PORT RICHEY, Fla. – Two Florida teachers resigned in shame after they allegedly allowed their elementary students to vote on which students should be reassigned to different classrooms.
Two third grade teachers at Gulf Highlands Elementary School who were not identified submitted letters of resignation amid the school’s attempt to balance class sizes by shifting some students into a new class, WFTS reports.
Pasco County Schools spokeswoman Linda Cobbe told the news site third grade classrooms at the school are crowded and district officials opted to move students from each classroom into a new class. That’s apparently when the two teachers hatched a plan to have their 8-year-old students vote on which two peers are the most disruptive and deserve to be kicked out of class, Cobbe said.
The incident involved about 40 students.
“Why they thought it was appropriate to have the students choose who would leave, I have no clue,” Cobbe said. “It’s completely inappropriate.”
“First of all the teachers don’t even have a say in that really,” she continued. “It’s something the administrators decide, but certainly 3rd graders should not be asked to make that decision.”
Parent Felicia Cummings told WFTS her daughter attempted to choke herself last week, and now understands that the girl was one of the students voted out and didn’t take it very well.
Cummings said it was the news site that helped her put the pieces together by uncovering the vote.
“If it wasn’t for you guys, I’d probably still be in the dark,” she said.
Cummings offered some advice for the educators involved, or others contemplating similar antics.
“Teachers, you’re these kids’ role models,” she said. You are who we send our child to every day and we just want you to treat them like we would at home.”
Cummings said her daughter refused to participate in the vote.
Instead, the 8-year-old wrote on her paper ballot: “I think our class is just fine,” Cummings said.
Both of the teachers who resigned were new to the district, one coming in August and the other in September, and were on a probationary status, Cobbe said.
According to WFTS:
Cobbe said the teacher, who was the leader in this incident, did not see the problem with the assignment when she resigned. Cobbe said the second teacher questioned it, but still moved forward. She said that teacher was remorseful when she resigned.