalizing bad behavior. They give every indication that the behavior will continue year after year, student after student. thanks for the prayers!

  3. This is so sad! And it’s disturbing that the teacher thought it was a joke? I can’t imagine. An anti-bullying book is an excellent project. There can never be too much focus on this problem. I commend you! Debra

  4. On the same news web site you referenced are several other child abuse homicide stories, what has happened to morality and conscience? I hope your book is a success and brings some light onto the abusive adult behavior and accountability to school officials. Thank you for posting this story

  5. Terri O.A. says:

    How wonderful….and I wish you great success on your book! Terri 🙂

  6. Not only is this an absurd the teacher should be given the dunce cap and put on the highest stool in front of the entire student body if she and her boss think this is an appropriate way to act out a “jjoke” Using the refrence that it was only a joke infuriates me, it was not a statement or an excuse allowed in our house when our girls were growing up. None of this. “I think you look fat today? Not really, Just llidding!!? Or something to that effect. Not any kind of joke, unles passive-aggressive behavior is a joking matter. And what this teacher did was just that. And the fact that she apparently was wrong about the childs homework seemed to never be addressed enough/ In effect she was also calling this child a liar.

    This kind of abuse of children that seems to be sanctioned because they were in the schoolroom has to stop. It’s interesting to me that this very women may have been directed as part of her curculum to address bullying. I’m not convinced that is such a great idea considering it appears her credibility with the other kids in her classroomis are now in the mop bucket.

    Sorry for the rant Kate. This is the kind of thing that gets me so mad. I have to say I think its quite awesome tha between 3 of us now that I know of here on WP are writing books about and/or around the tragic trauimas our futiue generations could be subjected too. Im very much looking forwrard to your book when it’s done, saying that I know how much work and soul goes into the writing of one. I have been working on mine for longer than I’d like to admit. Good luck with it sweetie!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I know…the :joke” reference/excuse/rationalization REALLY angered me. On what planet would the recipient of sch a “joke: award find it funny? Not only that, it created the impression in the minds of the other students that the award recipient is a lazy, careless student.
      There is no doubt that this was abusive behavior. intolerable. i have a ridiculous # of examples of bullying……it has to stop, thanks for your support, love, and prayers~joyfully, kate

  7. hugmamma says:

    Yikes! Teasing leads to bullying, and adults, unfortunately, always supply the best role model examples. Duhhh!!!??? They’d never admit as much, explaining, or failing as is usually the case, that it was only a joke. No harm intended. Somehow a joke is never far from the truth…of what lies beneath the surface of the jokester’s real feelings. A coward’s way of not owning up to reality.

    I’d have been in that teacher’s face “big time,” and brought this episode to the local, and national, media. Shame on that teacher and that school.

    no hugs here…except for your sharing this atrocity, kate. 😦

  8. auntyuta says:

    I can understand your anger, Kate. You did something positive about it by raising our awareness.. Unless people like you do something about it, it’s never going to change. Maybe its difficult to change some people’s behavior. But then teachers like this shouldn’t get the support of the school principal. Thanks for this post, Kate.

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