A 7-year-old tried to conceal his emotions from his parents as he came home from school, but they were able to see straight through him. They asked him to tell them what was so distressing him.
The second-grader made an effort to brush it off, but ultimately he reached inside his school bag and drew out a piece of paper. It would be the puzzle piece containing all the solutions.
A Normal Boy
Young Kamdyn Piland was an ordinary student. His parents claimed he wasn’t an overachiever but he also wasn’t a misbehaving or terrible kid. He wasn’t too active and didn’t have a TV or video game addiction.
The fact that he was so outraged over anything that occurred at school that day completely caught me off guard. Kamdyn’s father became quite unhappy after reading the note that was scribbled on the exam paper. He read it more and more furiously, and for good cause.
A Normal School
Since Kamdyn had started attending Valley View Elementary School, there had never been a problem with the unremarkable public school. When he was moved up to the second grade, everything changed.
All of a sudden, Kamdyn’s parents were receiving an unusually high volume of criticism about their daughter. Chris made the decision to look into things a little more since he wondered if there was trouble at school.
It’s no secret that most kids detest doing their homework, especially when there are friends to see and games to play after school. Kamdyn’s parents assumed that he was just another typical school student because he was not any different.
That is, until he began to fall behind in his homework. His parents found it distressing to see him struggle in school as a result of this unexpected transformation, which didn’t start until he was well into second grade. But why did it all happen in the first place?
Way Too Harsh
Chris was alarmed by his child’s struggles in second grade since he believed his child was more than capable of handling the challenge. He found it very unexpected that Kamdyn was struggling at school.
When he returned home with some feedback from his teacher, Alyssa Rupp Bohenek, his father suspected that the instructor may be to blame. His instincts would turn out to be spot on.
Everyone has experienced a teacher who is impossible to satisfy. Not everyone is as fortunate as certain students, who appear to have a thick skin and perform well in their studies without being discouraged.
Children who are sensitive, kindhearted, and uneasy do not react well to harsh criticism. Unfortunately, Kamdyn had a teacher that fit this description.
Reputation Proceeded Them
Already having a bit of a reputation at the school, Mrs. Alyssa Bohenek now appeared to be targeting poor Kamdyn.
The boy’s self-esteem and confidence were suffering as a result of his teacher’s continual criticism, but he kept this to himself and informed no one until his dad witnessed it for himself.
His Poor Grades
Every parent hopes that their child will excel in school, so it can be disheartening to learn that this is not the case at all.
A parent may take a number of actions to help their child’s grades improve, including extra classes, tutoring, spending more time watching them while they complete their homework, and overall being more involved. Giving the classic “tough love” method, especially at such a young age, has been shown to be ineffective.
Even grownups will find receiving unfavorable criticism exhausting. We acknowledge that one will eventually have to deal with it, but it is always more beneficial when such criticism is offered in a professional or constructive manner.
A person’s confidence and self-esteem will always take a serious hit if they are mocked for no reason. Just consider how much more upsetting it would be if it came from a parent or other adult in a position of control.
Comparing educating younger students to teaching anyone else is like comparing apples to oranges. It involves more than simply speaking to people while on your feet while hoping they would pay attention. You must give every learner your undivided attention.
A teacher should set an example for students and act as a mentor as well as educate them how to learn efficiently. If the instructor believed that her critical remarks were benefiting the pupils, Chris didn’t think she was living up to these criteria at all.
Things Got Worse
Nobody can fault a parent for being offended by the kind of statement that was made on Kamdyn’s arithmetic exam.
Not only was the statement totally inappropriate, but it was also evident that Kamdyn felt quite unhappy as a result, and nobody loves to see their child upset. When looking through Kamden’s school workbook, Kamden’s father performed a double-take.
The Offensive Note
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 to work harder by this comment, it would, in fact, only make things worse. Whatever happened to constructive criticism? Chris found the note unacceptable and wouldn’t take the issue lying down.
A Recurring Problem
The problem was that this comment was not the first that this teacher had left Kamdyn, and it was the straw that broke the camel’s 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 teacher.
Taking To Facebook
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 objective opinion on this situation with Kamdyn’s teacher. What he wasn’t expecting was for the post to have such a massive impact.
Stating The Facts
Chris began by just stating the facts, along with a picture of his son holding up the offending test paper. Given that the remark from the teacher would have crossed a line for most parents, he was pretty sure that everyone would agree with him.
But, like any kind of controversy – especially involving kids – tends to do on social media, things quickly got out of hand.
His Viral Post
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, how children are treated, and what skills a teacher should have. For the teacher in question, the backlash was only beginning.
Almost Everyone Disapproved
After reading the comments on his now-viral post, Chris felt significantly better that his gut instinct was right and he hadn’t been overreacting at all. He wasn’t an overprotective parent, and he had other people’s reactions to prove it.
Going by the comments, almost everyone disapproved of the harsh words that the teacher left on the piece of paper. That’s when the post quickly snowballed into something much, much bigger.
“You don’t write that on anybody’s paper, let alone a little 7-year-old, second grader’s paper,” Chris said as he spoke to more and more reporters for local newspapers and TV stations.
“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. It broke my heart.” But when Chris confronted the teacher, things got worse.
Of course, Chris was still absolutely furious about the whole ordeal when he messaged the teacher to address the issue head-on. But he still kept his cool.
“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 told reporters, incredulous. But what would she have to say for herself?
A Teacher’s Responsibility
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 passive-aggressive 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 Negativity
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 – like new abilities, skills, and tasks to take with him in the future. Quitting wasn’t an option. So, how could he take on a teacher?
Social Justice Warriors
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. His post had been picked up by other parents and armchair warriors. Whatever happened next wouldn’t be pretty.
An Online Petition
Someone who had seen Chris’ post had even taken it as far as launching a petition online calling for the sacking of Ms. Bohenek over the offensive comment.
It was great that people felt so strongly and Chris was sure this was something that he wanted to go ahead with. However, the situation was no longer in his hands.
Endangering Her Career
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 said, “She made me really sad and upset. I was really mad. And [it was] really mean to do,” it was clear that the school faculty was set on protecting one of their own.
Punished Not Fired
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. But parents didn’t see it that way. After all, teachers, parents, and other adults are the people who mold these little kids into what they’re going to be in the future.
“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,” Chris posted in an update.
The school had decided to look further into the matter and make sure justice is served. They promised that the parents’ concerns would be addressed. But would they?
According to a news outlet, school superintendent Rose Minniti had become aware of the remarks written on the assignment after all the hate Mrs. Bohenek was getting online.
After having a meeting with the Valley View School District and the teacher, an investigation had begun. But would Chris get justice? Surely, it was too easy.
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 out 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 already 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!
The Blame Game
Chris learned that social media fame is a double-edged sword when he also began to receive hate. 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.
Another Can Of Worms
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 the matter 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.
Were Mrs. Bohenek’s pregnancy hormones to blame for her snappy demeanor, and is that a valid excuse to be mean to young children?
Getting Personal In Class
If a teacher feels dispirited or has to deal with personal issues, they might bring their personal problems into the classroom and take it out on the kids.
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 children and other learners.
People’s reactions online were mostly negative toward 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.”
Doing His Best
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.
Teaching The Teachers
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 and keep them interested in the learning material.
A Teachable Moment
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 – at the end of the day – they are also only human, after all.
She’s Still Employed
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. Who can say if she was reprimanded for her actions, or even if she’s learned a lesson from the ordeal.
No Love For The Profession
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 have 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.”
Not An Isolated Incident
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 that have been in similar situations and have had issues with a difficult teacher.
Karen Eubank found herself in the same situation with her son.
A Mean Teacher
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.
Trying To Tell Her
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.
Rationalizing It Away
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!
She Had To Get To The Bottom Of It
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!
Dealing With The Problem
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.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.