One teacher in Australia recently exhibited behavior so crass that his comments have sparked internationally condemnation. Shortly after a 16-year-old student took his own life, the educator took to Facebook to posthumously attack the deceased based on his alleged behavior in school.
“You were a moody, disrespectful little brat in and away from school who was always given excuses by your parents and soft people in authority,” the teacher wrote.
The social media rant continued. “Your [sic] gone,” the teacher stated in the widely disseminated passage, expressing “no sympathy or empathy” toward the student.
Furthermore, the Facebook post indicated that the teen “made life hell for genuine students” and acted as “a bully to kids” in and around school.
Obviously, it struck many as the height of hypocrisy for an authority figure to attack the student under such circumstances while attempting to take the moral high ground by standing up for the alleged bully’s victims. Parents and members of the community began feverishly circulating the post, which reached a significant audience in a short time.
The Northern Territory Department of Education responded swiftly, assuring an outraged public that the teacher “is not at school and will not return.”
The department released a statement describing the behavior as “unacceptable” and explaining that the incident was reported to higher authorities.
“The teacher in question tendered his resignation last Friday to take effect from 14 April 2014,” said department representative Susan Bowden; “however, the teacher was stood down immediately when the department became aware of this incident.”
Not only were the teacher’s statements an unbelievably cruel addition to the grief of the teen’s family and friends; many contend the accusations were completely fabricated.
“This poor boy that left the world had so much going for him and was actually such a nice caring boy,” one online commenter asserted, explaining that these comments were the “last thing” mourners needed to see.
Bullying has become a popular rallying point among many activists in recent years. Campaigns have popped up across America and beyond dedicated to protecting students from activity that, in many cases, was considered part of growing up by kids in generations past.
While it is important to protect students from legitimate threats and hold those who pose such risks accountable, this troubling narrative seems to be evidence of one teacher’s propensity toward labeling kids as bullies – even when they’re no longer alive to respond.
The teacher has since denied the comments were about the deceased teen; however, school officials have determined the statements were inappropriate regardless of the intended target.
–B. Christopher Agee