A South Carolina mother is demanding answers after a teacher allegedly told her 8-year-old daughter to “commit suicide” after she complained of an earache.
In a Facebook post, Shandi Wallace claimed a male teacher at Montessori School of Columbia had made the offensive comment after her daughter informed him that her ear was hurting and it was difficult to hear.
“Commit suicide. Then it won’t hurt,” the teacher said, according to the mother.
Wallace claimed that two other students had heard the comment, noting that some of them didn’t even understand what suicide was.
Wallace reportedly reached out to the head of the private school. She included the email response in her post, which reportedly entailed the school official apologizing for the “incredibly inappropriate and insensitive remark” and claiming that the teacher had admitted to using “poor judgment.” The Head of School went on to inform Wallace that her daughter could skip language arts classes for the rest of the year if she wanted.
My 8-year-old daughter, Penelope, goes to Montessori School of Columbia. (edit: I think they blocked me so I can no…
What is notably absent from the email, however, is any sort of indication that the teacher would be reprimanded.
“All we have asked for is our monthly May tuition reimbursed, next year’s prepaid fees to be reimbursed, and for this teacher to attend some kind of sensitivity training. I don’t feel it’s too much to ask,” she said.
The mother recently amended the Facebook post and revealed that the board president had called her and said that she and her daughter are not welcome at school that day. It’s not immediately known whether the third-grader has since been allowed to return to school.
Wallace also claimed that the school had blocked her on Facebook, possibly in an effort to prevent being tagged in her post.
“The Head of School is free to speak to us with condescension and defensiveness with no consequence, both via phone and in person – and conveniently enough, only in front of the assistant head of school – essentially turning the situation into ‘us vs. them,'” she wrote.
“We have been completely disappointed and angered that our situations within the school, specifically this most recent one, were treated with such disregard that we felt we had to seek legal counsel.”
WLTV noted that Wallace has two children who attend the Columbia private school. She told the news station that she has decided to pull both of them out of the school.
Though Wallace redacted all names in her Facebook post, Head of Schools Karen Kuse issued a statement to WIS, explaining that they’ve instructed the teacher to stay home until further notice and that they’ve apologized to the three students who heard his comment.
The statement reads in part:
“We deeply regret the comment made by a teacher to one of our students. Though the teacher said he was joking, the comment was wrong, thoughtless, and contrary to the values we teach…Our students and families are why this non-profit school exists and why we have been operating for more than 30 years. We care about our students and we would never want any of them to harm themselves.”
[Featured Image: Shandi Wallace/WLTV video screengrab]